About :skinning the title bar - Re: Fwd: Mozilla Add-ons: Walnut for Thunderbird 2.0.8 Fully Reviewed

Axel axel.grude at googlemail.com
Wed Sep 26 16:56:37 UTC 2012

Hi Alfred,

if it is okay with you _/I am cc-ing the Thunderbird planning list/_, as this is an 
interesting edge case in innovation, which might give me some idea on how to get 
THunderbird (and Firefox) to behave more in line with other applications in Windows 
XP. As you know I am normally not using the Luna style of Windows XP but instead I am 
using Stardock's Windowblinds engine, which paints over all widgets and title bars / 
window frames, to add such niceties as

  * complete user defined styles (Mac OS under windows or linux styles are no problem)
  * per pixel coloring
  * transparency
  * shadows
  * the largest collection of user style for any operating system

What I would like to point out to the tb-planning list is that the latest changes in 
Thunderbird 17 (and the following versions) which are also in line with the changes 
around Australis for Firefox (moving up the menu to overlap into the caption bar) 
present some problems for Software that takes over skinning the windows (especially 
the title bar).

Your solution of underpinning the menu with a bright area works lovely for all stock 
color flavors of XP Luna (blue, silver and olive) so you have solved that one problem, 
with your latest update of :

> Could you try if this works?
> If it works ok, I can then also update the Little/MicroBird themes in the same way.
Yes, this is perfect on Windows XP (TB17):

It also still looks /spiffing gorgeous /on my Windowblinds with Thunderbird /*16 
*/(remember that Windowblinds painst over the title-bar):

Of course, with */Thunderbird 17/*, I will eventually have the following problem on my 
production windows system:

Stock theme:

Nautipolis 2.0.8:

Here, with Menu bar visible, the menu is completely obscured by the title bar ( I know 
this can be viewed as a bug by Windowblinds, but on the other hand it makes my Windows 
experience so much more cohesive)

Interestingly, when I task switch away and then back to THunderbird I am getting this 
effect (which is quite a good compromise as it leaves the skinning of the caption bar 
background intact, but replaces the windows max / minimize / restore widgets):

... which is probably closer to the effect that you would have on Windows XP with Luna 
(Vanilla). The bige question is, is there anything that we can do (maybe with a CSS 
rule?) to "force the caption bar widgets into the foreground"? Or failing this, is 
there something I can do  (maybe by adding a box overlay) to push the menu down to its 
original position again so that Thunderbird behaves more in line with all my other XP 
applications? This would be an interesting question...

Ideally I would like to come up with an additional extension that could

  * hide the minimize / maximize / close widgets for Firefox / Thunderbird, so the
    user can choose to keep the ones painted by the OS / skinning engine
  * either  - move down the menu so it is in its original position
    or - force the menu items "into the foreground" (which is probably the more
    difficult solution as some of the Z-Order from skinning engines might be out of
    our control)

One thing I would like the Thunderbird crew to  think about is that "painting into the 
titlebar" is not necessarily something we should take for granted, at least in the 
standard paradigm, any painting should be done in the client area. So IMHO skinning 
the whole application should ideally be configurable / optional from within the xul 
applications, ideally with a global about:config switch.


> Axel wrote:
>> HI Alfred,
>>> Thanks for the quick reviews!
>>> Could you send me a screenshot of the problem?
>>> I am not able to reproduce it in Windows 7 using the Windows Classic theme (which 
>>> should have the same effect).

*Axel Grude* [T]
Software Developer
Thunderbird Add-ons Developer (QuickFolders, quickFilters, QuickPasswords, Zombie 
Keys, SmartTemplate4)
AMO Editor
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