User:Tometheus/Getting started with STIXE

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I've never made a STIXE skin before, but I have read the skin with every release, so I know how it works from the raw language side. So I decided to take notes from a first time skinner's point of view. Now, I already have the graphics designed for how I eventually want the skin to look (BT was released in .70) but I don't have the graphics in the form that STIXE wants them. This is probably where most people will start.

First Steps

Setup the Directory

The easiest place to start is by copying the Whistler folder and renaming it to our skin's name. (I've named mine "BlueTurtle for STIXE".) That way we have everything the skin needs to start off with and we can replace things element by element. (But remember to replace everything before releasing, because the Whistler skin is © Cerulean Studios.)

Edit Desc.txt

Once we've done that, the first thing we do is to edit the desc.txt file. You can see what all the desc.txt file does by clicking that link. Mainly, this tells Trillian the name and description of the skin and where to find the preview. The main things we want to do right now is just change the first two lines. The first line is the name of the skin, and often includes the version so users know what version they're using. In my case, I'm using "BlueTurtle for STIXE, v3.1.0". (I usually make my BT versions equal to the Trillian version they're intended for, just so I can remember myself if I've updated yet LOL.) The second line is the description of our skin. Just remember that this description must be under 256 characters or the /skinchooser will choke.

Now we can look at Trillian's skin chooser and see our skin listed. Don't worry about the preview right now, we'll make that when the skin's all done.

The Settings.ini File

This is the heart of a STIXE theme. STIXE is still based on SkinXML, so it still follows all of the rules in the reference, however, all of the core code is in %Trillian%\stixe instead of in our folder. However, we still have to tell it what colors we want, what sizes our controls are, etc. That's what the settings.ini file does. For a STIXE skinner, this is the only place you have to do anything with XML. You can edit this file in any text editor, such as notepad. This file, while named an .ini file to make it easier to edit, is really a DTD File containing entities that we modify for our skin. All you have to do is change what's in the 'quotes' on each of the entities, and that's all the XML you need to know.

The "Images" Folder

This folder contains all of the images for the skin. We will have to change all of these by the time we're done. (The only exceptions being Brand-Basic.png and Brand-Pro.png. I believe these can remain as they are to brand Trillian. Kid will correct me here if I'm wrong.)

There are a lot of images here, but Kid has written an excellent reference on what they all mean here.

Main Window

If you use Magenta RGB: 255,0,255 it will make that area transparent.

Regions, Slices, and SliceWidths

See here for more in-depth information.


The Preview

Last thing we do is take a screenshot and create a preview.bmp