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PortableApps.com Theme Format Discussion

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John T. Haller
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PortableApps.com Theme Format Discussion

I wanted to start a discussion about the upcoming theming component in the PortableApps.com Menu/Platform. As a few people know, there are some options we're considering for it.

Theme Packaging - Zip

First off is the theme packaging format. It will be renamed zip files with an extension of .patheme on it. I think that makes the most sense and will be easy for people to package up. Some folks had discussed an installer format, but I think that's a bad idea as, in my opinion, a theme should be a theme and not have any executable code associated. The zip component will add about 100k to the size of the platform/menu (which, pre-themes, is at about 1MB installed including the ~270k PortableApps.com Menu, custom icons, PortableApps.com Backup, etc).

PNG Support

Second off is support for PNG images. I think I've found a component that will work for us. It's LGPLed, so we can link to it and still maintain the 'GPL with exceptions' license of the menu. (I'm still investigating, so more will come on that.) It won't support alpha transparency, though... which isn't a big deal as we'll be using it for theming... the whole "alpha to the desktop" on more than just a form level thing is a lot more complicated.

The advantages to using PNG is that themes will be a bit smaller. For example, the default theme is about 73k in its current form of using a JPG for the whole thing and then a BMP for just the transparent bits at the top. A theme that wanted transparent bits at the bottom would need a full-size BMP and would be about 710k. Now, the default theme and that same full-BMP theme that I tested would be about 48k when converted to well-compressed PNGs. And, we'd be able to ditch the whole JPG and then BMP thing I implemented to save space in the current version.

The disadvantage is that the component will add another 200k to the platform, on top of the 100k being added for zip support. So, theme support will actually be requiring more code than the entire rest of the menu at that point... 300k of binaries just to support themes (not including the additional code in the menu) vs 270k for the menu.

Now, I'm inclined to say let's go PNG for a couple reasons. First off, it makes theme creation easier. Second off, if you have even 1 theme with transparency at the bottom, it saves space overall. And, with the switch to PNG, we can bundle in a few high-quality custom themes in addition to the default without taking up much space at all.

Theme Types

Next up is theme types. I'm thinking two different types of theme support: Basic and Custom. The Basic theme allows a theme maker to be able to just swap in images and have it work with the current menu layout as well as adjust the colors on the fonts. The images consist of the background image, a slider image (drive space bar) and then 3 images each for the exit and close buttons (normal, hover and pressed). A novice theme maker or graphic artist can start with the basic template and easily create a Basic theme. It will even support a background-only theme (like some of the original ones folks created for the 1.0.2 Beta release).

The Custom format will allow full control over button locations, form size, colors, fonts, etc. So you can move the app buttons to the left or right, move or hide the personal icon, move the close and eject buttons to the top, whatever you'd like.

The Basic theme format support is pretty much done in the beta I'm working on... just a few final touches to be added. The Custom format I feel will need a bit more testing by the community, and I don't want to rush it. People put a lot of effort into themes and we want to be sure to get it right for the first major public release. So this one will be slated for the 1.2 release.

Theme Settings File

Each theme contains a theme settings file called PATheme.ini. In addition to a few lines for author, name, etc, it contains settings for the controls, form, etc. This is in the format:

[ButtonSample1]
Top=100
Left=100
Width=120
Height=12
IconTransparentColor=000000
FontColor=FFFFFF
... etc

I think this makes the most sense from both a themer and coder's perspective.

So that's the meat of it. I'm hoping to get some feedback from users, themers and everyone else before posting the next beta.

Thanks,
John

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Good

I agree with you in all points. In everything we see on the net, its is very much about the look and the optics, so I think its justified to invest some space (some 500k) into that. And I must say I really like your concept of having a basic theme/suite/version and a more advanced one. It makes it so much easier to get the non-geeks using the Platform cause its fool-proof. And after what I saw here in terms of themes for the mods, I am really looking forward to the ability to fully move buttons around as it will allow great themes to be made.
Thanks for the infos and I'm waiting for the product to test it.

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My dreams come true!

this is a good idea, with the 2 theme types. rollover buttons and png support thats great. Finally, there I can let off steam Wink
do you orient by xrxca theming capabilities?

can you add an test version for themers, so we can create and test the new themes and themeing option for teh next beta,please Wink ?

greetz
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Simple theming design works

Simple theming design works for most.

Theme Packaging - Zip;
A simple package setup works for me... I like dropping themes/programs in to temp folders to see what I have before placing them. Others may like to just auto drop where they need to go. Also zips would allow ease design packaging for non-programmers.

PNG Support;
I like png format, I need to use it more. The one thing that drives me nuts is when i forgot to include my color map or forget to use a common one. I haven't used it in programs, just web designs. It is supported in most programs. With drives getting larger and less expensive, file size may not be a problem.

Theme Types;
I like both thoughts you have with the design. Keeping it simple would help people just getting started with design concepts, while having more control will keep us happy. Ether way you'll have folks like me to help with templates. As for the settings file, adding good comments with max/min numbers would help and ini format would lead to less confusion. Even through I prefer a data or xml type of container.

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Temp Themes / PNGs

The zip package is just for theme installation. While working on a theme, you can edit the files directly within the theme directory in the PortableApps.com Menu.

The PNGs will be in 24-bit color. We won't be using color palettes as there's no need from a space standpoint. PNGs compress well when using an optimizer like Photoshop's 'Save for Web', Paint Shop Pro's 'Export - PNG Optimizer', PNG Crush, Ulead's Smartsaver Pro, etc.

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That's a real shame! png

That's a real shame! png without alpha, I would have been glad very much about it.

greetz NeoRame

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My PAM THEMES BLOG

Hell was full, so I came back!!!
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

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Does this mean we get to use

Does this mean we get to use pngs with alpha? Real Vista theme? Smile

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Re-read the post

You don't. The component doesn't support alpha. But it doesn't matter, since even if it did, it would only be alpha internally to the app, not externally to the desktop.

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Thinking like an end user...

Thinking like an end user, downloading one zip file and dropping it into a directory is just about as easy as you can make it. No extracting needed and then figuring out what directory to put them in, etc. I like the zip packaging idea a lot.

I tried to find a theme with BMPs and then squish them into a zip on ultra compression just to get an idea of the size savings if BMPs are used instead of PNGs. If you could just post what your guesstimate on the average space-saving size (percentage) will be when doing that it would be cool. I understand the space saved if you go with PNGs will be almost nil since they're squished pretty good already.

If you do go with the PNG idea...personally I run portable apps from a big flash stick or portable hard drive so 500k (or whatever it works out to be) bigger won't effect me at all. Also, if you use PNGs, I'd like to see you recommend using one of the free PNG optimizers out there on the net to help make the PNGs as small as possible. Post a link to the executable and your recommended commandline options like you do with UPX. (I know I just contradicted myself on the space-saving thing...oh well Smile )

No comment on the last two items as I'm not a "themer" and only draw red ovals on screenshots with MSPaint when building howtos. Sad, I know. Sad

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Package Size / Compression

The package size isn't too different, but the install size is:

Default Theme (JPG/BMP): 72kb installed / 41kb packaged
Default Theme (BMP Only): 712kb installed / 53kb packaged
Default Theme (PNG): 48kb installed / 49kb packaged

The zip packaging is only used for transport and installation. On installation, the files will be extracted, much as they are with Firefox and Thunderbird. This way, theme switching is as fast as possible. And it's easier for the theme switcher I'm working on for 1.2 to do previews.

I'm thinking we release a theme packager tool with pngcrush and 7-zip in it that will verify they have the necessary files and INI layout, compress the pngs at the maximum level that's compatible with the menu and then compress it into a zip file using ultra compression.

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Just a quick question. I

Just a quick question.
I noticed your are referencing PAM 1.2 is this an interim release before 1.5 or have you changed the version to 1.2?

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Not sure

I'm still debating the versioning, actually. As we add more into the 1.1 release, it makes less sense to call the next version 1.5 as there won't be as big a feature jump. And I'm thinking we start adding things in in bits to get all the functionality we can out to people as soon as its stable (without releasing a new 'stable' version every week, of course).

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I like the idea

of the "theme packer".
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sweet

Agree on the all-in-one theme packer idea. Sounds perfect to me.

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Sounds good for everything.

Sounds good for everything. You've made me want to try again to theme a bit. GIMP has a bit of a learning curve :wink:.

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Sounds like a great idea.

Sounds like a great idea. It will make it easy for everybody to install themes and even create their own themes.
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Sounds good on all

Sounds good on all counts.

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Just to clarify

Basic-
You will be providing a theme package that can be replaced with "background image, a slider image (drive space bar) and then 3 images each for the exit and close buttons (normal, hover and pressed). A novice theme maker or graphic artist can start with the basic template and easily create a Basic theme."

You have not done this yet. Correct?

Also, 3 images each for the exit and close buttons. Does that mean there will be a separate exit and close and what would the difference be?

Just kinda itchin' to start.

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PNG Support

Just out of curiousity, what PNG component did you find?
The one that I found and used in a personal modification of mine fixed a small bug on my computer that screws up the logo. My computers graphics card only supports up to 24-Bit True Colour graphics and when I converted the icons to PNGs the logo looked exatly like it does on systems that support 32-Bit graphics. From this I believe that alpha transparency can be used if you use this PNG component.

The PNG component that I found is located at:
http://pngdelphi.sourceforge.net/

Hope this is helpful Wink

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Not Open Source

That component is not, technically, 'open source' and can't legally be compiled with a GPLed app like the PortableApps.com Menu. The source is available under a freeware-type license that prohibits commercial use. It can't be combined with open source projects under any OSI-approved license. So, while it's a good component, it can't be used with open source apps.

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Oh well...

It was worth a try.

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Good Ideas

Just so I'm sure I understand, the renamed zip file would have to be downloaded to the theme folder , or would you be able to "Open" the download and assign PAM to open .patheme files?

PNG support will definitely help in file size for themes I have planned! The alpha to the desktop would be nice , but I guess we can't have everything.

Basic and Advanced themes is also a great idea.

I have a request for theming. Would it be possible to add text effects to the buttons? Like , Shadow , Bold , Underline , Italic , etc. If so would it be possible to have seperate settings for "normal" and "selected" buttons? If we could do that and disable the little outline effect of selected buttons, we could then create effects like text that looks like it is "etched in" (using shadow) and then the "selected" text could appear to "light up" Did I use enough quotes in that? lol

I'd also like to be able to disable icons in a theme , for a text only interface. We could do themes with like an old school lcd display.

I think I'll make those theming suggestions xrxca for the Mod also in the mean time.

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Some Yes, Some No

Alpha to the desktop may not even be possible in Delphi. And it'll be a lot of work if it is. Simply not worth the time investment for the benefit. Of course, if someone else can figure it out and wants to put in the coding time, that's cool.

PNG doesn't help that much. Look up at the comparison. But I'd like to standardize on it.

We won't grab the .patheme association. The patheme is openable through the Install Theme option in the menu.

Stuff like bold, underline and italic will be included in the Advanced themes. Shadow isn't a standard effect and would require two controls per text piece to simulate (highly inefficient and unnecessarily complicated).

Hiding images is unlikely, but I'll take a look as we implement it in 1.2. It would be a good amount of extra coding to realign things within the buttons and things of that nature for a highly specialized purpose which is unlikely to be used in the majority of themes.

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Just did a quick set of four

Just did a quick set of four images background, slider, up button, down button. Transparent color is #FF00FF, round top and bottom corners. Size works out to around 15KB total. 24bit true color.

there up on my theme page or try this link... http://www.beardivide.4mg.com/theme/png.zip

I used 7-zip to package, had to use .zip due to a host blockage, use 7zip to unpack it.

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Something isn't right with

Something isn't right with your compressed file. I tried opening it using 7-zip with both the current .zip extension and tried changing it to .7z and both won't open using 7-zip (or WinRAR).

Suggest you compress with 7-zip using the actual zip/gzip compression. The difference between .zip and .7z compression can't be that much considering the original files are only 15KB.

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For some reason my host

For some reason my host doesn't like the .7z so redone with winrar.
http://www.beardivide.4mg.com/themes/png.rar

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Well,

Although it's 10:39 at night and I have to catch up on some sleep and forum posts, here's my 200 cents:
Theme Packaging - Zip:
Well, I'm fairly sure that 95/98 goes freaky if you have a file extension longer than 3 characters. Also, wouldn't using the 7z format make it smaller? You could always just call 7za.exe

Oh, and PNG Crush or PNGOut? I found PNGout was the best for me.

The rest looks good to me.
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pngout is better but not

pngout is better but not opensource or distributable.

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Long Extensions / 7z

Long extensions are just fine under 95 and 98. I checked.

I'm thinking Zip instead of 7z just because it's easier for most people to make and play with Zips. It's more of a standard. And 'smaller' is perhaps too big a word as you're looking at saving about 1.2K per theme. (I checked that, too) And I can't link the 7z DLL into the menu because of the licensing exception. Calling 7z.exe just feels kludgey.

And as MISIIM said, PNGOUT isn't open source, so it's useless for our purposes. We should compare pngcrush with OptiPNG and AdvanceCOMP, though.

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.

Hmm, must have been DOS then Biggrin

I suppose. It probably wouldn't make much difference since the files are already compressed anyway.

I could have sworn it was. Oh well Biggrin
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PNG optimizers compared (unscientific)

I downloaded OptiPNG, pngcrush, and AdvanceCOMP. The advpng program that comes with AdvanceCOMP didn't compress my test image at all. The other two tied across the board.

Test image (504KB): http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/img_png/pnglogo-blk.png

(We really need a test PNG image of a real theme to get more accurate or "real" results)

According to the Wikipedia entry for PNG files, the most common way PNGs get bloated is by certain programs saving them with tons of metadata, color-correction info, etc or certain versions of the program themselves saving them with bloat.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PNG#File_size_and_optimization_software

Program            Switches                                   Output filesize
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
advpng.exe         -z -4 (that's max compression)               504KB (no effect at all!)


pngcrush.exe       (default)                                    497KB
                   -brute                                       497KB
                   -rem gAMA -rem cHRM -rem iCCP -rem sRGB      497KB


optipng.exe        (default)                                    497KB
                   -o5                                          497KB

Third set of commandline switches for pngcrush were suggested by the Wikipedia entry to strip unneeded stuff. My test image must not have to much "fluff" in it.

I didn't look at the exact # of bytes in each image that were output. If it wasn't enough to make the image size go down by another 1KB, I'm not worried about it.

If someone could post a sample large background image that would be used in a theme in PNG format and name the program used to design it that would be cool. I could take some of the themes linked to on the site and convert them to PNGs, but this isn't "realistic" (open in MSPaint and do a "Save As" a PNG file).

Programs used:

pngcrush-1.6.4-win32.zip
optipng-0.5.5-exe.zip
advancecomp-1.15-windows-pentium.zip

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.

These are a series of images released by Kodak for use with comparing compression techniques.
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A little better dataset now

A little better dataset now to look at. I used the backgroud.png included in the rar file listed above (search for "DaveWest").

Test image is 10318 bytes.

Program            Switches                                   Output filesize
                                                           (bytes / % reduction)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
advpng.exe         -z -4                                         8657 / 16%


pngcrush.exe       (default)                                    10017 / 3%
                   -brute                                        9466 / 8%
                   -rem gAMA -rem cHRM -rem iCCP -rem sRGB      10001 / 3%


optipng.exe        (default)                                     6259 / 39%
                   -o5                                           6259 / 39%
                   -o7                                           6259 / 39%

You can see OptiPNG was the big winner in this test and it wasn't even close.

I tried chaining two of the programs so I took one of the optipng files and ran it thru pngcrush using the last set of switches listed and it only stripped off 0.26% more info. Not worth it IMHO.

The commandline output of the programs was captured to a text file. You can see more details and sometimes the time taken to complete the compressing: png-test-results

If you'd like to mimic what I've done or add to the testing, I've created an archive of all three programs (nothing modified/excluded so licensing should be good-2-go) plus a batch file to automate the process. Add other commands to the batch file and post your results if you find some better results or have a commandline for one of the programs you want us to take a look at. Note: I didn't code the batch file to overwrite output images if they exist so you'll get errors in that case with one of the programs. Just delete all the .png files except your input image before you run the batch file.

If you want to use the commands on a different file, put the file in the \png-test directory and change the SOURCEIMAGE value in the batch file to point to the right source image file.

Get the test suite here (459KB): png-test-suite.7z (do the right click - Save As trick to get the file)

Side note: optipng.exe is already UPX compressed when you download it from the original site so that saves us some possible licensing hassles. The other two programs squish down nicely with UPX too if they're used in this endeavor.

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DefaultTheme PNG (with Buttons)

here is my PNG version of the DefaultTheme

included:
Background
Background_top
slider
normal, hover and pressed button for exit and close

hope you like it

PREVIEW

Download DefaultData.rar

greetz
NeoRame

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||Hell was full, so I came back!!! ||
-------------------------------------
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

My PAM THEMES BLOG

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Sorry for my lousy English!!!

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Got One

Actually, I've already done one for the default theme as well as a new theme that will be debuting with the 1.1 release. But thanks, Neorame.

BTW - You have to remove your pam themes blog link from your sig. You can only link to personal websites (websites about you). Don't worry, you'll get a chance to showcase your themes when the 1.1 launch hits. There will even be a themes forum here.

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ok i remove it, but what is

ok i remove it, but what is about my thread they included the link too. for a thread i have to many links, so i started my blog. and please give me an answer about the logo (can i use it for my blog https://portableapps.com/node/8556)

greetz
NeoRame

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Sorry for my lousy English!!!

Hell was full, so I came back!!!
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

John T. Haller
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Nope

You can't use the logo right now. It's only for official projects.

And, don't forget, none of your existing themes will work with the PortableApps.com Platform when it's released, so they're not applicable to most users.

There will be a themes forum here and we'll be adding a themes showcase as well for PortableApps.com Themes.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

NeoRame
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thanks for the fast

thanks for the fast response.
what is with the themes they are going for the beta version of pam?
the other theme i will re-new when the new Theme type comming out.
The Theme Forum support Pam Mod Themes? or only Pam Originals?

greetz
NeoRame

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||Hell was full, so I came back!!! ||
-------------------------------------
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

Hell was full, so I came back!!!
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

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Beta When Ready / PortableApps.com Only

You'll see when the next beta is released. It's what I've already stated above. the themes from the old beta (1.0.2) won't work in the 1.1 release. I said this the whole time that it was just a test of theming, which is why there was no switcher or mention anywhere outside that forum post.

The forum will only be for PortableApps.com Themes (aka, the official menu) as that is what 99.99% of visitors to that forum will be using. It will be promoted from a link within the menu itself. And, once the millions of folks using the menu upgrade to the 1.1 release, they'll all get to use the themes.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

NeoRame
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ok, so i come back to the

ok, so i come back to the roots and re-new my themes.
im excited about the new version. thank you again.

NeoRame

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||Hell was full, so I came back!!! ||
-------------------------------------
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

Hell was full, so I came back!!!
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

John T. Haller
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Me, too

I'm actually pretty excited about it, too. I spent all day today ironing out all the little polish items so now it's working the way it should. Things like icon transparency (you won't need to set a TransparentColor) image hover states on the app buttons and shortcut icons (which look damned good, btw). Stuff like that. I still need about 1/2 a day of work on it before it's ready to post, so that will be tomorrow (it's 1:15am again).

By the way, I'm thinking about adding some themers to the team here and, since you've been one of the driving forces behind theming, I was wondering if you'd be interested. You'd get a blog here and, eventually, you could help manage the highlighted themes section. Oh, and you'll be able to host your own themes. We can probably help you work on your English a bit in the process.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

NeoRame
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it would be to me a honour

it would be to me a honour to be able to support them.

greetz
NeoRame

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||Hell was full, so I came back!!! ||
-------------------------------------
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

Hell was full, so I came back!!!
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

NeoRame
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May I ask like with work

May I ask like with work leads the way?
When can one expect this updates?

greetz
NeoRame

-------------------------------------
||Hell was full, so I came back!!! ||
-------------------------------------
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

Hell was full, so I came back!!!
Sorry for my lousy English!!!

El Salvador
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Theme Packaging - Zip

Theme Packaging - Zip
I use ZipMaster to extract file zip in winPenPack Launcher 1.4 and it is 70-80kb (included code to extract file and add software in menu).

Do you think to file zip sfx (self-extracting)? Zip component is unnecessary for these files.

PNG Support
What png component did you find? Or it is a secret? Smile

Edit: Do you read this post, john? Biggrin

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Some Minor Things: Filenames and Pref Format

Just wondering if anyone has any preferences on naming of the files. I'm thinking along the lines of: menuBackground.png, buttonCloseHover.png, buttonCloseNormal.png, buttonAppItemHover.png, etc. Easily readable and self-explanatory.

And in the pref format, I think I may have the colors be preceded by a #. Just to make it readable as most folks are familiar with HTML.

Anyone have a solid example of a well thought out theming setup? I checked stuff like winamp and the word kludgey immediately sprung to mind. I'd like to keep things as dead easy as possible.

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.

I'd prefer menu_background.png, but that's just cause I hate CamelCase or even semiCamelCase. Blum

I did have one in mind, but it has escaped me. I'll see if I can remember later/in the morning.
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I think if you're

I think if you're consistent, people can deal with whatever style you pick...strHungarianNamingConvention, CamelCase, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naming_conventions_(programming)

Personally, I can read & understand all of them fine as long as you don't abbreviate too much.

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Non-Programmers

Thing is, we're trying to ensure that non-programmers can use it easily. Themers aren't usually programmers.

I always used to use lowercase and underscores (button_close_hover.png) but I've been finding semiCamelCase more readable (buttonCloseHover.png). I prefer to avoid abbreviations since we're dealing with nonprogrammers... hence button instead of btn.

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Agreed.

I am no programmer. I could follow directions though. (Most of the time)

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.

Well, I suppose semiCamelCase is half readable, but I still prefer underscores. Like, whenever I download a library for PHP or C++, I always rename all the classes and functions Biggrin
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Add buttons

John, you mentioned being able to move the Close and Exit buttons , but I was wondering if we would be able to add custom buttons to themes. I was also curious if it would be possible to add PAM functions to custom buttons, like have an "Always on Top" button , or "Enable/Disable Wallpaper Switching" button.

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Perhaps

These options are best handled by the options window (though I can see the always on top button being useful). Adding extra custom buttons tied to EXEs in the theme will absolutely NOT be supported as its a security risk.

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Sounds like a good idea with the themes,png,etc

Wow I have to read this forum over again. It's kinder itching me to start back theming but i guest i will figure it out...i don't work so i have lot's of time to work on it

one thing the old themes would have to be remade to work with 1.1
if so i have work to do....

Never curse the alligator till you done cross the bridge. Wink

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My 2 Cents

John, have you figured out how your going to handle ejecting the drive?
I had some ideas on the button for this using the eject script or any of the other available freeware utils out there as it pertains to the theme.
Basically if the script or exe exists in a given location enable the button.
If the button is enabled and an image exists for it show the image else leave it blank(transparent) to support a "single image theme" similar for the close button.
I know you mentioned this above but wasn't sure if this is what you meant.

On naming convention for the image files.
you can name the files !@#$%^& if you want, I started working on a "Theme Designer" that will allow the user to browse for the image they want for buttons, visually choose color for button text, enter values for button locations etc. and it will show the user in a window exactly what it will look like.
When the user click save, the designer will name the images appropriately, generate the theme.ini and save it all in the correct folder structure.

Its not even in an alpha stage at this point as I am waiting on the "Final" theme specs. But when its finished it should be quite useful to beginner and advanced theme makers. I sent you an email, but it was only yesterday or the day before so I wasn't really expecting an answer yet.

EDIT: OK so I decided to go ahead an post it for feedback.
Take a look and give me some feedback just remember its an early Alpha.
Posted Here

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Exact location and size of the PersonalPicture on themed menu?

Can someone tell me what is the exact xy coordinates from the top right corner (or any corner) of the Menu for where the PersonalPicture is located at? I have a picture I want to use, but it has some white space which I still want to use in a greyedout/fake transparency of the theme background type.

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nocr
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This looks great.

Maybe I might even make a theme...

Please Make TiLP Portable

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Well John just one ques

the eject button and the exit button could be transparent and do they have to be .ico format of just PNG? I am asking because i just made a new skin and waiting for the final word on what every thing should be. I followed NeoRame's default theme
and have u come to a conclusion to how will name the files.
I will see if i could get it up my preview up later to day.

I am waiting on SmithTech's theme Designer to be at least beta to get the buttons aligned. Might even make custom folder icons. I also worked around the transparent buttons. I don't know who tis will appeal to but it's worth a try, all in my effort to find what the general users of PAM are into.
http://www.mediafire.com/imgbnc.php/76c99b710d0288dbaf1e58d97f975aa86g.jpg

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Theme Folder Structure

John any idea what the folder structure for the themes will be?
The current mod's use
\Data\Theme\{Name}\Theme
\Data\Theme\{Name}\IconTheme

having "Theme" in the path twice seems rather redundant, I'm thinking
\Data\Themes\{Name}\Images
\Data\Themes\{Name}\Icons
\Data\Themes\{Name}\PATheme.ini
OR
\Data\Themes\{Name}\*.*

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if I had a vote ....

I'd go with \Data\Themes\{Name}\*.* since that makes it very simple to link to, to switch to or associate files with.

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theme template..

a theme template would be nice. i have been just kinda eyeballing it. basicly it would be a background with all of the column locations and button locations and we would cover over it.

also, i dont really know how to make themes so if someone could point me in a discussion about full creation of a theme... and yes i used the search and got the PApp template 2.3, ill search again thogh.

Zoop

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U asked i replied

Well try this should help. Well i think this is how John wants it. http://download16.mediafire.com/ljdje2czmnng/9ndskzmwhyz/Template.exe
OK it is a 7zip SFX file with all the parts.
EDIT:
GIMP don't seem to display the transparent shade-layer if your working with GIMP then ur going to have to play around with it for a while till u get it to display it correctly. IDK how to use GIMP yet.
And also the .ini (to align the buttons) that should go along with it...well let's just say i haven't figured it out yet.

Edit:this link have the main back ground in the GIMP format. It also includes the .PSD format and the other files
http://download243.mediafire.com/zywjwmltyemg/fegynjyxwsd/Template_with_...
I tried to get it as close to the potoshop version.
GOOD LUCK.

Never curse the alligator till you done cross the bridge. Wink

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Doesn't the backup tool use

Doesn't the backup tool use 7-zip? Couldn't you just share that with the PAM?

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who me u talking to?

I don't understanding wat ur saying

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John Haller

I was talking to John.

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oh ok sorry

oh ok sorry

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thanks for ...

the template but i cant download from mediafire at school and i dont have internet at school so i wont be able to get on that untuill next wensday. what also sucks is that i have Biolo-G next.

**Edit** i just found that we have a theme designer in beta testing as well.

Zoop

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Well smallthing

u will get it when u get it. I might even improve it a little. Yea and the Theme designer well cant save the themes yet, and it is in Alpha not beta last i checked.
But that is for the alining up of the buttons for the .ini file i think. But i still use it. to see how it looks wot custom icons.
Tell me if i could make it better when u get it.

Ah guess ur not lucky like me to have the whole week off and class only on Saturday.

EDIT:
it just reached Alpha Preview 4. could save now. Smile

Never curse the alligator till you done cross the bridge. Wink

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Logo Image & Icon Hyperlink

Just a suggestion, but I think the logo image/icon should be part of the theme and support a hyper link to allow the themers to link it to there theme page etc.
Links to PortableApps could be in the help menu and about form.

"Because they stand on a wall and say, 'Nothing is going to hurt you tonight. Not on my watch.'" (A Few Good Men)
Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.(Albert Einstein)

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Nice idea

i second that. Now i have to update my webpage

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Agreed

The logo as part of the theme is a good idea. It could even be a button to pop up a menu:

PA.com
PAM Themes Page
Themer's Hompage

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Bad Idea

I think it's a bad idea.
- Sometimes I need every pixel in a theme. Too many buttons or fields or logos decreases creativity. There's no space for theming maybe.
- Sometimes the link is dead even before the theme is posted Wink There schouln't be links to too many sites in the WWW. I'm looking for a theme-section on portableapps.com where you could find previews and download without replies Smile That would be nice!
- A themes work isn't so important he's deserving closer attention by an own link.
- A theme should be select by his look, not by the authors name.
2 cents. Please don't be snubbed.

Life is crunchy, anywhere

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Well u have a point

I haven't really though of that but u need to be more creative if u don't have enough space i never think i am limited in space. Just be creative. Note: i am not saying ur not but ur just gotta work around it.

Never curse the alligator till you done cross the bridge. Wink

dragonmage
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Well I was assuming that if

Well I was assuming that if it is part of the theme, then the themer would be able to decide the size and design of the "logo" button, rather than having the preset logo that you would be forced to work into your theme. That's what I didn't like about the theming test beta of the official PAM.

I disagree that themers are not important and don't deserve attention. What good is a skinnable app if there are no skinners?

A theme should be selected for how it looks, but if you know that a particular themer makes quality themes consistently, in styles that you like then why not have a look at their site...

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Theme Settings File

John is there any particular format for author's info in the .ini file? and if so how.

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Number of Buttons

John,

Will changing the number of buttons be supported in the new theme engine?

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Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.(Albert Einstein)

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