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Longhorn and UI Customization

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  • User profile image
    Tyler Brown

    I'm not too clear on this, but I'm almost positive that Aero is being built on top of Avalon. Please correct me if I'm wrong. If however this is the case, then keep reading Wink

    Avalon makes it incredibly simple to customize UI controls such as buttons, list boxes, etc. Simply create a style, and then add your animations via StoryBoards, throw in some PropertyTriggers and modify the VisualTree to your hearts content. Seeing as how this flexibility is within the framework of Aero, will users be able to write up their own theme's using XAML, and apply whatever animations and effects they wish to? Perhaps then the themes could ten be compiled into a resource file of some sort, allowing the user to load their custom theme, thus changing the stock buttons to gel buttons, and what not, without having to load Windows Blinds?

    This would be a nice feature, although not much has been stated about Aero, or the level of integration that Avalon will have with the core of Longhorn. I'm assuming that it will be a pretty tight integration if Aero is being built upon it. What are everyone else's thoughts?

  • User profile image
    Minh

    Yeah. That's the plan. Supposedly Longhorn will be very skinnable. You may not be able to skin simply by writing a XAML file, but somebody, somewhere will come up with an editor.

    That's also my understanding about Aero is a layer on top of Avalon.

    No, we haven't seen much of Aero, have we? I bet $5 that has something to do with MS planned patents for UI concepts.

  • User profile image
    Tyler Brown

    It would make sense for Aero to be related to the UI concepts patenting. I can't wait to see Aero in it's full glory. Scoble's got me pumped up for it from the few remarks he's made. It's good to hear that Longhorn will be very skinable. I just hope that independent applications won't be able to override you're default skin/theme if you don't want it to. Perhaps a no override button? But then I guess that would go against what Avalon is all about. So on second thought...

    Edit: And if anyone involved in Longhorn is reading this right now, I sincerely hope that the process of inserting a CD/DVD and searching for a network share will be less painless. Everytime I insert a CD and then open up My Computer, it hangs with the window open, but no icons painted, until the CD has spun up and been recognized by Windows. The same goes for searching for a network share. The window hangs, no indication that progress is being made. If you click on the window it appears that the window is no longer responding, and then suddenly you heard the default Windows sound and a dialog appears letting you know that the share could not be found. This of course is after 10-15 seconds.

  • User profile image
    Sampy

    Tyler Brown wrote:
    I'm not too clear on this, but I'm almost positive that Aero is being built on top of Avalon. Please correct me if I'm wrong.


    I'm pretty sure this is wrong.

  • User profile image
    Tyler Brown

    I'm watching the interview with Jim Allchin right now and he just stated that there are parts of Avalon that are being used for the Desktop Compositor Engine in Longhorn. I'm also positive that I've seen a few remarks made my Scoble about Aero being built upon Avalon.

  • User profile image
    irascian

    Minh wrote:
    but somebody, somewhere will come up with an editor.



    You can get a free CTP of a very good 3D editor that genereates XAML called Xam 3D.

    I'm late for work but will try and find the link when I get home this evening if it hasn't been posted  before then.

  • User profile image
    andokai

    Tyler Brown wrote:
    Perhaps then the themes could ten be compiled into a resource file of some sort, allowing the user to load their custom theme, thus changing the stock buttons to gel buttons, and what not, without having to load Windows Blinds?


    this can already be done on xp. they just lock down the use of unsigned themes. you can get the uxtheme patcher to allow you to use unsigned skins.

    people have speculated that this is done so that the ui remains consistent for support calls.

    "ok can you click on the start button for me?"
    "start button, I only see a giant purple disembodied head"
    etc. etc.

    if they took this decision for xp i doubt they'll change for longhorn.

  • User profile image
    Tyler Brown

    Aero is more than just a set of guidelines, atleast when everyone at Microsoft talks about it. If you take a look at Jamie's screenshots, the display properties dialog box has Aero as the current theme in the drop down menu.

  • User profile image
    Tyler Brown

    That could very well be Beer... I never thought about it that way. Perhaps Scoble has been talking about multiple Aero themes looking incredible then.

  • User profile image
    Sampy

    Tyler Brown wrote:
    I'm watching the interview with Jim Allchin right now and he just stated that there are parts of Avalon that are being used for the Desktop Compositor Engine in Longhorn. I'm also positive that I've seen a few remarks made my Scoble about Aero being built upon Avalon.


    The unmanaged pieces of Avalon are used by Longhorn. He also says the class library (what most people think of as Avalon) is seperate. Scoble's comments are probably old and a bit outdated since things have been changing recently.

    Aero is not built on Avalon but rather they are both built on a similar unmanaged piece.

  • User profile image
    Tyler Brown

    Thanks for clearning that up Sampy. Is there someone blogging about the history of Avalon? Something along the lines of it's in depth framework roots? I'm rather interested in this subject. The same goes for Aero, but that's currently under wraps so I don't have high expectations of finding information on that.

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