View Full Version : ZLauncher ThemeMaker alpha

02-01-2003, 12:05 PM
I have an alpha version of the ZLauncher ThemeMaker 2.0 available if anyone would like to do some testing. (Since ZZtechs is on holidays, perhaps this is a good time!)

I know that a lot of the people who have been making ZLauncher themes have gotten use to using Code Warrior, which is fine. I certainly can’t knock Code Warrior. I still feel the ThemeMaker program I’ve been working on has some advantages, especially for anyone who feels intimidated by Code Warrior.

Currently it should work for:
High Density Palm OS 5 (16 bit)
High Res Sony 16 bit
High Res Sony 8 bit
High Res Sony 4 bit
Standard Res 16 bit

What it doesn’t do:
Theme Preview

I understand that it’s a nice feature, but it’s difficult to implement because there are so many icons (about 300+ per color depth). I won’t say I’ve completely ruled out the possibility, but it would be a major task. Comments?

What it does do:

1) Most bitmaps are named and categorized. No cut and paste or searching for “Tbmp5462”. Not a big deal, but should save some time.

2) Color picker for setting the default UI colors. No way to do this in Code Warrior that I know of.

3) Fields for entering theme comment, default back image, and icon set. (This can be done in Code Warrior (Constructor) in the strings section.) These are saved and loaded with each project. (See next)

4) Projects. The program can create directories and fill them with the default icons. Projects also have their own UI color table, theme comments, etc. You can also change the default icons that the program uses to create new projects.

5)Compression. I’m happy to say that compression for the ThemeMaker is as good as Code Warrior. (Often the files are even a little smaller because Code Warrior adds some things that aren’t needed for theme files.) This is because I’ve written my own compression routines. The program tries all the compression methods, and then keeps the smallest. And yes, this includes Packbits compression for all color depths including 16 bit.

So, if anyone has some time and would like to play with this thing, give me a shout.

Here’s a couple of screen shots:



02-01-2003, 01:24 PM
I'm ready to test... If you have a link for downloading it ! ;)

02-01-2003, 03:02 PM
Yeh i am ready to give it a go !

mail me ! (david.cooney@blueyonder.co.uk)

02-01-2003, 03:37 PM
I'm ok for testing the alpha realese ;)


02-01-2003, 05:27 PM
Ditto. Please post a link for downloading.

02-01-2003, 05:33 PM

Go here:


Go to the bottom left side of the page and click on:


02-01-2003, 06:51 PM
I have a problem. (I don't know if I must say that or by mail here)

when I load a bmp in photoshop and that I make "save" afterwards in the skin the bmp is shifted.


02-01-2003, 06:58 PM
ok I resolve my problem (I must select 24bit for the bmp)

02-01-2003, 07:30 PM
It's fine to post any issues here.

I assume that it loaded ok before you saved the bitmap.

It looks like the bitmap you were working on was the "TitleBarBackground.bmp"

If you don't mind trying a test, open the rcp file with notepad. It Looks like you were doing the Palm OS5 theme, so it would be in the Bitmaps folder: ZLauncherThemeTemplate_Hi_64K.rcp

Then change the "NOCOMPRESS" option to COMPRESS, like this

BITMAP "Bitmaps/HR64K/Images/Panels/TitleBarBackground.bmp" BPP 16

This will cause PilRc to do the compression, and the ThemeMaker will not try to compress it. (For more info on changes and additions to the rcp format, see the "How it Works.doc" in the install directory.

It might also help if you send me the bitmap that you modified.

I'll do some more checking in the morning.

By the way, I can't seem to get ZLauncher to work in the Palm Simulator. It crashes when I tried it on two different machines.

02-01-2003, 07:31 PM
Oops. I'm too slow :)

02-02-2003, 01:58 PM
one problem, when I put a color in "tab back" is not the same color on the simulator.

02-02-2003, 10:21 PM
The colors that you assign don't show up untill you go into "Color Setup" and click on "Default".

It seems like it should automatically load them when you select a theme, but it doesn't.

Did you try that?

02-02-2003, 10:32 PM
Forgot to log in!

02-04-2003, 01:53 PM
the link for downlooad doesn't work anbymore.
Any clue why?

02-04-2003, 02:24 PM
The "HappyPalm.com" servers crashed last night (which LaunchPlug.com is also a part of), so it seems that anything added to sites there just before the crash were not in the most recent backup. So, anything added just yesterday probably isn't there anymore... I had to re-upload a page that I had updated yesterday.

If those are the same servers that festus440 used to store his files yesterday, they probably were lost in the same crash. Hopefully he will be able to get them uploaded again soon.


02-04-2003, 05:58 PM
Im very thankful someone finnaly made a skin maker but where are the intructions for this? Ive looked at the docs but cant seem to find anoy intructions on how to use this? Help would be kindly appreciated!


02-04-2003, 10:28 PM
The program is still an "alpha" version. Two of the skins still don't work (low res 8 bit and 4 bit), plus there are some "loose ends" that I have to clean up.

The program will have complete instructions when it's finished.

Here are some basic instructions. Feel free to email me or post a question here:

1) To start, it's best to use the "Default" images folder.
2) Modify the bitmaps for the type of skin you want to make. The "default" bitmaps are below the folder called "Bitmaps” just under the program folder. The bitmaps are arranged into groups of folders for each color depth (HR64K for high res 16 bit, SonyHR256 for high res 8 bit, etc.), plus the bitmaps themselves are in folders according to type. (i.e. panels, FunctionButtons, etc.) Most of the bitmaps have meaningful names.
3) The transparent color being used is usually obvious in the original bitmaps, but you can also open the ".rcp" file for that theme (with notepad) and look up the transparent value for the bitmaps you're editing. All of the rcp files are in the "Bitmaps" folder. For example, the high res 16 bit rcp file is called “ZLauncherThemeTemplate_SonyHR_64K.rcp”. Here is what one of the entries would look like:

BITMAP "Bitmaps/HR64K/Images/Tab/TabTitleLeft.bmp" BPP 16

The transparent color for 16 bit images is an RGB (Red, Green, Blue) value so in this case it’s Red 255, Green 0, Blue 255. (I’m actually colorblind so I don’t know what color that is but it looks sort of light blue to me. Maybe someone can let me know what it really is : ) For 8 and 4 bit images it’s an index number. For more info on index numbers, look at the instructions for one of my other programs, such as the NR SkinMaker, or the ML tutorial:


In the final program I will likely change all of the bitmaps so that they all use the same transparent color or index.

4) Once you are ready to generate a theme, select the type from the “Theme type/ Iconset” drop down list. Below this list, you can enter the Palm filename (the name that appears on your PDA) and the Windows filename. You can also enter a theme comment. This shows up in the “About” menu inside ZLauncher. (It’s currently holds up to 4000 characters, so you put quite a bit in there.) You can also specify a default iconset and background image.
5) Clicking on “Set default UI colors” allows you to set the colors used for text, tab background, etc. This color table is saved for both the “Default” and project file locations, and is reloaded when you run the program or change the location where your bitmaps are stored. The default colors are also built into the program so you can reset them, or you can reload the current saved color table. Note: Currently these don’t appear in ZLauncher until you click “Default” in the color setup menu.

5) You can also specify where the theme file will be saved. The default is in the “New_Themes” folder below where the program was installed.

6) Clicking on “Make theme file” starts the process of making the file. Probably more detail than anyone is interested in, but here’s what happens:
a) The program writes a small batch file called “mk.bat” that runs PilRc and converts all of the bitmaps into temporary binary files in a “temp” folder.
b) The program then reads the rcp file for the skin being generated, and compresses each bitmap with Scanlines, RLE, and Packbits compression. (except RLE doesn’t work for 16 bit.) The file sizes of all of these are compared to the uncompressed file and the program keeps the smallest.
c) At the same time, a new temporary rcp file is being written in the temp folder called “bin.rcp”.
d) Another batch file is then written in the temp folder and PilRc is called again to compile the compressed bitmaps into the final theme file.

6) NOTE: The default “Bitmaps” folder is not created until you run the program the first time. (This was done to reduce the size of the setup program.)
7) The program will warn you if there are missing (or mis-named bitmaps), but other errors are possible. That’s the purpose of the “View Pilrc output” button. If a theme file fails to appear in the designated folder, clicking this button will display the output of the first pass of PilRc. If there was an error, there will usually be a message that indicates what the problem was. It is also possible to view the output of the second pass of PilRc. Open the rcp file for the theme you are generating and add /*VIEWCOMPILE*/ , to the beginning of the file. This will tell the program to open a command window so you can view the final compile, but an error here is unlikely and I added this option mostly for debugging. If you are planning on making any modifications to any of the rcp files, you should read the “How It Works.doc” first, located in the installation directory.
8) There is another complete set of bitmaps below the “data” folder (called Backup_Images ). These are used to create the “Default” bitmap folders when the program is first run, and to create “Project” folders. You can modify these if you want to change the default bitmaps. (There is also an option to “reset” the default images, which copies the backup images to the “Bitmaps” folder again.)

02-06-2003, 10:53 PM
I would like to try this also.

02-09-2003, 03:24 PM
Festus440 I'd link to try this also please email (andy@everyknee.com) me.

02-09-2003, 04:14 PM
You can still download the program at:


Go to the bottom left hand side of the page and click on "ZLTMA2"

The beta version of the program should be ready in a couple of days. The beta version will have complete instructions and all of the theme files will work.

I'm not aware of any problems with the alpha version, however only one person appears to have actually used it. (Thanks honolulu!)

Has anyone besides honolulu tried it?

02-09-2003, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by Festus440
You can still download the program at:


Go to the bottom left hand side of the page and click on "ZLTMA2"

The beta version of the program should be ready in a couple of days. The beta version will have complete instructions and all of the theme files will work.

I'm not aware of any problems with the alpha version, however only one person appears to have actually used it. (Thanks honolulu!)

Has anyone besides honolulu tried it?

I have no experience with this stuff, but might give it a go. I'm sure it will be a while though. Thanks for doing all these programs festus:) I love customization;)

02-13-2003, 07:34 AM
is this program still in beta testing or is it now a final product?

02-13-2003, 08:34 AM
It was actually "alpha".

The beta version is available (not obviously) on my site now this morning.


Go to the bottom left side of the page.

Changes are:

Now has full instructions
Now works for all themes and the icon set.
Now should work on Win 98 (alpha would crash and burn!).
Some other very minor bug fixes.

Unless someone reports problems, I can only think of minor changes for the final version. (Such as names for the icon bitmaps.)

02-13-2003, 04:00 PM
so far so good. i'm constructing a theme atm and hope to have it done by the end of the weekend.

02-13-2003, 05:20 PM
Thanks for the info Jark. We look forward to seeing your new design!

02-13-2003, 05:41 PM
I hope to try this out also... I just WANT to ultra-customize this clie...

02-14-2003, 07:29 AM
Just a question: Did you go the hard way as I did when making themes for SilverScreen: Splitting every PDB file just before and after a TBMP occurs. Then editing the RAW files and in the end just copying everything back into one file.


Did you implement a true PDB builder?

02-14-2003, 07:33 AM
Oh you used Pilrc for actual building. Clever.

02-14-2003, 08:36 AM
Well, maybe lazy is more accurate!

I didn’t want to take the time to write routines to do the palette adjustments. (It was a big enough job writing all the compression routines!)
Since I was already using PilRc for that, I figured it would be easier to just use it again for the final build.

But thanks for the compliment!

02-14-2003, 08:51 AM
I forgot to ask, do you have Silver Screen program that people can download?

03-08-2003, 04:33 AM
thx Festus440 for your greats skin maker !!!!