MozillaZine

Could/should themes be more like overlays than overrides

Discuss application theming and theme development.
KLB

User avatar
 
Posts: 2282
Joined: December 21st, 2003, 9:25 am
Location: Saco Maine

Post Posted November 17th, 2011, 12:59 pm

Wladimir Palant of AdBlock Plus posted a blog post while at EU MozCamp discussing the pain theme developers are suffering because of the rapid release process and asked if themes should behave more like overlays and less like overrides. You can read his post at:
http://adblockplus.org/blog/eu-mozcamp- ... ith-adofex

--edit--
There is also a rather old Bugzilla tracking bug on this issue at: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=305746
Ken Barbalace - AMO Editor (I focus on reviewing themes)
I maintain Classic Compact, a very compact yet clean Firefox theme.
EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Periodic Table)

LoudNoise
New Member

User avatar
 
Posts: 40048
Joined: October 18th, 2007, 1:45 pm
Location: Next door to the west

Post Posted November 17th, 2011, 1:11 pm

I would assume that the theme folks are benefiting from rr in the same way the extension folks are. The beta is basically a 6 week long release candidate where little if anything changes. I assume this is better then the moving-target-until-actual-release schema of before.
Post wrangler
"Choose between the Food Select Feature or other Functions. If no food or function is chosen, Toast is the default."

KLB

User avatar
 
Posts: 2282
Joined: December 21st, 2003, 9:25 am
Location: Saco Maine

Post Posted November 17th, 2011, 1:38 pm

The big problem is that the rapid release process is turning into a death by a thousand paper cuts for theme developers. At least with the old system we only had to rebuild our themes once every year or so. Now it is a never ending process. Simply watching the AMO review queue I can tell you there certainly feels like a drop off in themes being updated.

Imagine if there were a way that we only had to include the CSS and images we wanted to change. It could significantly reduce the number of changes we had to do for each FF release if things were done right.
Ken Barbalace - AMO Editor (I focus on reviewing themes)
I maintain Classic Compact, a very compact yet clean Firefox theme.
EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Periodic Table)

aaron

User avatar
 
Posts: 3130
Joined: November 4th, 2002, 8:49 pm
Location: Texas

Post Posted November 18th, 2011, 8:00 am

I will say that the rapid release schedule is killing my desire to continue doing themes... and I've been doing Mozilla themes since 2001.

KLB

User avatar
 
Posts: 2282
Joined: December 21st, 2003, 9:25 am
Location: Saco Maine

Post Posted November 18th, 2011, 8:12 am

aaron wrote:I will say that the rapid release schedule is killing my desire to continue doing themes... and I've been doing Mozilla themes since 2001.

Part of the reason I joined the AMO Editors team was to help advocate for themers. The only way to make life easier as a themer is to take active roll in Mozilla and help Firefox developers see the challenges we face. For the most part folks aren't out to do in custom themes, they just don't understand our issues.

From what I've seen reviewing themes, many themes would benefit from the ability to just overlay their style rules on top of default style rules and for more completely skinned themes at least new functionality wouldn't break if the theme wasn't updated in a timely manner.
Ken Barbalace - AMO Editor (I focus on reviewing themes)
I maintain Classic Compact, a very compact yet clean Firefox theme.
EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Periodic Table)

ShareBird

User avatar
 
Posts: 2740
Joined: December 8th, 2004, 7:09 am
Location: Berlin | Made in Brasil

Post Posted November 18th, 2011, 1:32 pm

We already have the possibility to build simple and relatively stable themes overriding rules from the default theme. I've described this approach here: http://www.tudobom.de/articles/yatt/#light_weight and we've discussed it here: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=1472225

There are some authors using this approach (aaron, patrick?) and I guess it is working fine (?)...

I myself don't use it, because of the complexity of my themes, I really need the full power of substituting the whole skin provider, but as I say before the two approaches are already available for themers...
Silvermel - A Theme for Firefox and Thunderbird
YATT - Yet Another Theme Tutorial
Don't give a man a fish. Teach him how to fish instead.

KLB

User avatar
 
Posts: 2282
Joined: December 21st, 2003, 9:25 am
Location: Saco Maine

Post Posted November 18th, 2011, 1:49 pm

While reviewing themes, I have noticed some take a "lightweight" approach and only override the rules they need to override, but like you indicated they tend to be relatively simple themes. The vast majority of themes completely substitute the entire skin.

I don't know that overlaying skins is a solution for all themes. I'm just hoping to spark discussion as to how to realistically make the process of maintaining themes easier given the rapid release reality.
Ken Barbalace - AMO Editor (I focus on reviewing themes)
I maintain Classic Compact, a very compact yet clean Firefox theme.
EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Periodic Table)

aaron

User avatar
 
Posts: 3130
Joined: November 4th, 2002, 8:49 pm
Location: Texas

Post Posted November 18th, 2011, 9:49 pm

I know I've used your light-weight approach and it's working fine. But I don't have the drive or the passion for it as much anymore. An lately, I have ZERO time, so I haven't even been doing new builds of my themes (to bump the version number).... quite sad, really.

LoudNoise
New Member

User avatar
 
Posts: 40048
Joined: October 18th, 2007, 1:45 pm
Location: Next door to the west

Post Posted November 18th, 2011, 10:16 pm

Sad but expected aaron :). Ten years ago you had more passion for Mozilla and I suspect more free time (at least at night). Apple got it close with the app store.
Post wrangler
"Choose between the Food Select Feature or other Functions. If no food or function is chosen, Toast is the default."

CatThief

User avatar
 
Posts: 1854
Joined: January 19th, 2004, 12:19 am
Location: Northeast USA

Post Posted November 19th, 2011, 8:58 pm

I'm with Aaron on ZERO time, or at least 95% of zero (irrational number but the absolute truth). And for a variety of other reasons my themes for Fx8 and Tb8 have reached their end of life. Work on SeaMonkey will continue, though, and I'm actually feeling the excitement again by excising the Fx/Tb UI-overhaul, rapid-release burden and settling down with something more simple.

All of you who continue your projects at this point deserve the highest of praise.
Still passionate for Mozilla themes and extensions, just not actively developing them for public release anymore.

patrickjdempsey

User avatar
 
Posts: 23734
Joined: October 23rd, 2008, 11:43 am
Location: Asheville NC

Post Posted November 19th, 2011, 9:26 pm

Unfortunately recent changes in the default theme have required pretty substantial changes to light-weight themes to continue to work correctly... sad considering the basic code for changing toolbar buttons has worked for all versions since Firefox 1.5 to 7. So ironically despite some interest in this concept, the reality is that it USED to be possible to do a basic theme easily but no longer. Some of that has to do with the fact that Firefox is getting more and more strict with the way it interprets CSS. It *used* to be that if you had an !important tag it changed every state for that element... now we have to include EVERY STATE including all of the honestly quite *bizarre* sidetracks that I really don't even understand what they do.
Tip of the day: If it has "toolbar" in the name, it's crap.
What my avatar is about: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/seamonkey/addon/sea-fox/

Frank Lion

User avatar
 
Posts: 20381
Joined: April 23rd, 2004, 6:59 pm
Location: ... The Exorcist....United Kingdom

Post Posted November 20th, 2011, 4:35 pm

CatThief wrote:All of you who continue your projects at this point deserve the highest of praise.

Thanks, Cat.

Image


Nothing and no one will ever stop old Frank doing what he wants. ;)
Metal Lion latest SeaMonkey & Thunderbird Themes - Sea Monkey and Silver Sea Monkey
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (attrib.)

KLB

User avatar
 
Posts: 2282
Joined: December 21st, 2003, 9:25 am
Location: Saco Maine

Post Posted November 20th, 2011, 4:41 pm

Frank Lion wrote:
CatThief wrote:All of you who continue your projects at this point deserve the highest of praise.

Thanks, Cat.

Image


Nothing and no one will ever stop old Frank doing what he wants. ;)


Your themes are always things of beauty!

Frank, you should consider becoming an AMO Editor. We could use more themers on the team to help advocate for themes.
Ken Barbalace - AMO Editor (I focus on reviewing themes)
I maintain Classic Compact, a very compact yet clean Firefox theme.
EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Periodic Table)

patrickjdempsey

User avatar
 
Posts: 23734
Joined: October 23rd, 2008, 11:43 am
Location: Asheville NC

Post Posted November 20th, 2011, 4:58 pm

I added my $0.02 to the Addons Blog on this:

http://blog.mozilla.com/addons/2011/11/ ... -mac-lion/

Also, has anyone else here played with KMeleon skins? http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/wiki/ind ... Components

Compared to Firefox theming it's infinitely more simple... and the same exact files and structure are used regardless of how simple or complex a theme you want to create. Like the bugzilla proposal, the default appaearance carries on underneath unless the theme says to add a button, style or toolbar.

http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/wiki/ToolbarsConfig

As you can see, there's no mucking about with style code, the cfg file simply allows you to list the images you want to use for each button and button state.
Tip of the day: If it has "toolbar" in the name, it's crap.
What my avatar is about: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/seamonkey/addon/sea-fox/

Frank Lion

User avatar
 
Posts: 20381
Joined: April 23rd, 2004, 6:59 pm
Location: ... The Exorcist....United Kingdom

Post Posted November 20th, 2011, 5:13 pm

KLB wrote:Your themes are always things of beauty!

Many thanks.

Frank, you should consider becoming an AMO Editor. We could use more themers on the team to help advocate for themes.

AMO? I think not. However, I will always continue to advocate for the betterment of Firefox themes, in my usual quiet fashion - viewtopic.php?p=11073683#p11073683


Incidentally, I was forgetting my manners in the last post. I wish to sincerely thank again Patrick for his excellent in-theme solutions for the Forward/Back history dropmarker and urlbar RSS feed fixes. (.xml bindings and .css)



Image




EDIT -


patrickjdempsey wrote:Also, has anyone else here played with KMeleon skins?


Yes.

Image


#1. Don't make a dark theme unless you are happy to use a dark OS theme with it. This is due to being unable to code in font colours, input backgrounds, etc.

#2. The toolbar buttons are in .bmp format. To make decent looking toolbar buttons, quite advanced graphics techniques are required - unless you fancy magenta pixels around the edges of your buttons.

#3. I'll never do another one. :)
Last edited by Frank Lion on November 21st, 2011, 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Metal Lion latest SeaMonkey & Thunderbird Themes - Sea Monkey and Silver Sea Monkey
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (attrib.)

Return to Theme Development


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests