UPDATE: MarvelClient customers benefit from the integrated skinning feature, so you don’t need any further files. Our consultants will contact you and help you with the skinning settings.

Release of MarvelClient Skinning Edition 2.0

We are proud to herewith finally bring panagenda MarvelClient Skinning Edition 2.0 (also referred to as GYWAM 2.0 – Give Your Workspace A Makeover 2.0) to life – for FREE.

Note the system requirements: IBM Lotus Notes 6.x, 7.x, or 8.x (as of today; Notes 5 on request), any language, and setup / install type supported by IBM; Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, or Citrix / WTS.

A note especially – but not necessarily limited – to Notes 8 users: Textured Workspace must be enabled (which in Notes 8 it is not by default, hence the pastel look) –> User Preferences –> Check “Textured Workspace”; for bookmark maniacs, skinning also works with the virtual workspace (display bookmark folder as workspace).
Background image kindly provided by Ed Brill.
Portfolio icon from Jake Howlett’ blog.

In case you are also interested in further Lotus Notes client management features:
The skinning feature is naturally also included in panagenda MarvelClient Enterprise Edition, a solution for central(ized) Lotus Notes Client Management.

MarvelClient is the only Lotus Notes client management solution that works with the original Lotus Notes login dialog and applies changes immediately during client startup in as little as just a few hundred ms – no need for end-users to restart their client again to apply changes that were downloaded just now, and a solution that is virtually unnoticeable for end users.

MarvelClient Enterprise Edition allows to centrally manage (abstract):

  • Workspace pages (add, move, clear, delete, color, (re)name, …)
  • Desktop Icons & Icon stacks (add, position, remove, (mass)change, …)
  • Replicator page entries (add, position, set details, remove, (mass)change, …
  • Replicas and local databases (add, (smart) remove, enforce, …)
  • Bookmark folders and Bookmarks (including formula bookmarks; add, remove, position, (mass)change, …)
  • Dedicated ECL Management (way beyond ECL Refresh)
  • Masschanges for any size of consolidation, recertification, and migration project – up to 1,500 changes per second make sure that end users that come back from e.g. a four week holiday don’t have to go on holiday again waiting for a many changes to be processed, that may have piled up during their absence in larger projects.
  • Realtime control over which servers users (and their client 😀) may/shall connect to
  • Realtime control over which databases may be created or deleted by end users
  • and more.

Creating your own desktop / virtual workspace skin for Lotus Notes

As promised, here are the instructions on how to create your own Lotus Notes skin for (the free, just now released in the previous post) MarvelClient Skinning Edition.

The image files supplied are defined as follows:

  • def_background.bmp: the background image
  • def_icon_down.bmp: the image for selected icon tiles
  • def_icon_up.bmp: the image for normal / non-selected icon tiles
  • def_sitemap_down.bmp: the image for selected portfolio databases (e.g. bookmark.nsf)
  • def_sitemap_up.bmp: the image for normal / non-selected portfolio databases
  • def_twistie_old.bmp: a placeholder image which is replaced with def_twistie_new at runtime – the def_twistie_old.bmp should not be changed regarding colors/contents/format, but only resized according to the exact size of def_twistie_new.bmp
  • the size determines the “clickable” area of the final twisty.
  • def_twistie_new.bmp: the image of the notes twisty / hinky-minky (=to select server for replicas)
  • def_r6_default.bmp: the replacement high-color icon image for newly created databases
  • old_r6_default.bmp: the original “default” Notes 6/7 database icon for newly created databases note: any transparency in the original icon must be replaced with the color black for MarvelClient to replace the image at runtime.
  • def_r6_mail.bmp: the replacement high-color icon image for mail databases
  • old_r6_mail.bmp: the original “default” Notes 6/7 mail database icon (note: any transparency in the original icon must be replaced with the color black for MarvelClient to replace the image at runtime).

a) you can create as many old_r6_* and def_r6_* icon pairs as wanted/needed (ok, performance may suffer it it’s several hundred or so 😀)
b) all of the above images can be 24bit or 24bit+8bit alpha (=32bit) bitmap files
c) for the background image, alpha is not supported, but 24bit only.
d) using a 16bit background image creates a (very) weird effect when navigating through notes and back to the workspace

in other words: 24bit bitmaps for the background only

The background is not optimized / resized for the current resolution of the client to be skinned – if the background is too large, the client will only render as much on screen as fits the resolution; if the background is too small, it will be tiled – whilst for photos this is a drawback, you can certainly also take advantage of this with a tiled background (e.g. Escher or a repeatable pattern – by default, the Notes client uses a pattern, too)

  • When creating a new skin, tiles can have ANY size LARGER than the default Notes tiles (a little bit smaller, too, however if it gets too small to render the database icon, title etc. into the tile, don’t expect the Notes client to not crash 😀). Note: Displaying bookmarks as (virtual) workspace does not support larger images – it’s up to you, whether you want to create a skin that works for both the classic Notes desktop and the bookmarks as workspace display or just the Notes desktop.
  • Unfortunately, at least as of “now”, the text on icon tiles is always black for non-selected tiles, blue for selected (we are looking into it) – keep this is in mind when designing the icon tile, as a black icon tile or dark background “shining trhough” will render the database title unreadable
  • The database / bookmark icon is always at the top left of an icon / bookmark tile. Period. (Applies to all other objects, such as position of unread mark display, twisty, and title, too)All icon objects (database icon, title, twistie) are moved by 4 pixels down and to the right when clicking on icon tiles. So if you design your new set, the selected tile should fit with that “4×4-pixel-shift”
  • Repeated: Make sure that def_twistie_old has the same size as def_twistie_new (to fit clickable area) and is only changed in size
  • If you don’t want to replace a particular bitmap / skin a particular object, just remove the respective file
  • Seeing the results of your changes requires a client restart (to reload the images)

Troubleshooting MarvelClient Skinning Edition

We’ve had a couple of complaints that skinning doesn’t work in 8.5.1. I was unable to reproduce this issue until Tong (thanks!) sent me his notes.ini. Looks like it’s the same old thing after all: at a certain font size Notes falls back to untextured workspace (i don’t know why this issue occured after upgrading to 8.5.1 – my guess would be that notes has changed some font settings).

Here’s how you enable textured workspace (actually there’s a policy that prevents me from doing just that):

It’s one of the preferences that take effect immediately. That’s what it should look like afterward (with skinning disabled):

Here’s the untextured workspace (left is basic, to the right the “new” workspace look in the standard/eclipse client) – this is what you’ll also get if the font size is too large:

Up to at least r7 there’s no system setting that would affect the font / font size used for the desktop icons. There’s one notes.ini setting though: Display_font_adjustment
See here: To change font settings in your NOTES.INI file

The eclipse client has a new setting:

This setting is stored in the notes.ini:

(0=Normal, 2=Large, 4=Extra Large)

This is also observed by the basic client – there’s just no UI equivalent, you’ll have to modify your notes.ini to change it.

Here’s another trap – if you increase the font size it’s working temporarely – until you restart you client.
(before and after restart):

(Notice that skinning still works for the twistie – a good indication that this problem is caused by fonts…)

So what if you like the font the way it is? Here’s what you do:

  1. rename you old skinning folder (it’s in your data directory)
  2. download this and extract the skinning folder to your data directory:
  3. restart your client

Unfortunately, it’s a different skin and I’ve just upscaled it (could have done a better job – I’m no good at GIMP), here’s what it looks like

btw: have I mentioned yet that 8.5.1 is a great release? And since this entry has been all about  UI – make sure you read Mary Beth Ravens blog to learn about all the new cool (UI related) stuff in 8.5.1.