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Thread: Standard Skin Format

  1. #1
    Newbie Micco's Avatar
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    Standard Skin Format

    I've been watching the development of several front ends for the Mac with great excitement. Keep it going guys!

    So I'm starting to play with the skins and it has gotten me to thinking (and that's a dangerous thing!)

    Since we are all still very early in the development of a good MacCar FE, why don't we establish a standard of sorts for the skins on the Mac? That would allow creative skins to be easily used by all the FE's in development and concentrate our efforts.

    Most FE's share a few very common skin requirements. For example, most have a general background graphic, and most have some buttons that do something. Since most of the skins I have seen share a lot in common, is it possible to standardize the naming convention to improve interoperability?

    I realize that all programs won't comply 100% to the standard, but I bet most programs could be written to 'fall-back' to the standard graphics formats if their specific graphic requirements were not available.

    For example, I really like the CCar project's naming convention.

    background.png (or jpg)
    button.artists.off.png
    buton.artists.on.png
    button.icon.background.png
    button.now.playing.off.png
    .
    .
    etc....

    But I'm sure there are other equally simple naming conventions that could be considered as well. Since most frontends ultimately do the same things, it seems like they could use the same resources.

    Do you guys think it is possible to create at least minimum set of standard resources and a naming convention so that skins are somewhat interoperable? Developers could extend the feature set (e.g.: custom.logo.flash.swf), when they add something new or unusual, but then the extension could be added to the standard.

    Maybe a pipe dream...but it would be nice if we could figure it out.
    Micco
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  2. #2
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    I think this is a great idea. As far as the Applescript front ends go, though, I'm not clear on how this would work. You seem to be stuck with the standard toolbox of buttons and backgrounds. For the Objective-C front ends, I think it would work great.

    Would it be better to adhere to some of the PC front end schemes so they are interoperable between programs, or do you think they're too far along to agree to a standard?
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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  3. #3
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    ...If you have the developer tools installed, you can just open Interface Builder and fiddle with the interface as much as you like. Show Package Contents on the app > Contents > Resources > English.lproj > MainMenu.nib.

  4. #4
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    You can also change button icons by clicking on an already created button and in the "firstresponse" window (it's called something to that affect, can't recall the exact name.) But in that window under one of the tabs is an option for icon image. The icon image is then imposed over the button but you can turn the button transparent from that same window to see an example of this look at the screen shot I posted in the iKarr thread. hope this helps.

    Also- if anyone knows, what is a good icon creation program for the mac? the cheaper the better. thanks.
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  5. #5
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    Iconographer is nagware - after you create 20 icons it starts bugging you about registering, but apparently still works. It's quite good - you can copy/paste with full alpha channel, mess with the 8-bit/1-bit versions of the icons, etc.

  6. #6
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Hmm, as far as I know, you cannot add new images into a NIB file of already-built product/bundle. You need to add the images to the project first, which means you have to have the source code...

    "Images can only be dropped on Nibs included in an open project. Please save this nib file in an appropriate project and try again." is the exact error message.

  7. #7
    Newbie Micco's Avatar
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    Hmm, as far as I know, you cannot add new images into a NIB file of already-built product/bundle. You need to add the images to the project first, which means you have to have the source code...
    Actually, you can just use the X-Code tools to open the resources for any project and change them. If you have a two-button mouse, just right click on the icon and choose the "Show Package Contents" menu-item. Enter the "Contents" folder and then the "Resources" folder. You can then change the resources by saving your new image as the same file name as the one you would like to replace. I suggest you rename the existing resource as a backup first!

    Would it be better to adhere to some of the PC front end schemes so they are interoperable between programs, or do you think they're too far along to agree to a standard?
    Great idea! How about we look at RR as it is open source and seems to have an active community. If a OS X front end could be written that used RR skins, that would provide a very good library of pre-written skins for us to choose from and modify! Alternately, we could look at Linux skins as well, but I'm betting the choice would be better from RR or Frodoplayer (but we might need to get Frodo's permission to glom onto his project like that!)

    I'm hoping that CCar continues, but I'm starting to get very concerned as there seems to be no activity. It appeared that the database architecture created for that system would provide the best foundation for a robust program. Perhaps the author would open it up to the community if he has abandoned it.
    Micco
    Project Status: Installed! (v1.0)
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  8. #8
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    I think the Road Runner idea is a good one. We can talk to Guino about using his skin format. Since it's open source, I wouldn't expect he'd have a problem with it, but we should ask first.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
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