>Operating System Colors and CSS

>One of the most powerful and in some ways controversial items in e4 is the ability to use CSS for styling SWT/XWT components. Many demonstrations have shown the ability to apply custom theming to the items, but nothing has shown native integration.

I ran across an interesting blog post the other day by Craig Butler, How to Use Operating System Styles in CSS. If your web browser supports CSS2.1 you will see in the examples columns your operating system defaults. Examples taken from his blog, see his full blog for details on how to implement these in CSS.

The following font values are available. The ‘Example’ column shows the current font set by your OS.

Property Description Example
caption Controls font (buttons, drop-downs, etc.) ABC abc 123
icon Icon label font ABC abc 123
menu Menu font ABC abc 123
message-box Dialog box font ABC abc 123
small-caption Small control labels ABC abc 123
status-bar Status bar font ABC abc 123

Operating System Colors:

Property Description Example
ActiveBorder Active window border  
ActiveCaption Active window caption  
AppWorkspace Background color of multiple document interface  
Background Desktop background  
ButtonFace Face color for 3D display elements  
ButtonHighlight Dark shadow for 3D display elements (facing away from light)  
ButtonShadow Shadow color for 3D display elements  
ButtonText Text on push buttons  
CaptionText Text in caption, size box, and scrollbar arrow box  
GrayText Grayed (disabled) text (#000 if not supported by OS)  
Highlight Item(s) selected in a control  
HighlightText Text of item(s) selected in a control  
InactiveBorder Inactive window border  
InactiveCaption Inactive window caption  
InactiveCaptionText Color of text in an inactive caption  
InfoBackground Background color for tooltip controls  
InfoText Text color for tooltip controls  
Menu Menu background  
MenuText Text in menus  
Scrollbar Scroll bar gray area  
ThreeDDarkShadow Dark shadow for 3D display elements  
ThreeDFace Face color for 3D display elements  
ThreeDHighlight Highlight color for 3D display elements  
ThreeDLightShadow Light color for 3D display elements (facing the light)  
ThreeDShadow Dark shadow for 3D display elements  
Window Window background  
WindowFrame Window frame  
WindowText Text in windows  
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5 Responses to >Operating System Colors and CSS

  1. >surprisingly in CSS 3 draft, system colors are depreciated.

  2. David Carver says:

    >Guess now is the time to comment on the CSS 3 draft, since that is what draft specifications are released. I think it is critical that the CSS styling by default keeps the system colors, and then allows the plugin developer to override with their own CSS where necessary.

  3. >I think the issue over whether to use system colors (and fonts) is controversial, but that's not to say that e4 CSS won't provide access to them. For example, see bug #284488. Ideally the CSS support in e4 should allow you to do everything you used to, and more. While my personal belief is that with more web based applications, our collective design goals are moving away from platform L&F. However, as a framework, we shouldn't dictate that.

  4. >Correction to previous comment, bug is #278498.To add…I thought your post provided an interested direction, which is SWT interpretation of (semi) standard CSS color names. Bug #278498 takes a different approach, wherein we could use SWT color names (like SWT.COLOR_LIST_FOREGROUND) in CSS. The advantage to the CSS 2.1 approach you mentioned is you could use the exact same CSS in desktop and web, a CSS 2.1 edito might provide correct value code completion, etc. The advantages to the SWT named color approach though are that it's clear to the developer exactly what they're getting, and there's no semantic mapping from CSS names to SWT names. Both are interesting approaches, but I tend to favor the latter.

  5. David Carver says:

    >@Kevin: The point of CSS though is to separate the look and feel from the underlying implementation. SWT may be used to choose the colors, but there needs to be the higher level abstraction from a UI designers point of view. The person doing the styling isn't necessarily going to be the developer writing the code. Too much of SWT and eclipse ties styling and code together too much currently.That is the huge advantage of using Declarative UI and styling languages, that separation of the look and feel from the underlying content.If supporting CSS, you should support what the standard provides.

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