Thanks to Brad Wardell aka Frogboy from Stardock for letting us know about the upcoming update to their award winning skinning software for the windows platform. WindowBlinds 4
It's been over a year since the release of WindowBlinds 3. WindowBlinds, a program designed to allow users of Windows XP, 2000, ME, and 98 completely customize the graphical user interface (GUI) of Windows, had reached its third generation version. WindowBlinds 3 was designed to take advantage of some of the new features of Windows XP and make those features available to users of other versions of Windows.
Windows XP comes with the ability for users to choose between a new "Windows XP style" and the "classic" Windows look. But in order to do that, Microsoft developed an impressive customization engine that could load a visual style and apply it to the GUI. WindowBlinds 3 made use of much of this engine.
Truly Native Skinning
The goal of WindowBlinds 4 is to largely eliminate the trade-offs of customization while providing users with the ability to completely customize virtually all aspects of the Windows GUI. These goals are:
- Make WindowBlinds 4 so much faster that it's compared with "classic" in terms of speed. This is provided in a new technology called "Smart painting".
- Exceptionally high reliability on even the most obscure of programs. While there will always be odd ball programs out there, WB 4 should be able to skin more programs on Windows XP than Windows XP itself can.
- Complete skinning of all of the Windows GUI including command line boxes, Internet Explorer and Explorer toolbar icons, log off screens, task panels (shellstyles), etc.
- Forward and backward compatibility. Resources spent on making sure it works seamlessly on "Longhorn" and beyond while still adding new features for Windows 98, ME, and 2000 users. Creating skins for WindowBlinds means your skin will be able to be used on today's version of Windows and tomorrow's.
- Skincast II. Multiple channels on Stardock Skincast where users can subscribe to them have SJ's (Style Jockeys) make available cool visual styles for users.
- A new visual style format. One that makes it easier for new users to create their own visual styles. For instance, skinning task panels doesn't require hacking some DLL but instead can be done nicely in a matter of minutes.
- Advanced coloring features. Ability to choose colors of different parts of the UI just as you can do with the "classic" UI.
- Ability to have collaborative skinning.