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Redefine GUI with DuroBlend!

Dec 17, 2007 3:51 AM by Discussion: WinCustomize News

For a long time, DesktopX was the only full-fledged widget engine for Windows. Then along came the copycats: Konfabulator (eventually Yahoo Widgets), that ugly "dashboard thing" available to Mac users, Google Gadgets (a me-too product in response to Yahoo's purchase of Konfabulator, or the other way around... who knows), and finally, Microsoft Gadgets (an 'all your base actually do belong to us and if you don't like it you might as well go hug penguins' product). Thus it would seem that there exists today a myriad of powerful UI products, considering the big companies involved, but the truth is that all of these widget engines are extremely lacking because of one thing... they are just about as developer friendly as a doorknob. Serious software developers who try to re-do the GUI of their software using any of the above widget engines (with maybe one or two partial exceptions) will find themselves locked into an archaic scripting engine with limited features and little to no ability to communicate with existing software solutions. In short, the technology which should have been redefining and revolutionizing user interfaces for years has been kept in the dark. But all this is about to change, because there is a new widget engine on the block, and it goes about things a bit differently then do our client-application-based friends above...

DuroBlend GUI Engine - Redefine GUI!DuroBlend is a one-of-a-kind windows class library which provides software developers and user interface designers with a fast, intuitive, unique, aesthetically stunning and altogether seamless alternative to the bland Windows XP user interface. Not only does DuroBlend work on both XP and Vista, but it also allows developers to integrate some of the advanced user interface capabilities of Windows vista applications on the more popular and generally stable XP operating system. DuroBlend lets developers construct alpha-channel-aware, completely translucent user interfaces comprised mainly of PNG files, and in that sense is essentially an unlocked widget engine. It has all the powerful features of the generic widget engines, like DesktopX and Yahoo Widgets (in fact, DuroBlend has several extra graphical features these engines are lacking), but instead of taking these features and locking them down under a draconian scripting library and enforcing the use of a client .exe file, DuroBlend lets .NET developers access all of its core functions from the IDE of their choice.

Because DuroBlend is a Class Library (a .dll file developers can import into their existing programs), it has a huge advantage over its predecessors. Instead of having to import your existing software into DuroBlend, you can simply import DuroBlend into your existing software! This is a surprisingly novel concept (ignoring Stardock's DirectSkin) in the skinning world, and it is a concept which is much more commonly practiced within the programming community, where add-on components are the status quo, and client-based solutions are shunned or ignored. If you are a developer, and you want to make your xp program look like its running on vista, or if you want to give your vista program an AWESOME GUI, then DuroBlend is for you. If you are a hobbyist programmer or aspiring GUI/UI programmer or designer, then DuroBlend is literally your dream come true. If you are a corporation and want your product to become more marketable, (If the ATI Catalyst Control Panel had been made using DuroBlend, it would probably have been the coolest thing ever made), then DuroBlend was designed for you!

And don't worry, hobbyists... there is a free version for you guys, and a professional edition for the software developers... that way everyone's
happy!

Please visit www.DuroBlend.com for more information.

44 Replies Reply 18 Referrals

The Basics

May 29, 2005 10:39 PM by Discussion: Tutorials
Having reccently learned the PHP scripting language and implemented it in my website and a few client websites, I have discovered how easy it is to use PHP to create your own interactive websites which are self-managing. You can even give your site a control panel allowing you absolute control of the site's content without having to modify code each time you update it.

Thus, I have decided to create a series of tutorials so I can share my (limited) knowledge.


Part 1 - The Basics


What you will need:
A web browser. If you are reading this then you most likely have one already
Macromedia Dreamweaver *Not required however refrences to dreamweaver are made in this tutorial. Any html editor will do. You can even use notepad!
A basic knowledge of HTML

Introduction:

As stated on the PHP homepage (http://www.php.net), "PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML"

PHP stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor and is a server side language. This means that PHP scripts are run at the webserver before being sent to the client web browser. The great part about this is it is virtually impossible for someone to access the source code of your PHP webpages because the PHP is rprocessed and then removed from the page before the page is sent to the browser. This means that you dont have to worry about the security of your scripts as you will most likely be the only one ever to see the source code.

PHP is similar to the PEARL language and also shows some resemblence to Javascript. Please realize, however, that php is really only intended for databse managment and dynamic content. Basically php can store information and change the contents of remote files but it cannot achieve some of the stunning visual effects which Javascript is capable of. Php and javascript are doubly powerful when used together because they make up for each other's weaknesses.


Does your webhost support PHP?

Since PHP is a server-side language, an actual PHP program has to be installed and running on the webserver at all times. When the server recieves a request for a php file, the file is first sent to the php processor and then is sent to the client's browser.

Most good webhosts now have php installed on their webservers however it is highly advisable that you check before you re-code your website only to discover the unfriutfulness of your actions...

If your webhost provides you with a control panel of some sort it will probablly indicate wether PHP is installed. To test and see if your webserver is php-enabled, copy the following code and paste it into a new file named "phpinfo.php".

Code:

<?php
phpinfo();
?>


Now upload the "phpinfo.php" file to your webserver and open it in a web browser (NOTE: for users using FTP to upload their files: if you want to execute a php file you uploaded, you have to do it via 'http://' and not 'ftp://' or the file will not run properly). A page displaying information about the webserver and php should now show up. If it does not then php is not properly enabled and you should probably contact your webhost to request that php be installed/re-installed.

Declaring in PHP

at this point, you are probablly wondering what the code from the previous step means. Don't worry, your not alone...
You can only write php within a php tag inside a php file (*.php, *.php3, *.php4...).

So you must declare that you are using a php script. The below code shows the most popular way of declaring a php script:

Code:

<?php
//PHP Code In Here
?>

PHP can go anywhere between the "<?php" and "?>" tags.

You probably noticed that I placed "//" before writing "PHP Code In Here". Those double slashes create a comment in php. Comments are pieces of text that arnt processed as code. Comments can be used to remind you what a line of code does... You can also have multi-line comments by typing "/*" and "*/. It is important to remember to always close this type of comment or everything that comes after it will be treated like a comment and will be ignored.

If you prefer to use the classic declaration method for scripts in html, you may use the following however the previous method is more widely used:

Code:

<script language="php">
//PHP Code In Here
</script>


Outputing Text

Outputing text is the most basic ability of PHP. Php has a number of commands for outputing text. You are free to choose any one of them however this tutorial will only use the 'echo()' and 'print()' commands. When either of these commands is used in php, the text contained within the parenthesis will output into the webpage.

The following code will produce a blank page with the words "Hello world!" when executed in a web browser

Code:

<?php
echo("Hello world!");
?>


Note that a semi-colon (";") was placed after the echo command. The semi-colon lets php know that the current command is done and to move on to the next command. Semi-colons must ALWAYS be placed after a command or the page will produce an error

The quotation marks tell php to treat the text contained between them as a string (text).

The important thing to remember is that if you want to output html code, you will usually have to use single quotes (') instead of double quotes because most html contains its own quotation marks which will disrupt the php script.

So lets say you want to output an html image tag. You would use the following script to do so:

Code:

<?php
echo('<img src="http://www.durosoft.com/logo1.jpg" border="0">');
?>


This would result in the following html code once the page has been processed:

Code:

<img src="http://www.durosoft.com/logo1.jpg" border="0">


which would look like this when opened up in a browser:




Variables

Variables are things which a script uses to store values and data. Variables in php can come in several forms including Integers (numbers), Strings (text), Booleans (true/false values) and many others (although we will only discuss integers, strings and booleans in this tutorial). In php, you must always put a $ sign before a variable whenever you declare or refer to it. The following script will declare 3 variables and assign each of them values:

Code:

<?php
$sometext = "to be or not to be?";   
$anumber = 4;
?>


You can also output variables just as you would output text except without quotation marks. The following code will output the values of the variables from the previous script and seperate them with html linebreak (<br>) tags.

Code:

<?php
$sometext = "to be or not to be?";
$anumber = 4;

echo('sometext = ');
echo($sometext);         //outputs the value of $sometext
echo('<br>');           //inserts a linebreak
echo('anumber = ');
echo($anumber);     //outputs the value of $anumber
?>


This code would produce the following html code:

Code:

sometext = to be or not to be <br> anumber = 4


which would look like this in the browser:

sometext = to be or not to be
anumber = 4


Operators

Operators are methods which can be used to change the value of a variable or modify it in some way. Here are some standard operators:

= (equals) Changes the value of any type of variable ($value = 'hello'; )
+ (plus) Finds the sum of two integers ($four = 2 + 2;)
- (minus) Finds the difference between two integers ($five = 10 - 5; )
* (times\multiplied by) Finds the product of two integers ($six = 3 * 2; )
/ (divided by) Finds the quotient of two integers ($six = 12 / 2; )
. A period will combine two strings, appending (adding) the second to the first

The following code will give the variable $answer a value of 2, then add 3 to its value resulting in 5, and finally output the result with some text preceeding it (using a period):

Code:

<?php
$answer = 2;
$answer = $answer + 3;     

echo('2 + 3 = ' . $answer);

?>


this code would output:

2 + 3 = 5


This concludes Part 1 of the PHP tutorial
Please keep your eyes pealed for additions to this set of tutorials
11 Replies Reply 29 Referrals

to match that new pretty dx icon??

Jan 9, 2005 11:32 PM by Discussion: DesktopX
So is there going to be a new widget icon to match the new glassy dx icon? they kinda clash with each other right now...
0 Replies Reply 5 Referrals

A tool for Web Developers to stream media in their web pages

Jan 6, 2005 4:16 AM by Discussion: Software Development


Stream Master is a Visual Basic .NET applicatoin which I have nearly finished programing. This is one of my first programs ever...

Stream Master lets the user generate complex media streaming codes using simple wizards. These wizards allow the user to insert actual media players directly into their web pages. Currently Stream Master can generate code for Quicktime, Windows Media Player, and Flash.

Feedback is welcome...
0 Replies Reply 6 Referrals

A tool for Web Developers to stream media in their web pages

Jan 6, 2005 4:16 AM by Discussion: Software Development


Stream Master is a Visual Basic .NET applicatoin which I have nearly finished programing. This is one of my first programs ever...

Stream Master lets the user generate complex media streaming codes using simple wizards. These wizards allow the user to insert actual media players directly into their web pages. Currently Stream Master can generate code for Quicktime, Windows Media Player, and Flash.

Feedback is welcome...
0 Replies Reply 6 Referrals

A tool for Web Developers to stream media in their web pages

Jan 6, 2005 4:16 AM by Discussion: Software Development


Stream Master is a Visual Basic .NET applicatoin which I have nearly finished programing. This is one of my first programs ever...

Stream Master lets the user generate complex media streaming codes using simple wizards. These wizards allow the user to insert actual media players directly into their web pages. Currently Stream Master can generate code for Quicktime, Windows Media Player, and Flash.

Feedback is welcome...
0 Replies Reply 6 Referrals

Where did they come from? Where did they go?

Dec 29, 2004 3:36 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize Site Issues
In the oldwincustomize, users had the ability to change the site skin in their profile. What ever happened to site skins? Is this a feature that will made available soon?
5 Replies Reply 2 Referrals
I really need this... thanks to anyone who attempts this and good luck
3 Replies Reply 2 Referrals

Aug 4, 2004 10:37 AM by Discussion: WinCustomize Talk
I am trying to contact Emily, The author of the "Royale" Windowblinds skin so i can get permission to upload the weather obeject and calender i am making to match it.

The problem is that her e-mail address does not work and she has not answered my comments, if you do read this emily, my e-mail address is Latin4567@mail2me.com

thank you
2 Replies Reply 2 Referrals

Aug 3, 2004 1:44 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize Talk
I am hoping that someone like martin or tiggz will read this....
i need a script for an object to change states 4 times:

first state: daytime

second state: Sunset

third state: Night-time

fourth state: Sunrise

if anyone can do this that would be great!

btw: Please go back to the desktopX Project forums, everyone has abbandoned them!
[Message Edited]
9 Replies Reply 2 Referrals

 
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