Maemo theming

13 Feb 2007 » permalink

A bit old news, but Tuomas recently released a new version of his awesome plankton theme. Judging by the comments on his blog and the screenshots posted on planet maemo, It looks like the theme is liked and appreciated.

I also find tigert’s theme aesthetically pleasing and nicely-balanced. It reminds me of a well-formed piece of metal that just feels good in the hands. This is, quite unfortunately, in contrast to default n800 stock themes that remind me of disco mirror balls and DDR.

I sometimes have a feeling that the psychological effect of good theming artwork (understood as well-drawn artwork) is underestimated. After all, this is what the user of the product is going to be living with on a daily basis. It’s the face of the device. It can cover-up for many shortcomings of the software or badly expose them — very much like a pretty-faced girl can often cover up for a plump figure (it doesn’t seem to work the other way round, does it?).

For developing the themes we created a system that decouples the layouts from the actual graphics. The layout contains the common gtkrc styles and other internal bits shared among all themes. The graphics consists of a single template file that can be easily handled by the artist. A set of tools can be used for various helper tasks.

Theming diagram

This dual system is very much similar to the libraries vs. applications in software development. Library (layout) contains some common bits shared among all applications (themes).

The only things missing in this system is some documentation — so that someone can actually use it. Coming soon.