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 Post subject: Xtreme 8.11 - A preview of things to come!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:03 pm 
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All going well, Winstep Xtreme 8.11 will be released within the next week or so.

If you are into Windows customization (and if you weren't, chances are you wouldn't be reading this) then you've probably already seen all those Win7 demo videos from PDC 2008. One of the most interesting concepts are the changes made to the Windows taskbar.

Well, I'm proud to say that Winstep Xtreme will probably be the first application to bring some of those changes to the XP and Windows Vista world:

Image
(click for a larger view)

Previous Winstep Xtreme versions already allow you to have a taskbar with large 32x32 task icons and no labels, as featured on the Win7 new taskbar videos, but Xtreme 8.11 will add to that some of the taskbar functionality that would otherwise only be available upon the release of Win7.

As you can see in the above screenshot, part of this functionality is single or grouped window thumbnails that you can interact with (you can click the larger thumbnail to bring the window forward instead of the smaller task button, for instance) and the incredibly useful 'window peek' feature, where mousing over one of the windows thumbnails temporarily hides all other windows on your desktop.

The good news is that you won't have to wait for Windows Seven to bring this functionality to you: Winstep Xtreme 8.11 will allow you to enjoy these new taskbar features on both Windows XP and Vista!

This said, credit where credit is due: Kudos to Microsoft usability labs for coming up with these evolutionary (and perhaps long due) changes to the Windows taskbar.

Winstep Xtreme 8.11 will also feature other functionality enhancements, some of the most important highlighted below:


* Shelves in the Shelf (tabbed dock) can now be re-organized at will simply by clicking on the title tab and dragging.

* The NeXuS control icon can now be optionally hidden - a new entry has been added to the context menu of each and every dock item which opens a sub-menu from where you can do everything you previously could only do via the dock's control icon.

* A new option, also available in the right click context menu for every dock entry, coupled with support for 'empty' docks and sub-docks, makes creating and handling new sub-docks much, much, easier and intuitive than it currently is.

* It is no longer necessary to press SHIFT to re-arrange tasks in the taskbar, just left click and drag (unless you read the User Guide, I bet you didn't even know the NextSTART startbar provided this ability).

* More options for controlling the NextSTART Taskbar and Systray via right click context menus, therefore not forcing you to open Preferences.


Unfortunately, what will perhaps become two of the most important changes to Winstep Xtreme in the last few years, will not yet be available in the upcoming 8.11 release: I'm talking about a completely redesigned UI (User Interface) and multi-language support.

The current Winstep Xtreme UI (other than the one in the new Start Menu Organizer) was based on Steve Job's NeXTSTEP OS. This seemed like a good idea back in 1999 when Winstep was born, as the NeXT UI was far ahead of its time and one the most advanced and beautiful UIs ever created.

NeXT was so important that it spawned many clones such as LiteStep, AfterStep, WindowMaker in the Linux world, etc... - even years after its demise! In fact, many modern Linux GUIs still pay tribute to the NeXT interface - an influence that can also still be felt today in the Windows world in the form of docks and shelves (tabbed docks).

Unfortunately now, 10 years later, in an age of flashy 'glass' effects and per-pixel alpha windows, the NeXT style look and feel simply makes the Winstep Xtreme UI look old and ugly by comparison.

Worse, Winstep Xtreme is so powerful that hundreds of settings were piled together over the years to control all those features. The end result is that Xtreme is intuitive and easy to use - but only until you open Preferences and see panel after panel of what looks like 747 cockpits filled with instruments. Winstep Xtreme's UI complexity is a tribute to how powerful it is, but the current UI is, without a doubt, a daunting vision for new users.

And this is why I've been working very hard to solve both of these problems. Mind you, it is a daunting task - it's not easy to reorganize a multitude of settings pannels while keeping the whole thing clean, modern and attractive, which is why the new UI will not be part of the upcoming 8.11 release - it's still work in progress.

The target was to make a modern and attractive UI with lots of white space, so users were not overwhelmed by options and controls. Well, I'm proud to introduce what will soon become the new Winstep Xtreme User Interface:

Image

Image

As you can see in the third and fourth screenshots, the banner at the top of the Preferences window can also be quickly colorized via three RGB sliders (which I may turn into HSL, haven't decided yet) :

Image

Image

The second and most important change, and something which unfortunately cannot be started until work on the new UI has been completed, is adding multi-language support to Winstep Xtreme. Alas, the technology behind it has already been put at work on the new Winstep Start Menu Organizer component.

###

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little preview of what is to come! If you have any questions, opinions or suggestions, please feel free to share! :D

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Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power!
http://www.winstep.net - Winstep Software Technologies


Last edited by winstep on Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:56 pm 
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All I can possibly say about the new funtions is WOW!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:56 pm 
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That last screenshot is a bit messy because it shows three different panels on top of each other.

The background panel is Preferences, the second panel is the Icon Customization List panel and the third and top panel is the panel from where you can add/edit each entry displayed in the second panel.

In the old UI, you had an extremelly confusing 'Task Customization' dialog (WorkShelf Preferences -> NeXuS Common Settings -> Tasks Customization). In the new UI, that single dialog has been replaced by three individual dialogs, one for excluding windows from appearing in the tasklist, another for customizing tasklist icons and another for managing the snapshot exclusion list.

Like this:

Image

Image

Image

The last 'Edit' panel also displays a list of currently running tasks, since it is assumed that whenever you decide to customize an icon, exclude a task
or prevent a window from having its thumbnail taken, that task will be currently running. Instead of having to remember and type a window caption or an executable name like before, all the user has to do is select an entry from the list of running tasks.

The re-organization is therefore not just about new graphics and shuffling options and settings around, but also about adding little usability 'touches' like this.

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Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power!
http://www.winstep.net - Winstep Software Technologies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:27 pm 
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WinStep 11 is really good but these skins are not good :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:53 pm 
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Hi Kyosan!

What skins are you referring to?

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Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power!
http://www.winstep.net - Winstep Software Technologies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:02 am 
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So, how close are we to seeing this new UI? It looks awesome......


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:20 am 
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Sometime within the next week, a public beta of the freeware version of NeXuS, featuring the new UI and multi-language support, will be released.

Winstep Xtreme 9.5 will also be released around the same time - still with the old UI, but featuring desktop module scaling and some cool new effects, like Glass Blur for semi-transparent backgrounds under Vista/Win7, ability to Colorize existing themes, etc...

The whole Winstep Xtreme suite will feature the new UI and multi-language support around mid-June.

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Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power!
http://www.winstep.net - Winstep Software Technologies


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