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MacBytes
Nov 1, 2004, 10:41 AM
Category: Mac OS X
Link: Xcode 2.0 reveals \"unified toolbar\" option (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20041101114103)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

nagromme
Nov 1, 2004, 12:01 PM
Thank you. Exactly what I've been saying ever since AppleInsider started alarming high-strung rumor fans with misleading cries of "now a THIRD interface theme alongside white and metal!" They even invented the name "platinum" for this nonexistent third theme, even though their own pictures--and shots of Preferences visible at Apple.com for months--showed it to be no more than an evolution of the white theme--which has evolved in every OS X version so far, so why shouldn't it be tweaked a little further?

In this case, all they've done is removed the line between the toolbar and the title bar--which is NOT some "blend" of white and metal, it's the SAME light gray gradient as Panther. Looks clean and simple if you ask me. Nothing to get upset over :)

"The "smooth platinum" look is not yet another interface theme like Aqua or Brushed Metal, but instead a new option for Aqua windows through the new version of Interface Builder, part of Apple's Developer Tools.

A new interface option for main windows in Interface Builder allows the developer an option to use a "unified toolbar" look, which, when selected, removes the divider line between the title bar of a window and its toolbar and replaces it with the gradiated gray background instead. This is what accomplishes the look of the smooth toolbar look of Mail and other new applications."

Mainyehc
Nov 1, 2004, 02:51 PM
This is just a normal evolution of Aqua, as it has already been said. Now, here's what I think about this:

Apple should get rid of brushed metal, and fast . And here's why:

http://daringfireball.net/2004/10/brushedmetal
http://daringfireball.net/2004/10/themes
http://daringfireball.net/2004/10/does_brushed_metal_matter

These are probably the best written articles on this subject, IMHO. It's not just a matter of personal preference; it's well worth reading.


Personally, I hate brushed metall across the interface, in multiple applications. I don't like the look and functionality of it, period. That's why I'm using Unsanity's Metallifizer, to make my interface as consistent as Windows'. You can flame me now, after all that's what we Mac fans do when someone praises something about Windows... :D


Honestly, I've used Windows since version 3.10, and I can assure you that its inconsistencies were minor when compared with these... "themes". Ok, I don't use XPee, and if I did, it would be with the "classic" appearence. It may be true that XPee has introduced some degree of inconsistency, apart from the usual IE/Office/ vs. Windows inconsistencies. However, for me, even though it's the preetiest thing on the planet, Mac OS X seems like... [I]patchwork ! Of course, things may change with Longhorn, making Windows look and feel even worse. If so, we shouln't be too concerned ;)


Still, I think that brushed metal fits the iLife suite (and Quicktime, for which it was originally developed) preety fine, and it would be dangerous for Apple to give iTunes a different appearence. These days, iTunes is even more of a flagship product than OS X!! Apple screwed up the first time when they gave away the brushed metal theme for developers to use. That theme lost all its exclusivity... And they screwed up the second time when they applied it to Safari and the Finder. Big mistake! I've used those two apps in their both forms, and by far, the classic Aqua appearence is much more usable and easy on the eyes. Besides, I don't like to confuse my browser and my folders with, er... media-related applications. And then, apple screwed up yet another time, with *gasp* Garageband! :eek:


OS X's interface consistency could easily survive with these 4 themes, applied as follows:

"Pro theme" - For (duh) all their pro apps... FCP, Motion, Logic, etc. I know, I know... It's yet another theme, but after all, these are very specific applications, with very specific purposes. And anyway, other Pro apps from other developers like Adobe and Macromedia already have some unique interface elements, so... we'll just have to live with it.

"Brushed Metal Theme" - For iLife and *MEDIA* applications only! (and possibly, some other "i" apps too, like iCal. Alternatively, why not rename some of those? If they Have Mail and Calculator, why not Calendar instead of "iCal"? They will have Sync instead of iSync already... If so, then, the BM theme would not be suitable.). I don't really know if and how could they force 3rd party developers to drop this theme from their apps' interfaces. Maybe, just maybe, Apple could tolerate some exceptions; like some great apps that undobtedly fit in the "Digital Lifestyle" philosophy and/or integrate seamlessly with iLife, like if they were part of it themselves, like add-ons.

"Aqua/Aqua with extended titlebar" - For the Finder, 3rd party apps and all the other Apple apps included with Mac OS. And they should make up their minds about the titlebar and toolbar. Because things will look even worse if they have some applications with the classic titlebar, and some with the extended version. If you look closer, you'll see that this new version would fit nicely in nearly every app that has a toolbar beneath the titlebar. Then, Apple should make sure every app gets the new look.

"Widgets" - This one is self-explanatory. It's pure anarchy, each widget gets its very own theme. Luckily, we don't have to look at them all the time, thanks to the Dashboard. This variety is there to make them easily identifiable, Apple claims. I'm forced to agree with them on that one. And with CoreImage, it will be eye-candyish enough to delight those to-be switchers, and make Longhorn's graphical special FX look outdated by the time it's released (ooooooohh that ripple effect :D )


So, you see, this is like "everything in its right place and a place for each thing. Each kind of functionality should have its own look. General purpose and system apps should be clean and look similar to one another, but different enough to be distinguishable (perhaps it may be the time for Apple to include application icons in their title bars, not just the document icons - I know, I know, yet another heretical idea from a switcher :p ), digital lifestyle apps can have that industrial metal look, and everyday widgets should look colorful and "fun" to use (I can't wait to play with the calculator... It's orange!! :D )

For me, this approach makes much more sense than that of M$. They keep developing wizards and stuff, trying to force rigid workflows on people. Apple empowers people by emulating real life tools, both usable and fun, by letting them combining such apps. And Automator is just the next step in that direction... Now let's just hope that the interface helps that, too.

bennetsaysargh
Nov 1, 2004, 04:11 PM
it is an evolution of aqua, which i personally love. i think that people might be taking this a bit too far. what is the big deal? if you don't like how safari and ichat are metal, use Metallifizer. it's free. that's what i did, and have no complaints.

Mainyehc
Nov 1, 2004, 06:13 PM
it is an evolution of aqua, which i personally love. i think that people might be taking this a bit too far. what is the big deal? if you don't like how safari and ichat are metal, use Metallifizer. it's free. that's what i did, and have no complaints.

I understand it as an evolution of aqua and love it too. And I'm not the least bit worried, I will keep using metallifizer as long as Apple keeps on the same course. Now, what I think is that overall, OS X doesn't look as good and consistent as it could and should, which I regret... Let's just hope that this release kicks a**... "Redmond, we have a problem", HA HA :D

bousozoku
Nov 1, 2004, 07:22 PM
it is an evolution of aqua, which i personally love. i think that people might be taking this a bit too far. what is the big deal? if you don't like how safari and ichat are metal, use Metallifizer. it's free. that's what i did, and have no complaints.

The trouble is that QuickTime Player and iTunes still have the look, even if it's not quite the same. You can't change it because they're holding on to their Mac OS 9 legacy by using resource files instead of .Nib files.

It would be nice to have a single, unified interface but I'll live with what Apple puts in the O.S. :)

nagromme
Nov 1, 2004, 07:28 PM
My take on themes--and Apple DOES seem to be moving towards this:

1. White (unified toolbar too!) for document-centric apps. These are the "traditional" apps which you use by Opening files and saving them with chosen names. Apps that use the File menu for basic, vital purposes. Apps that are productivity "workspaces."

2. Metal for non-document-centric apps. These are "compact" apps--at least on the surface--and either don't save files at all, or store their data in fixed/"library" locations--like iTunes, iPhoto, iCal, Calculator, etc.

THAT distinction makes the visual variety of two themes useful--not just nice-looking. (I do LIKE both themes, personally.)

Yes, some apps--like QT Pro and Mail--are gray areas. They'd make sense either way.

(As for #3, the pro apps.... I guess Apple knows what it's doing in not removing that when pro users expect it. But I personally just think it's weird and wouldn't mind seeing it go.)