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Listening to the users part II - pixel pushing

Posted by kirillcool on September 30, 2006 at 12:15 AM PDT

I got a very unexpected mail following my previous entry from Romain himself. It contained a very detailed list of visual problems on the new (and old) skins. He also followed up on the changes that i made during the last couple of days with yet more advice - i'm very grateful for this. Here are the shots before:

And here are the shots after (note that there are still some things to be done and this entry will be updated accordingly):

If you're like me, you wouldn't see much difference. If you're like Romain, you'd be quick to whip up the following list:

  • The gradient is less dark in the middle part of buttons, scroll thumbs etc.
  • Combo arrow button has all-round corners fitting better in straight-corner textfield border.
  • Scrollbar track borders form seamless connection with scrollbar buttons borders.
  • Scrollbar track is flat and "sunken" instead of having the same gradient as the scrollbar thumb.
  • Scrollbar buttons are flat as well + they have a gradient reverse to that of the scrollbar track.
  • Mark icons (checkbox, radio button, combo arrow, scrollbar arrow) use theme colors instead of strong black.
  • Tabbed pane has theme-based border with extra margin. The border itself is slightly-rounded and less heavy (especially on the right and the bottom borders). The visual result is much less clutter around the content pane edges and continuity of the tab and the tab component itself.
  • Tab painting does not use as much color as before to provide enhanced continuity of the tab and the tab component itself.
  • Selection animations (you'll have to run the app) are twice as fast removing the perceived sluggishness.
  • Unselected checkboxes are painted with flat gradient so as not to attract too much attention.
  • Default scrollpane border integrates seamlessly with the scrollbars (where present). The visual result is much less clutter around the viewport edges.
  • Bottom-right (or bottom-left under RTL) corner of scrollpane is painted with the background (and the watermark) of the scrollpane itself. The visual result is much less clutter around that corner.
  • Split divider grip has different appearance. Romain says that it should be styled after NetBeans but i can't see too much difference :(
  • Insets of the default list cell renderer place the labels farther away from the list left / right edges. The visual result is more balanced spacing around each item.
  • Checkbox text is better aligned with the checkbox mark, especially on unselected checkboxes.
  • (new) Unselected tabs are partially translucent, drawing less attention from the selected tab.
  • (new) Lock icon on non-editable text components is partially translucent.
  • (new) Non-editable text components have grayed-out background.
  • (new) Slightly rounded corners on text component borders.
  • (new) Brighter background for the panels (actually it was a bug that introduced discrepancy of background color of complex themes vs. the identical simple themes).
  • (new) Search icon uses theme colors (identical to checkbox, radio buttons, scroll arrows, menu arrows, combo arrows etc).

As i've already mentioned, there are still things left to do before the final drop of version 3.1 (code freeze is in two weeks) - you're welcome to leave comments. And no, i have no intention to push for inclusion of Substance into the JDK (you'll have to brush up on your French) - the two-year release cycle doesn't sit well with Substance release cycle. By the way, wasn't Mark talking about removing MIDI from JRE instead of JDK?

And once again - many thanks to Romain.

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