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xoblite bb5 RC3+ is now available! :D

xoblite bb5 Plugins

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#1 xoblite

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 07:27 PM

xoblite_20200913.png

 

Welcome to xoblite.

 

This post and/or thread will be continuously updated with new information following new releases.

 

The latest version - xoblite bb5 RC3+ (0.20.10.4) was released on October 4th, 2020 (related post).

 

Direct download -> http://xoblite.net/f...te_bb5_rc3 .zip

 

This .zip bundle also includes my new plugins...

  • xDesignerGUI (release candidate) - a "privileged plugin" providing a GUI for the xoblite bb5 Designer Mode, placed in the core shell main folder and loaded/unloaded automatically when said mode is enabled/disabled.
    (nb. as this is tightly coupled to the core shell itself, please post any comments on this topic directly in this thread).
  • xDesktopAnimation (release candidate) - an advanced bitmap animation plugin. The default bb5 theme uses no less than 8 (!) instances of this plugin...  :sweat:
  • xDesktopLauncher (release candidate) - a sophisticated button matrix launcher plugin.
  • xDesktopMeter (release candidate) - a system meter plugin. The default bb5 theme uses 3 instances of this plugin (one each for CPU, network and memory).
  • xDesktopNowPlaying (early beta) - a work-in-progress "now playing" plugin for Spotify users. (nb. being an early beta, I have not created a sub-forum for this plugin yet).

More on these later too perhaps, but in the meanwhile, please share your experience of them in the related sub-forums!  :thumbsup: (and btw, each plugin's configuration menu is opened using Right click or Ctrl+Right click depending on the plugin and sometimes its current mode/state).

 

Oh, and while the full documentation is not yet ready for this first public release - see an early work-in-progress at http://xoblite.net/docs/ - please read the short included README.txt at least. More details will follow, but I figured you're probably savvy enough around here...  :wink:

 

Enjoy!  :yes:

 

BR//Karl aka qwilk/@xoblite


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#2 anzuchang

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 11:31 PM

Thank you so much for your work! Can't wait to test it :)

 

I'm rarely posting on this forum, but I've been checking for updates on this particular build every single week...


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#3 pitkon

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 09:45 AM

It's finally up, folks! Enjoy!

Excellent work, Karl.

As for impressions... I think will leave that for later... :)


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#4 sitalk

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 12:03 PM

ZOMG!!!

 

EDIT:

So a couple of quick very first impressions and questions.

I'm overwhelmed by how many new things and features I see, it's a joy to explore a modern BB experience!

 

So for my questions and issues:

- if I detach a menu, dragging it around, is there a way to maintain it open like in some other BB flavours? I don't remember if the old xoblite versions had it too but it's quite useful when fiddling with the settings.

- can we expect the dreaded tray icons to show up in the toolbar in the future? :P

- don't know if there's something wrong with my system but when I open xoblite it seems to override the "Show window contents while dragging" option to false in the Windows Performance Options.


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#5 danieljo12

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 04:43 PM

will the source code be released?


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#6 xoblite

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 08:10 PM

Thank you so much for your work! Can't wait to test it :)
I'm rarely posting on this forum, but I've been checking for updates on this particular build every single week...

 

ZOMG!!!
I'm overwhelmed by how many new things and features I see, it's a joy to explore a modern BB experience!

 

#HAPPY  :biggrin:

 

- if I detach a menu, dragging it around, is there a way to maintain it open like in some other BB flavours? I don't remember if the old xoblite versions had it too but it's quite useful when fiddling with the settings.

 

Yes, the core shell menus can be pinned by either Double Left clicking or Mid clicking the menu title item; an indicator will show that it has been pinned.

It is only meant for temporary pinning though (e.g. when editing multiple settings in sequence or trying out wallpapers); it is not fully persistent across restarts and similar.

 
Due to legacy technical reasons, plugin menus can not (currently at least) be pinned the same way.
 
However, an alternative to pinning - that also works with most plugin's menus - could also be that Right clicking on a menu item will execute its command without closing the menu like Left clicking on it would do.
 
Given how xoblite's different menu item types work and how its overall menu functionality is designed, this is usually the faster way to accomplish many tasks.
 

- can we expect the dreaded tray icons to show up in the toolbar in the future?  :P

 

Over my dead body?  :wink:  (seriously though, no; I'll try to explain why later but it's a bit long-winded an answer unfortunately so I'll have to save it for later, the point here though is that xoblite bb5 is optimized to run as an "extended shell" alongside Explorer, not to fully replace it like back in the old days)

 

- don't know if there's something wrong with my system but when I open xoblite it seems to override the "Show window contents while dragging" option to false in the Windows Performance Options.

 

Oh, my fault, sorry - at the very last minute before release I was cleaning up the included default xoblite.rc and deleted a couple of legacy settings I thought were no longer used, but it seems at least some of them still were... ooops!  :blush2:

I will fix this (read: actually remove the legacy code as we nowadays have other means to set those parameters) in the next release, but in the meantime you can add them all (read: the zombies and the dead alike :wink:) back to the default xoblite.rc and edit the values as you see fit:

 

session.screen0.focusLastWindow: false
session.screen0.windowPlacement: ColSmartPlacement
session.screen0.colPlacementDirection: TopToBottom
session.screen0.focusNewWindows: true
session.screen0.rowPlacementDirection: LeftToRight
session.screen0.fullMaximization: true
session.screen0.edgeSnapThreshold: 10
session.screen0.focusModel: ClickToFocus
session.opaqueMove: true
session.doubleClickInterval: 250
session.autoRaiseDelay: 50
 
Keep me posted!  :thumbsup:
 
BR//Karl aka qwilk/@xoblite

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#7 sitalk

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 11:11 PM

Thank you qwilk!

 

Interacting with the right click is actually brilliant, in some cases really is better than pinning.

 

I'll embrace this new philosophy of running BB alongside explorer, trying to replace it completely was actually the cause of many headaches over the years.

 

Another couple of quick mini issues/questions:

- setting notepad++ as preferred editor results in an error when opening paths with a space like "C:\Blackbox\themes\Simplest example\xoblite.rc"

- I cannot resist to stress test this new version loading the old plugins :P BBinterface seems to run fine! I only noticed a slight delay opening the config menus with CTRL+RClick.

- opening a menu and then raising a window from the taskbar keeps the menu on top, any way to make the menu loose focus/close when interacting with explorer elements?

- I've seen here and there a rounded corners option for some elements, will we ever see an unholy rounded cornered menu? :D

- tried using the [include] (generic_menu.rc) syntax in menu.rc but it seems I can't find a way to make it work

 

Sorry for blasting you with questions, I'm so exited to finally see xoblite's new version.

Missed so much bb, I can finally throw away that Rainmeter piece of crap.


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#8 IceFog

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 04:20 PM

Thank you qwilk!

I love your decision to make bb5 be as extended shell.

 

lets start bug reports then? :smile:

 

When you have second screen below the first: 2.png

 

But its problem only for general user

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  • Attached File  2.png   3.21MB   0 downloads


#9 IceFog

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 05:02 PM

https://winaero.com/...-in-windows-10/

 

for pp to tweak xDesktopLauncher actions and menu.rc



#10 meanmechanics

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 07:44 PM

Yeah baby!

We are on!

 

You rock Karl!

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#11 meanmechanics

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 07:57 PM

It's finally up, folks! Enjoy!

Excellent work, Karl.

As for impressions... I think will leave that for later... :)

 

Come on Pete!

First BB since a decade!

Best BB since a decade!

Best XOB since bb3

Best BB short!!

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#12 xoblite

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 08:36 PM

Don’t have time to reply to you all right now, sorry, but seriously meanmechanics... ROFL!!!!!!!!!!  :lol: :lol: :lol: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:



#13 lyrae

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 11:55 PM

I'm so happy that xoblite is back  :biggrin:   Thanks for you hard work Qwilk!  


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#14 pitkon

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 06:24 AM

Come on Pete!

First BB since a decade!

Best BB since a decade!

Best XOB since bb3

Best BB short!!

You mean I wasn't enthusiastic enough? That's mean, even for a meanmechanic :D :D :D



#15 molecube

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 06:10 PM

Thanks for bringing xoblite back to life. This is awesome news and a huge step forward. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

 

Of course I immediately downloaded the new version and now am using it as a daily driver already. It's way more stable than bbZero 1.18 which I used before. From what I've seen and tested to so far, it has improved very much and I'm glad I registered in this forum :)

 

Now I want to give a little more detailed feedback:

 

Pro:

- Super stable in contrast to the other BB I used. Didn't have one crash yet.

- Very fast (startup, menus, editing, reconfiguration/restart)

- Cool new features (Double DPI for example - even though I don't use it)

- Pretty clean xoblite configuration menu. It's very easy to find all the options. It's built logical.

- Extremely easy to re-use the contents of the menu.rc from my old bbZero installation

- My style I created for bbZero works like a charm with xoblite. Thanks for not forcing me/us to create our style-files from scratch again.

- More to come the longer I'm going to use it, I guess :)

 

Contra:

- When just launching instead of installing it (I used the bbsetshell.exe from bbZero 1.18 and it worked quite well) xoblite doesn't cover the desktop icons of my Windows 10. I don't know if it's just a setting or meant to be that way but I knew blackboxes to always work like a layer above the desktop so I don't see the icons. It's no big contra though because Win10 offers an option to hide desktop icons which did the trick for me.

- I didn't like the sound effects - not because they are bad but I don't want my shell to make any sounds. I like it quiet so that's a very personal "contra" ;)

- I for one didn't need the plugins that created all the desktop "widgets". Took me a while to get rid of them. So that's also a very personal "contra" and probably doesn't apply to many people, I guess. I'm just a rather minimalistic type.

- I can't find an option to hide the desktop "widget" which shows what desktop I'm on. Is there a way to hide it? I never used the multi-desktop feature of Blackbox because I got a 32:9 format monitor with 5120x1440px so It's like two displays regarding space :) So this is also very personal and certainly doesn't apply to many because 32:9 is rather rare. That's why I don't list the stretched wallpaper on my screen here.

- Nothing else so far

 

Thanks again for this awesome tool. Do you accept donations of any kind?

 

EDIT: Typo


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#16 pitkon

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 06:19 AM

Thanks for bringing xoblite back to life. This is awesome news and a huge step forward. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

 

Of course I immediately downloaded the new version and now am using it as a daily driver already. It's way more stable than bbZero 1.18 which I used before. From what I've seen and tested to so far, it has improved very much and I'm glad I registered in this forum :)

 

Now I want to give a little more detailed feedback:

 

Pro:

- Super stable in contrast to the other BB I used. Didn't have one crash yet.

- Very fast (startup, menus, editing, reconfiguration/restart)

- Cool new features (Double DPI for example - even though I don't use it)

- Pretty clean xoblite configuration menu. It's very easy to find all the options. It's built logical.

- Extremely easy to re-use the contents of the menu.rc from my old bbZero installation

- My style I created for bbZero works like a charm with xoblite. Thanks for not forcing me/us to create our style-files from scratch again.

- More to come the longer I'm going to use it, I guess :)

 

Contra:

- When just launching instead of installing it (I used the bbsetshell.exe from bbZero 1.18 and it worked quite well) xoblite doesn't cover the desktop icons of my Windows 10. I don't know if it's just a setting or meant to be that way but I knew blackboxes to always work like a layer above the desktop so I don't see the icons. It's no big contra though because Win10 offers an option to hide desktop icons which did the trick for me.

- I didn't like the sound effects - not because they are bad but I don't want my shell to make any sounds. I like it quiet so that's a very personal "contra" ;)

- I for one didn't need the plugins that created all the desktop "widgets". Took me a while to get rid of them. So that's also a very personal "contra" and probably doesn't apply to many people, I guess. I'm just a rather minimalistic type.

- I can't find an option to hide the desktop "widget" which shows what desktop I'm on. Is there a way to hide it? I never used the multi-desktop feature of Blackbox because I got a 32:9 format monitor with 5120x1440px so It's like two displays regarding space :) So this is also very personal and certainly doesn't apply to many because 32:9 is rather rare. That's why I don't list the stretched wallpaper on my screen here.

- Nothing else so far

 

Thanks again for this awesome tool. Do you accept donations of any kind?

 

EDIT: Typo

I'm reserving my comments for later; I had the pleasure of using this shell for many months and following the procedure which made xoblite 5 the great shell it is.

However, your comment triggered the need to reply to a few items. I'm sure Karl will add his own input.

Pros:

- I never experienced any crashes with BBZero. And, yes, xob is super stable too.

- Actually, you do have to rethink your style authoring. I mean xob replaces the old, silly color/colorsplitto with color 1, 2, 3, 4. AND we now have colors 5, 6, 7 and 8 to work with :)

Cons:

- I don't have any Windows icons on my desktop since Windows 3.11 :) Just hid them. And, something which I consider very important: Karl thinks of xoblite 5 as an extended shell. For me, an "extended" shell (which means running it on top of Explorer) beats a shell's purpose. So, I'm using it like you do, as a native shell, with the help of bsetshell and a registry little hack. It's super stable and works just as well, if not better, than an extended shell. AND you don't taxi the system this way, although the point is mute with today's super computers and cheap memory chips. (Still remember the fire in that chip factory in Taiwan which sent memory chip prices rocketing back in the 1990s :) )

Donations is a great idea. Not sure if Karl cares, though :)


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#17 sitalk

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 09:26 AM

For me, an "extended" shell (which means running it on top of Explorer) beats a shell's purpose.

Personally I'm ok with qwilk's concept, for me the purpose of bb or other shell extensions is primarily to extend the desktop functionality.
I use a ton of tools, links to network shares, and automatized commands and I hate both the desktop icons and the start menu as a way to organize them.

Bb was always my preferred shell for this purpose.

 

That said in the days I was obsessed in stripping to the bare minimum my systems too. I still have a very old Vaio laptop with bbLean, no explorer, and around 20 services running and it has to this day a boot time not so far from a modern SSD, and it's Windows XP!


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#18 pitkon

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 09:41 AM

Personally I'm ok with qwilk's concept, for me the purpose of bb or other shell extensions is primarily to extend the desktop functionality.
I use a ton of tools, links to network shares, and automatized commands and I hate both the desktop icons and the start menu as a way to organize them.

Bb was always my preferred shell for this purpose.

 

That said in the days I was obsessed in stripping to the bare minimum my systems too. I still have a very old Vaio laptop with bbLean, no explorer, and around 20 services running and it has to this day a boot time not so far from a modern SSD, and it's Windows XP!

Ah, Windows XP!!! The memories, the memories...

Well, alternative shells were not primarily created to extend desktop functionality. I mean there are countless applications around to do just that, free and commercial alike.

Shells were created to get rid of Window's notions and, in old Windoze days they were manna from heaven - fast, really fast. Days have passed and speed is not a #1 priority anymore, but functionality without Windows' prerequisites and restrictions still is a must.

In short, alternative shells were created to form new worlds and they did just that - Litestep, IceSphere, Serenade and, of course, Blackbox among many others, promoted creativity both in computer sciences and in arts. A LOT of today's well known digital artists started out as shell themers.

So, I do understand your position and of course totally accept it, as I accept qwilk's genius in creating something that could both work on top of Windows AND as a native shell. Maybe we can have the best of both worlds? :)


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#19 molecube

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 07:52 PM

I'm reserving my comments for later; I had the pleasure of using this shell for many months and following the procedure which made xoblite 5 the great shell it is.

However, your comment triggered the need to reply to a few items. I'm sure Karl will add his own input.

Pros:

- I never experienced any crashes with BBZero. And, yes, xob is super stable too.

- Actually, you do have to rethink your style authoring. I mean xob replaces the old, silly color/colorsplitto with color 1, 2, 3, 4. AND we now have colors 5, 6, 7 and 8 to work with :)

Cons:

- I don't have any Windows icons on my desktop since Windows 3.11 :) Just hid them. And, something which I consider very important: Karl thinks of xoblite 5 as an extended shell. For me, an "extended" shell (which means running it on top of Explorer) beats a shell's purpose. So, I'm using it like you do, as a native shell, with the help of bsetshell and a registry little hack. It's super stable and works just as well, if not better, than an extended shell. AND you don't taxi the system this way, although the point is mute with today's super computers and cheap memory chips. (Still remember the fire in that chip factory in Taiwan which sent memory chip prices rocketing back in the 1990s :) )

Donations is a great idea. Not sure if Karl cares, though :)

 

Hi pitkon,

 

thanks for your comment.

 

I'd like to reply to your Pros and Cons:

- BBZero can crash surprisingly easily on my system. I can sometimes recreate it by just moving the mouse in circles across the BBZero "desktop" while right clicking fast. Ok, this sounds rather constructed as a scenario but the way I used my mouse I had about one crash every month almost regularly. But I don't mind because it's still too rare to bother me, plus I got so many advantages from using BB, it's more than worth it.

- You're right, style authoring is been pushed to a new level. I'm going to create a new style with this again. But I have to learn how to do it again because we got new commands/colors and the new Designer Mode which I'm not familiar with yet. To be honest, I have no idea what to do with it :D (We can blame my laziness and that I probably didn't read any readme-files or documentation)

- What does your registry hack do? I never needed one but I also never knew one for BB/xob.

- Regarding consumption of hardware resources, I tend to prefer "oldschooly" programs with a simple, clean and fast UI instead of Apple like blown-up bullshit that only costs RAM and doesn't add anything but more pixels to calculate. I do have 64 GiB of RAM but I'd always prefer a blank, empty and just black desktop like BB over anything Windows did ever offer. I just didn't find the "perfect" file explorer for me though. I prefer QDir but would rather like it in dark mode (it's bright mode only). Anyway, this isn't the topic.

- Lastly I want to add: I still stick to my wish to donate Karl a few bucks. I think he deserves this. Perhaps he does accept donations. If not, Karl, I owe you :D


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#20 pitkon

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 06:12 AM

Hi pitkon,

 

thanks for your comment.

 

I'd like to reply to your Pros and Cons:

- BBZero can crash surprisingly easily on my system. I can sometimes recreate it by just moving the mouse in circles across the BBZero "desktop" while right clicking fast. Ok, this sounds rather constructed as a scenario but the way I used my mouse I had about one crash every month almost regularly. But I don't mind because it's still too rare to bother me, plus I got so many advantages from using BB, it's more than worth it.

- You're right, style authoring is been pushed to a new level. I'm going to create a new style with this again. But I have to learn how to do it again because we got new commands/colors and the new Designer Mode which I'm not familiar with yet. To be honest, I have no idea what to do with it :D (We can blame my laziness and that I probably didn't read any readme-files or documentation)

- What does your registry hack do? I never needed one but I also never knew one for BB/xob.

- Regarding consumption of hardware resources, I tend to prefer "oldschooly" programs with a simple, clean and fast UI instead of Apple like blown-up bullshit that only costs RAM and doesn't add anything but more pixels to calculate. I do have 64 GiB of RAM but I'd always prefer a blank, empty and just black desktop like BB over anything Windows did ever offer. I just didn't find the "perfect" file explorer for me though. I prefer QDir but would rather like it in dark mode (it's bright mode only). Anyway, this isn't the topic.

- Lastly I want to add: I still stick to my wish to donate Karl a few bucks. I think he deserves this. Perhaps he does accept donations. If not, Karl, I owe you :D

Thank YOU!

- Like I said, BBZero never crashed on me. I believe it's your system.

- Designer Mode is fine (Karl has already said he owes us documentation, right? :) ) and I've played with it, but you may feel more comfortable with apps like ColorCop.

- My hack: I simply replace explorer.exe with blackbox.exe here: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\C:\Blackbox\Blackbox.exe (or wherever your Blackbox.exe lies). Been doing that for the last 20 years. Of course, back then I relied on ShellOn to do that, but alas ShellOn doesn't work on Windows 10.

- I understand using simple apps. As for the perfect file explorer, I use Free Commander XE, best one ever imho. Keeps updating almost weekly.

As for Karl, we all owe him.


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