Widgets have gotten a lot of attention in the past year. I admit, we've really fixated on the widget aspects of DesktopX since that's where a lot of the interest seems to have been. But with DesktopX 3, we have not forgotten about one of the most popular uses of DesktopX -- building a desktop.
To recap - DesktopX (Standard and Pro) enable users to create desktop objects on their Windows desktop. These objects can be as simple as a static picture or as complex as any stand alone program could imagine being. It's up to the user. These objects can be grouped together and exported. They can be exported as objects to be put on people's DesktopX enhanced desktop, they can be exported as widgets to be run as mini-programs...OR...they can be put together to build an entirely new desktop.
What I want to show is how easy it is to create a desktop. My example, to keep it simple, is pretty lame I confess but hopefully it'll cover enough of the basics that you can go from there.
First off, for my desktop I'm going to have a bottom bar and a right bar. So I'll need an image. I'm going to borrow an Aero-style PNG file I got on WinCustomize. Then I'm going to create a DesktopX object and assign its image to be that Aero PNG file. Then on the states tab I'm going to go to appearance and then "Advanced" and set up how it can be tiled and stretched. Basically I want to be able to resize this PNG image without it looking stretched out.
Now that I've done that, I'll resize it to make sure I did it right. I do that on the summary page.
Good. Looks good resized. Now, in DesktopX I can make things a % of the desktop. DesktopX is natively resolution independent (unfortunately, most people choose to hard code the size of their exported desktops which is almost always unnecessary). So I'm going to make my image be 100% of the horizontal size but 64 pixels tall.
Now to do the same with a vertical one which I created using "clone".
Next I will prepare to hide my Windows desktop icons and Start bar.
Now for fun I'm going to put the date and time. DesktopX includes a plugin that does this. So I just select that under "additional abilities" and then make that object of type text.
Okay, so here's my little text object. I changed the colors and gave it a border so that it stands out.
Now, one of the things that's important to remember when building a desktop is that you'll want all your "desktop" items to be of the desktop z-order (by default, objects are created at the Normal z-order). You want your desktop stuff to always show up below your windows.
Now I need a Start button. Okay, here I cheated, I went onto the DesktopX area and did a search for a start button. This just brings up the Windows Start menu.
Now to add a system tray.
Make it match my existing look.
And then toss it on there. Now, I also need to reserve the space for my various docks. There's tons of ways to do this. The easy/lame way is to just go and set the workspace area.
I'm just maximizing my window so you can see the effect of workspaces.
Now I start importing objects to put on my docks. Then I go to the ObjectDock section on www.wincustomize.com to start finding more specific PNG and icon files I want.
One thing nice about DesktopX objects when dealing with icons and such is that you can control their size and you can control how they behave in different instances (such as mouse over). I also gave this object a shadow.
So now let's create another object that I'll use as a pop up.
Using my trusty Aero image once again I have made a nice box.
So now I'm going to need a thin that when clicked on will toggle my pop up. So I grabbed this. I will resize it to 32x32 (looks really cool big eh?).
So now I make this object an "object controller".
And I turn my pop up window into a toggle popup.
And voila. Drag and drop some stuff on there, put some MP3 player controls I made on there and I have an interactive pop up window.
Now to export my desktop.
..and I'm done.
So there you have it, a quicky way to build a simple desktop. Hopefully your imagination can come up with much more spectacular things than I did here. I whipped this up in less than 15 minutes so you can imagine what's possible with real work.