Published on May 18, 2004 By _Martin_ In WinCustomize News
DesktopX is an amazing tool. For $20 you get software that can do pretty much anything on your desktop. DesktopX is NOT just eye candy, it can be an awesome productivity tool. The problem is that it's just not as popular as it should be.

The main issue is the lack of really useful objects. There is some real creative talent out there and a few developers really push the boundary, but personally I get a little depressed when every other object uploaded is a clock, calendar or weather object. There's nothing wrong with these objects 'per se', they just become a little tedious after a while.

Do you want to help do something about this? If so read on ...

What I propose is a concerted effort by the DesktopX community to get some really cool objects on there. You don't need to be a great scripting or artistic talent, ideas are probable even more useful! I'm not looking for this to be a competition, no prizes, just a lot of self satisfaction.

Think about what you do and need during your everyday life. OK, so you wake up and read to news, check the time and date, look outside at the weather - we have these things nailed. What do you do after that? Do you have kids and need to check that the school is open? Do you need traffic reports to check the way to work is clear? When you get to work/school - what do you use - what tools would be handy or cool to have?

What I'm suggesting is the following
1) A core of USEFUL DesktopX objects
2) Simple graphics to allow easy customization
3) No "ownership" as such. If someone wants to use these objects I'd like to think that permission is not required - though credit is nice.
4) A team effort to improve objects over time. If you can provide an object containing the suggested improvement then even better
5) The creation of Widget versions of all these objects so they can be run "stand alone"

What we need is:
1) Ideas for objects - even if you have no idea how to make them
2) Developers willing to turning these objects into a reality
3) People will to provide patient support and help to those who want to TRY to create objects themselves
4) Any ideas on how to improve this process? e.g. Do we upload under a new consolidated user account?

If you can contribute on any of the above points, please do so.
Comments (Page 1)
on May 18, 2004
I agree 100% on this, although lately I have been too busy to really contribute very much.
Ya know, Brazen_weep always had some very intuitive ideas and I think his participation would be a substantial aid in this project.

Any help I can give, I would be glad too.
on May 18, 2004
whats the payback for developing your market share ?
on May 18, 2004
Maybe we have so many clocks, calendars and weather apps, because they are the most useful, and that is what people want.
on May 18, 2004
You know what I'd like? I'd like a little map that I could put on my desktop somewhere that would show me a radar loop of my local area. I wrote a screen saver that shows pops up the following image:

http://radblast.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/radar/WUNIDS?station=MKX&brand=wui&num=6&delay=50&type=N0R&frame=0&scale=1&noclutter=1&t=1084886423&lat=0&lon=0&label=you

The image gets refreshed from there every 5 minutes. It's really nice. Being able to have a smaller version of that map on my desktop would also be really sweet.

Can anyone out there do this using DX?

Mark
on May 18, 2004
Solution design: what themes are showing this? Are you using the last beta?
on May 18, 2004
I'm currently working on an animation script that will turn any 48x48 icon into a fully animated DesktopX zoomer. Figured something like that would be kind of useful, that way I could stop making zoomers for every one of my themes.

I'll agree, I had to revert back to my 2.00a version of DX though, because of all of the issues that make even 2.10 and especially 2.19 totally unuseable.

I used to make highly detailed reports in the newsgroup, but they went unanswered. Hard for a "developer" like me to work creatively in a program that doesn't function properly.

So my biggest suggestion for encouraging people to create objects for DesktopX is to solidify the code so we can finally use the product as it was intended to be.
on May 18, 2004
Well I am for sure not a skinner but I reckon you will find there is so many calendars, weathers, clocks etc cause people do want these on there desktop but they want them to match the rest of there current "style/look" so perhaps first the thing to look at is a "standard" DesktopX theme/layout with some way of having a button or whatever be able to change the graphics of the theme but leave the contents/layout the same basicaly to ack like windowblinds does changes the look but leaves the content the same and keeps the same style menus on side or whatever etc.

Reason I believe something like this would be good is then the guys "n" girls that have the graphics talent can do those bits and the coders can do there bits, cause like I have come across some very good objects here like calendars that interact with Office Outlook, News readers, tv guides etc but I don't use them cause they don't match the rest of my look or they don't work for my area of the world and not everyone is a coder/graphics artist most people shine at one thing and just scrap by with the other stuff so if we had a group of people working on one part of a theme/object, and another group working on the other part of it.

If this was to happen I reckon you could end up with some really wicked usefull themes/objects since all the graphics would be the same so the coders can perfect there code and not worry about the graphics etc and so on.

Thats just my 2 cents of dribble hope its understandable
on May 18, 2004
I agree that something needs to be done to bring out more useful objects/themes with DX. I'm not a coder or skinner so can't really contribute more than ideas/issues.
I hardly even look at the DX listing anymore since its always crowded with boring weather objects. Everyone and their brother is making a weather object. I use one, so they are useful but mine is theme independent. For me anyway most of the weather objects are too big.
As for other objects I may try them out, like Bejeweled or the RC car or something, but after one shot or so I dump them. The reason is because I don't like having things buried on my desktop. If I'm going to use it, then it either needs to show up when I want it, or be able to be positioned so I can see it all the time. Often there is a useful object, but I am unable to hide it or minimize it or something like that. So if I want to use it, I have to minimize all my windows, hardly very effecient. I realize the capability is there to do what I want, but most scripters don't include it.
To go along with that, there probably should be some way to have a DX dock or something to that effect that you can click to load up the object you want to use while the rest remain out of sight.
The sidebar docks that some have created are certainly in the right direction, though I have yet to find one I like to use. Just don't have the functions I prefer I guess.
Also I would like to be able to take advantage of music playing via DX but Object Media just meet all my needs, probably won't either as it isn't meant to be a full-fledged media player.

A help I believe to some who may be avoiding DX is to have a video showing its usefulness. Maybe one has been made, but I haven't seen one that shows how objects can work to your advantage.
I saw the video on scripting, however it still doesn't do diddly for me. I need graphics to script for which I can't create. I have no idea how to write scripts even with the pseudo help that comes built into DX.
Therefore maybe someone can come up with a tutorial script that runs through some basics to at least help someone like me get off the ground.

Just some ideas. I like DX, but find I don't use it to its full potential simply because I haven't found anything useful enough for me.
on May 18, 2004
I'd like something that showed traffic alerts or a map of the local metro system with delays illuminated. Can someone tie into Metro's (http://www.wmata.com) and build a map for that?
on May 18, 2004
OK consolidated responses:

Bugs: I appreciate that a minority of users are having issues with recent builds, but please can we keep this thread focussed on the topic. I will do my best to help with issues through other channels.

Matt: Appreciate the point, but I suspect that's because people can clone other peoples work rather than making their own stuff.

Mark: Your wish is my command. Check this out: http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.asp?library=3&SkinID=3424

notlong/Ghos: Fair points. I am currently working on a very very well featured dock that should meet most of your needs.
on May 18, 2004
Back to calendar objects (oh no!):

Objects that interact with Outlook are all well and good, but many people don't use Outlook. Is there any hope of seeing a calendar object that can interact with a standard iCal format calendar (I use Mozilla Sunbird and this is the format it uses)? And, importantly, could this use the alarms set in the calendar to alert the user? (Sunbird needs to be running for the alarms to go off, being able to have the alarms run without SB would be most useful)
on May 18, 2004
Some ideas based on my own needs/wants:

1) media player object that uses WMP9. At least for me, WMP is totally integrated into my WinXP machine. If I try to use something else, even winamp, then I lose a LOT of functionality.

2) Dynamic menu objects. I already use Object Dock and Y'z Dock, and still I find myself needing more "shortcut" space. I have made a DX object that acts as a menu for my music playlists. I click an "icon" on my desktop, and the menu pops up. To take this the next step would be to have a dynamic menu that could respond to changes in a folder somewhere, and would not require me to ungroup the menu make new/or edit objects and then regroup, etc.

3) Start Menu replacements - I guess this is related to #2 but an easy to configure Start Menu replacement would just be killer. Imagine - you could use all those WB skins that you would just love if they had a compact start menu or you hated the way the start menu looked... blah blah blah. I know I've seen a Start Menu object on here, but I couldn't figure out how to configure it very quickly, and so i gave up. Again, I think dynamic menus would help this idea.
on May 18, 2004
I have helped gef on a few occasions on his latest DX themes scripting wise and I wouldn't mind helping any way I can. Actually, I modified your dock object Martin, to suit gef's needs, so I'm able to modify an existing script, but i'm not sure I could build one from the ground up.

But I agree with the fact DX is underused and it is a great program.
on May 18, 2004
This a complete shot in the dark, and I have no idea if it's even possible. I know there are phone dialer programs out there, however. So, with that said how about an object that can check your voice mail or messages on your answering machine? I think if this is possible it would be something alot of people would use.
on May 18, 2004
G. Taulbee: It all depends on the quality of the source data. You could easily use the webcam object (http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.asp?library=3&SkinID=3423) with traffic cams, or the webpage refresher (http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.asp?library=3&SkinID=3424) with pages such as http://www.wincustomize.com/skins.asp?library=3&SkinID=3424 or http://www.wjla.com/news/trafficmap.hrb

Hope this helps
Meta
Views
» 4016
Comments
» 58
Sponsored Links