Long ago, Stardock has the idea to create a program that would combine all the major customization programs into a single entity. It became known as WinStyles. One program to rule them all and all that.
Over time, we renamed it to Theme Manager. The idea was that customization on Windows had become pretty hard for casual users so let's create a new format (.suite) and let people press a button to do it.
The problem with WinStyles/Theme Manager 1 is that it was still pretty complicated to use and in our quest to support lots of third party apps, we ended up being a power user tool.
So we made Theme Manager 2.
Theme Manager 2
Theme Manager 2 was a big improvement in many respects and made possible for people to create virtual .suite files. That is, suites where the actual files were on WinCustomize.com. This would let people submit their desktops without having to re-distribute other people's skins and icons.
The problem, once again, was that it very complicated and supporting so much "stuff" made it hard to use for casual users.
So then we worked on MyColors, a specialized theme manager that simply applied very specific types of themes. In that process, the technology really matured. We also partnered with a lot of companies in creating it and took away a lot of good UI feedback.
This has led to Theme Manager 3:
Theme Manager 3 for Object Desktop 2009
Using the same user interface guidelines established with WindowBlinds 6 and IconPackager 4, Theme Manager presents a much simpler user experience. MyColors themes are supported as well as third-party suites.
It also fulfills the original promise of allowing users to manage all their skins, themes, and icons from a single application:
Lead developer, Brian Harper, who developed WinStyles, Theme Managers 1 and 2 has really outdone himself this time. His work on IconPackager 4, Stardock Central and WinCustomize browser have really come together here.
Moreover, users can now take a quick and simple snapshot of their desktop:
Like your desktop? Save it.
For power users though, the create new theme option is incredibly powerful:
Users can still create virtual suites if they want as well as make use of third-party applications to create your ultimate suite. It integrates into WinCustomize.com to automatically find skins based on your search terms.
Theme Manager 3 is one of the highlights of the upcoming release of Object Desktop 2009. Along with a Vista version of Bootskin and an XP version of DeskScapes (animated wallpaper), we are hoping that this new release will help reacquaint casual users with the fun of desktop customization.
Initially, Theme Manager 3 will only be available to Object Desktop users.