How Windows Theming Has Evolved

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betaluva
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How Windows Theming Has Evolved

Post by betaluva » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:59 am

In Windows there are three methods of drawing windows and controls that are used by the OS.

The first method is by simple GDI calls to draw boxes, fill shapes and gradients, this is used by

Windows Classic theme in all versions and is the only method available in Windows versions 3.1-5.0.

In Windows Whistler/xp (5.1) a second method was added, this used a library of pictures to draw windows

and controls, these pictures are stored in the resources of a DLL in the %SystemRoot%\Resources\Themes

folder of your installation, this is used by Luna, Watercolour , Vista Basic and many other themes,

but not by Aero.

The third method uses DirectX to render hardware accelerated themes and is a combination of the first

and second method, it draws the shapes of windows by code but overlays these with images from the

theme (a technique known as texturing), this drawing is done using DirectX and also allows for

transparency and effects such as Aero Flip because the windows are drawn as flat planes in a 3D

'world'.

WINDOWS 8"
Windows Classic and Aero Lite
In Windows 8, Windows Basic was removed and the code used for Windows Classic was rewritten to

partially use images from a theme and the controls were flattened by changing other parts of the code,

this is what allows Aero Lite to be coloured by the user like Windows Classic was, because the colours

for a manually drawn theme are just parameters to functions that draw the theme, in a image they are

"obviously" defined by the author of the image or camera, this the reason we cannot use Windows

Classic anymore, not even if the Themes service is disabled


*this is taken from a post made by PetrBjornx at Beatarchive.org
(i should have added this information when i created the topic)

Smiley
Developer
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:36 pm

Re: How Windows Theming Has Evolved

Post by Smiley » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:57 pm

Thanks for this information. I did not know anything about Aero light. After seeing some screenshots I think that ms just changed the non-themed built in controls appearance to be a bit more elegant. Imo this may still use pure gdi calls to render the new appearance. So I think that it contains only two different theming methods: Full Dx redered and an elegant version of the classic lightweight theme.

Peterbjornx
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: How Windows Theming Has Evolved

Post by Peterbjornx » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:37 pm

Well, the Aero Lite theme does use a msstyle file and that contains some controls , but most of it is rendered like the old classic theme

BTW I'm the original writer of this info

Smiley
Developer
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:36 pm

Re: How Windows Theming Has Evolved

Post by Smiley » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:01 pm

Peterbjornx wrote:Well, the Aero Lite theme does use a msstyle file and that contains some controls , but most of it is rendered like the old classic theme

BTW I'm the original writer of this info
oh, interesting. so may I assume that as msstyle files are still used, then uxtheme.dll is still used as well?

Peterbjornx
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: How Windows Theming Has Evolved

Post by Peterbjornx » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:26 pm

yes, but interestingly, when you disable Themes service (uxtheme.dll) it still works

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