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Aston Shell Desktop manager and Shell replacement AltDesk virtual desktops aston desktop
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    Desktop items


    Unlike many other alternative shells Aston has an excellent Desktop.
    You can use it to place buttons/icons or graphical elements (more about it in the corresponding section of the help file).

    All Desktop objects can be divided into three large groups:

    • plug-ins

    • buttons/icons

    • additional graphics

    Some plug-ins are created to be used on Desktop only (i.e. Disks plug-in) while others "live" in Tray, Taskbar or Toolbars. Here we won't touch upon skinning plug-ins as you can find this information in the corresponding section... Let's talk about two other graphical elements, which can be seen on Aston Desktop.

    The simpliest button has three states:

    • normal

    • highlighted (mouseover)

    • pressed

    Each state is represented by a single bitmap.

    You can make buttons of any form and almost of any size; you can also make freeform buttons using "magic pink" color or 32 bit PNGs; buttons can have label text below them.

    Generally Aston does not differ buttons from icons so it doesn't really matter what your icon/button looks like or what shape it has: there're lots of variations. Just keep it in mind while working on your Theme.

    Note: make sure controls (interactive elements) are always different from the background/decorative elements. You can achieve this by making controls react on mouseover, by making them different in color/form, etc.

    3 state icons look definitely better than ordinary objects on Windows Desktop, most of which just have 1 or 2 states. Still, lack of intermediate frames will not allow you to create complex animation. In order to do this just use ANK objects instead of 3 state pictures.

    Aston Themes might also contain additional graphical elements, not requering user interaction. These might be various kinds of backgrounds or decorative shapes, not rendered onto the wallpaper but left separated for better resolution compatibility. In order to create such objects, just set their object type as "Theme Element (obsolete)" or "Empty".

    Techno dream decorative element
    Background stripe from Roman Osadchy's "No Escape" Theme

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