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Issue 1.6


Integumentary Customization, Part III

Using "Skins" in REALbasic Applications

Issue: 1.6 (June/July 2003)
Author: Toby Rush
Author Bio: Toby Rush is a music instructor, consultant, freelance programmer, web designer, husband, and dad in Greeley, Colorado.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 9,906
Starting Page Number: 44
Article Number: 1624
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

We're going to continue our discussion of implementing "skins". Skins arefiles which, when read by your application, affect the interface of your program and thus allow direct user customization of your interface. This column is going to be primarily conceptual, and we'll get to try these ideas out in the next issue. Before we begin, it might be beneficial to review the four levels of skin implementation introduced in the first part of this series:

Level I Implementation: The skin may change limited characteristics (color, text font/size/style, etc.) of the window and the controls inside it.

Level II Implementation. The skin may completely change the appearance of the window and controls inside it, but cannot move controls, or resize them beyond a maximum size allowed by the application. (Controls may be made to appear smaller than this maximum by leaving extra space around the control that matches the background.)

Level III Implementation. The skin has the capabilities of both Level I and II, but may also move, resize, or hide controls in the window.

Level IV Implementation. The skin has the capabilities of all three lower levels, and may also instruct the application to create controls "on the fly."

Last time, we discussed the creation of a Level III skin implementation in REALbasic. Level III implementations allow the skin file to specify all aspects of the window and the controls inside it. To accomplish this, we used a simple text-based skin file which included the values necessary to properly set up the window. Because there were a limited number of controls, the skin file could have a definite format--for example, line four of the file might always specify the width, height and text font of a push button, in that order.

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