Xposed-Framework-AH-1

Xposed ‘Text Expansion’ module now available for Android devices

September 1, 2014 - Written By John Anon

Do you hate having to constantly input long strings of information every time you visit similar sites? Like for instance having to always input your address or credit card details when signing up to a new site or having to constantly retype phrases you consistently use on social media. Well, gone are the days of copy/paste. Recently a number of apps are available for Android which offers a ‘text expansion’ service like Textspansion. These apps record your most commonly used phrases and information strings and allow users to simply input long strings by using commands and relating them to the relevant string of information. However, the downside with these apps is that they are apps which in itself raises common security issues, battery drain and consume storage. In an attempt to fix this Xposed developer mikmitch has created a module for the Xposed framework which adds a text expansion feature to the system level of your device. The benefit with modules over apps is they are far less consuming in terms of storage and battery usage and are able to run across your system as a whole. These modules work at the system level and essentially become incorporated to the most basic (system) level of your device in the same way that your settings or display options are.

For those of you unfamiliar with Xposed this is a service which when installed on your system allows you to further install ‘modules’ (best thought of as apps without the app) which allow users to make multiple changes and tweaks to their system at the system level. Modules generally do not need any real permission and do not take up much space. Instead modules integrate with your device system and sit within your settings as an additional setting. To use Xposed (and its modules) there is one massive prerequisite, you must have a rooted device. If you are not rooted (have not unlocked your bootloader) then Xposed will not be able to access the system level to make the necessary changes for modules to take effect. If you are rooted then you can immediately take advantage of the multiple modules available by downloading the Xposed installer. A smaller prerequisite worth mentioning is you generally need to be running Android 4.0+ as a minimum although these days most users will be running this at least.

The text expansion module works across all apps and document editors and through all third party keyboards. The developer has noted the module does not currently work in web browsers and WebViews however it is assumed a fix and update will be available for this soon enough. To highlight the modules effectiveness, the developer provided a neat example (shown in the images below). Instead of inputting your address at every opportunity you can simply enter a command (into the module) such as @addr and link this to the actual address information. From then on the user simply has to input @addr and the full address will be entered. It is worth noting that after each time you add a command to the module you do have to reboot your device. In fairness this is a common issue with Xposed modules in general and not just this module. If you are interested in giving text expansion a try then remember you need to be running Android 4.0+, be rooted and have the Xposed framework installed.