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    Theme file


    Theme file.

    Theme file for Aston2 is just renamed ZIP-archive. It contains resources (images, sounds, etc.) and layout files. Aston2 supports following extensions for theme files:

    • *.a2menu - for start menu only
    • *.a2panel - for panels only (including the task bar)
    • *.a2desktop - for desktop only (including wallpapers and floating widgets)
    • *.a2theme - full theme with start menu, panels and desktop

    Let's consider what theme file contains in details. First, let's take a look at the general theme description file "index.xml". It's standard XML file in root of ZIP-packed theme file wich contains the standard XML header and info root section (tag).
    For example:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <info author="(C) John Doe">
      <configuration name="First"
    Aston2 theme example.

    Attribute author in section info contains copyright of theme author. Theme can have several configurations (see section configuration). Here are the attributes in the section configuration:

    • preview - preview image for Theme-Wizard (recomended size 500x375)
    • a2menu - widget layout file for start menu
    • a2panel - widget layout file for panels
    • a2desktop - widget layout file for desktop

    The text (beetween <configuration> and </configuration>) contains theme description.
    The widget layout files are generated by Aston2 engine. Thus, if you create new theme file, you can configure widget layout in Aston2 first, than just used them in ZIP-paked theme file. The widget layout files locate in here:
    C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Aston2\
    Where UserName is your login. We suppose in this example that your Windows was being installed on disk "C:".

    Now, let's consider how should be configured widget layout files. Each of them contains standard XML header and aston_root root section. Typicaly, it looks like this:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <aston_root default_folder="MyResources\" skin_resource="%AstonSkins%\Skins\Menu\MyTheme.a2menu?ZIP:">

    Here are a widget layout description inside the work_area section, we'll talk about it later. Now, let's consider aston_root attributes:

    • default_folder - folder in ZIP-paked theme file wich contains skin layout files and images
    • skin_resource - this attribute sets automaticaly by Aston2 engine. No matter what it contains if it located in ZIP-paked theme file. You can even remove it all.

    Now, let's consider the typical way to make new theme with new skins. First, you need create a folder for images and skin layout files. For example, you created it in here: C:\MyResources\.
    You can leave it empty or even copy the images and skin layout files from any other skin to this folder. Now, let's explain to Aston2 where our folder are. For example, you want to skin the start menu. Let's open file C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Aston2\a2menu.xml.
    Than let's find section aston_root and skin_resource attribute in here.
    You can change it like this:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <aston_root default_folder="MyResources\" skin_resource="C:\">


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