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Skinning API planning
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biggyp



Joined: 16 Oct 2001
Posts: 1473
Location: England, United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2002 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the ideas are nice, but they all look very much like the low colour QT schemes, BadSector, that is quite an amazing look, very nice, but alpha blending isn't going to be hardware accelerated in SEAL3 is it?

i don't like the Mac style of anything, i find that "MockOS" really difficult to work with and unproductive, an option thats off by default would be best, KDE attempts the Mac Style if you tell it to, but it's worse than the real thing.
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CronoXG2



Joined: 25 Jun 2002
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2002 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

biggyp wrote:
the ideas are nice, but they all look very much like the low colour QT schemes, BadSector, that is quite an amazing look, very nice, but alpha blending isn't going to be hardware accelerated in SEAL3 is it?

i don't like the Mac style of anything, i find that "MockOS" really difficult to work with and unproductive, an option thats off by default would be best, KDE attempts the Mac Style if you tell it to, but it's worse than the real thing.


The idea isn't to make things "Anything" style, but to aim towards creating a more usable UI. I chose the button layout in the title bar that I chose because it prevents users from accidentally closing applications they mean to maximize, or maximizing applications they mean to close. I chose the menu bar at the top because at low resolutions, it makes access to the menu as easy as a flick of the mouse and a slight movement to the right or left. I chose the Seal Menu in the file menu because it would have taken precious space in the taskbar. I chose to have the up and down buttons in the scrollbar in both places to make it easier to get a precise position with the scrollbar without having to move the mouse up and down to get to either button.

Now about that taskbar (which isn't based on any of the taskbars I've had experience with), windows are grouped by application. You can raise all the windows of an application by clicking the icon (button, whatever) for the application. To get to a specific window you would use the arrow button. To cycle through an application's windows, one could right click on the icon for that application. Not shown is the list of windows in an application. When you click the arrow, you can select which windows of an application are to be raised when the application's icon is pushed by right clicking on the names of the windows to toggle them on and off.

Also, it's hard to avoid a Windows-ish, Mac-ish, or something in between look because there are only so many ways to make something look. What truly defines a UI is the feel, which is where my "low color QT theme" really differs.
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llogiq



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2002 12:53 am    Post subject: Skinning _API_? Reply with quote

Well, nice discussion here, but wasn't this thread meant to discuss the API for skinning?

Now for something completely different:
The skinning API should decouple the logical "view" from whatever is put on screen. (Stating the obvious ) The easiest way of doing that is defining two interfaces, one describing the logical view API and one for the drawing functions (which doesn't need to be the same on different systems - think SEAL on ANSI ), then a skin is nothing but a dynamic loadable extension which can be exchanged at runtime. FluxBox for example uses this idea to great performance.
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CronoXG2



Joined: 25 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2002 9:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Skinning _API_? Reply with quote

llogiq wrote:
Well, nice discussion here, but wasn't this thread meant to discuss the API for skinning?


Yes, most of what was posted here belongs in a thread for SEAL 3 UI and Skin designs.

llogiq wrote:

Now for something completely different:
The skinning API should decouple the logical "view" from whatever is put on screen. (Stating the obvious ) The easiest way of doing that is defining two interfaces, one describing the logical view API and one for the drawing functions (which doesn't need to be the same on different systems - think SEAL on ANSI ), then a skin is nothing but a dynamic loadable extension which can be exchanged at runtime. FluxBox for example uses this idea to great performance.


Kind of what I had in mind when I was talking about rendering engines, but much more well thought out, especially implementation-wise.
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llogiq



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2002 2:08 am    Post subject: Re: Skinning _API_? Reply with quote

CronoXG2 wrote:
Yes, most of what was posted here belongs in a thread for SEAL 3 UI and Skin designs.


I have started a new topic, Seal HCI/skin design for the further discussion.

CronoXG2 wrote:
Kind of what I had in mind when I was talking about rendering engines, but much more well thought out, especially implementation-wise.


Thanks. I have another idea in mind: For best performance, skins should be done in code. But we don't want to () off the artists, so we'd better get them a way to describe skins in an artist's way and then "compile" it to the code we mean. This would mean coding generic rendering routines for flat, shaded, dazzled, striped, textured and other rectangles (and maybe later even non-rectangular shapes) and then parsing through the description (which could be in XML, or not. I dislike XML for being too much to type) and picking the functions involved either at compile time or at runtime.
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CronoXG2



Joined: 25 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2002 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Skinning _API_? Reply with quote

llogiq wrote:

Thanks. I have another idea in mind: For best performance, skins should be done in code. But we don't want to () off the artists, so we'd better get them a way to describe skins in an artist's way and then "compile" it to the code we mean. This would mean coding generic rendering routines for flat, shaded, dazzled, striped, textured and other rectangles (and maybe later even non-rectangular shapes) and then parsing through the description (which could be in XML, or not. I dislike XML for being too much to type) and picking the functions involved either at compile time or at runtime.


What about byte-compiled Lua scripts?
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biggyp



Joined: 16 Oct 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2002 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i quite like the scripts used by GTK+ for pixmap theming.
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_xduffy_
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Joined: 15 Mar 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2002 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think any "compiling" should be necessary... but the ability to skin Seal in a flexible manner calls for some kind of skripting... but that could be just an ini file we cant do more for the initial Seal 3 release..
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CronoXG2



Joined: 25 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2002 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

_xduffy_ wrote:
I don't think any "compiling" should be necessary... but the ability to skin Seal in a flexible manner calls for some kind of skripting... but that could be just an ini file we cant do more for the initial Seal 3 release..


Well, if you used Lua, you could byte-compile scripts for speed (a trivial task, especially if you included a GUI frontend tool), but also execute scripts that haven't been byte-compiled. So no sort of "compiling" would be necessary.
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llogiq



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2002 2:01 am    Post subject: Skinning, scripting, world peace Reply with quote

Back to skinning: There is really no limit on how skins are done, if by creating some graphics in a pre-defined format or writing a script or a de-script-or, or even writing them in C code. The latter should enable the former, that's it.

I really like lua, though I don't see it's use in a somewhat static task as skinning.

So, now I am supposed to write something about world peace...maybe next time
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_xduffy_
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2002 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And ini-file with an advanced skinning app is what I vote for
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biggyp



Joined: 16 Oct 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2002 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i second that dave!
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_xduffy_
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2002 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool
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llogiq



Joined: 05 Jul 2002
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2002 4:15 am    Post subject: So we want to have some declarative skin format... Reply with quote

...and a configurable skinning engine. Let's say we do skinning with modules and the .ini files specify modules and their attributes. The modules would be declared by name, and the attributes in a id=value like style. Then everything we'd have to code is a parser for this ini files, a module loader (which we need anyway), and some "constructor" that will create objects with the needed information from the parsed attributes.

Now if we want to make a skin possible, but lack the modules to do so, we can simply add the modules.

Maybe this ini file parser should be a module, too, to give ourselves the possibility to create really small & fast skins.
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_xduffy_
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2002 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like your idea

So you mean that the decoration of windows will be done by small modules that you can configure in the inis? That is interesting, and probably a good thing to do...
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