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Front Ends, Skins, and Modding

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  • Front Ends, Skins, and Modding

    Before I invest hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars, I would like to ensure a carputer is right for me. Specifically, I would like to find out if I have the technical skills to modify a front end (FE) to get it to do what I want. Can someone with front end modding experience give me some insight?

    A search through the FAQ revieled that a "front end is a unifying application that provides a common interface to several functions in the Car PC". I suspect that the "skin" is the interface of the FE; correct? Or does changing a skin just change how the FE looks without changing functions?

    The FAQ recommends downloading FEs to determine one that works for you. Unfortunately, my computer uses Vista, so I'm unable to try this out. Also, I've read that Road Runner is the only FE that supports Sirius satellite radio, a requisite for any system I have.

    I have not seen posted RR skins that fit my needs, so I suspect I may have to mod one that is close. How difficult is this to do for an enthusiast without programming experience? I have created custom skins for my Phillips Pronto remote control, but that probably isn't the same. Do you have to know C++ or Visual Basic to mod a skin?

  • #2
    Skinning (at least in RR) is pretty easy. No previous experience with programming needed. .skin files are just text files that specify what graphic is where, and what action it performs when you click it. Everything you need to know is in the included readme, and will just require a bit of reading.

    If you want to customize the look too, you'll need a graphics program like PhotoShop or PaintShop Pro. The skins are basically .JPG's and .skin's. That's it. If you have an XP machine you can play with, I recommend downloading a copy of RR, and playing with the skin. It's the only way you'll learn it.

    Oh, and you can always do a beta system for pretty cheap before really investing a lot. Check the classifieds in here for good deals on used equipment. In fact, I've got two spare "Book-PC's" w/ P3's, one 566Mhz, the other 900MHz that would just need a monitor (biggest cost), keyboard/mouse (use full size temporarily to save $), and PSU (again-used for well under $100). PM me if you're interested in looking at one of my spares.

    CarPC v2.5 up and running - all hardware installed, skin configured, and iG tweaked like crazy. Now for OBD-II, and voice control, and camera plugin, and... :nutz: - it never ends!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by cMags View Post
      Skinning (at least in RR) is pretty easy.
      no offence but that's the same thing a brain surgeon would say about brain surgery.."oh, "nothing to it"
      ****************************************
      OLD SYSTEM (DEAD)
      Intel D945GCLF2 Dual Core ATOM
      Lilliput 7" 629GL 2008 LED Backlight
      BU-353 USB GPS Receiver / iGuidance / IGO8
      M2-ATX Power Supply
      RideRunner Front End / Various Skins
      Windows XP SP3

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      • #4
        what he was refering to was most likly that its easy on the programming level... making it look nice is the hard part...

        You can make the best skin ever for yourself... but it may look like ****...

        What makes a skin look good is just simply how good you are at digital graphics... the skin beyond that is a joke...

        2006 Mazda 3
        Behringer DCX-2496
        JL300/4 Focal 6W4311B Focal TN52
        JL500/1 JL10w6v2

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cMags View Post
          Skinning (at least in RR) is pretty easy. No previous experience with programming needed. .skin files are just text files that specify what graphic is where, and what action it performs when you click it. Everything you need to know is in the included readme, and will just require a bit of reading.
          Thanks for your response! So, if I want to change a function (such as changing a GUI button that executes "Launch Explorer" to "Launch Firefox") I'ld have to mod the Front End rather then the skin?

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          • #6
            Why don't you simply download ALL the front ends...and try them out?

            Then decide if you need to make your own.
            current projects

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DodgeCummins View Post
              Why don't you simply download ALL the front ends...and try them out?

              Then decide if you need to make your own.
              Eventually, I guess I must. However, my desktop OS is Vista and doesn't run FEs.

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              • #8
                Have you tried?
                current projects

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DodgeCummins View Post
                  Have you tried?
                  Nope. A forum search indicated that not all functions work.

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                  • #10
                    Maybe not with RR but there are many more front ends. You are going to have to do some testing.
                    ****************************************
                    OLD SYSTEM (DEAD)
                    Intel D945GCLF2 Dual Core ATOM
                    Lilliput 7" 629GL 2008 LED Backlight
                    BU-353 USB GPS Receiver / iGuidance / IGO8
                    M2-ATX Power Supply
                    RideRunner Front End / Various Skins
                    Windows XP SP3

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Modify a skin is just a matter of making the graphic to look what you like. On the skin/graphic, you place where the labels, buttons or commands, icons ... and called/used those commands, label accordingly. If you want a particular function that isn't available, you have to put a request/wish or you code your own because RR is opensource. Share the code or not is up to you.
                      You can test it with Areo disable in Vista, but sound/mixer will more likely screw up. Other option is test it in virtualPC with xp installed. Also download a skin or 2 and take a look at what it actually is.
                      I don't think Guino has any intention to support Vista any time soon.
                      2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
                      89 Supra Turbo P3 [email protected]/Abit BE6 II, Alpine M-BUS Car2PC.
                      Y2K Accord Dell GX150
                      RoadRunner is the best FE PERIOD
                      EmoRebellion is a SCAMMER

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by treetop777 View Post
                        Maybe not with RR but there are many more front ends. You are going to have to do some testing.
                        Perhaps. But I believe that RR is the only FE that supports Sirius. That means I go with RR.

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                        • #13
                          The deal with this hobby is EVERYONE wants something slightly different.

                          What I think is perfect for my uses may be way to little for you, or way too much for someone else.

                          So you are required to experiment, and reinstall, and wipe your HD a few times until you find what works for you.
                          current projects

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