Squareness 2.0

| Tags: dev, java

After a long wait there are finally news from Squareness. The new release - 2.0 -, which was long planned and takes even longer to finish, concentrates on color theme support.

The new tool - Colorizer - allows you to create new themes in no time. You don’t have to deal with theme files and RGB values yourselves. This is all handled by Colorizer. You only have to make your choices and select the colors. The tool contains a preview that shows you how the colors play together. So you shouldn’t be forced to deploy the theme, try it out, change it, deploy it again etc. The current preview doesn’t show all of the colors and it doesn’t show all controls either. This will be taken care of while it moves from the current 0.7 release to 1.0.

The 1.0 release of Colorizer will also add the generation of Windowblinds subskins for the Squareness skin. Colorizer 1.0 will be released together with Squareness for Windowblinds 2.0, which will be updated to use the new features of Windowblinds 4.4

Back to Squareness Look And Feel. Before I began developing the Look And Feel, I have played around with some other Look And Feels like Kunststoff or Metouia. They all have themeing support that is based on the Metal themeing support. This kind of support is good for developers. They can write an own theme class and load it into the Look And Feel. From the perspective of a user who wants to use a Look And Feel with an own color theme on an application he cannot or doesn’t want to change the source of, this kind of support is too poor. Therefore I have come up with a new level of themeing support.

There are two parts in the themeing support of Squareness Look And Feel: theme files and theme packages. Theme files are nothing new. Other applications and most likely also some Look And Feels have used them before. They are simple properties files containing name-value-pairs, where the names are the names of the colors and the values are the RGB values to be used for the specified color names.

Theme packages are zip files that bundle one or more theme files and a special file named themeselector.slfts. The special file is the one which makes the difference though it contains only a single line currentTheme=themefilename. Just place the theme package into the classpath of an application that uses Squareness Look And Feel. Squareness Look And Feel will find themeselector.slfts and will automatically load the specified theme file. I place both squareness.jar and themeselector.slfts into my jre/lib/ext directory. A peculiarity of this directory is that all files and folders that reside in it are automatically added to the classpath of any application which is started by this JRE. I think this is the most simple way to bring themeing support of Look And Feels to the end users.

As I am into talking about Squareness now, let’s add this small bit: I know I have promised to release a skin for Firefox. It is long overdue, but I have great hopes to get it finished this year. As soon as Squareness for Windowblinds 2.0 is out, I should have enough time to finish it.