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Object Desktop Tips- by Alexander Antoniades


Object Desktop Screen Shot Contest Tricks and Strategies

Our Second Annual Object Desktop Screen Shot Contest brought out many of the subtler aspects of using Object Desktop and I thought I'd take a minute this month to point out what those are since many people are curious.

Noel Ang's Desktop
This Desktop was doubtlessly chosen for its simplicity and style. While the use of Object Desktop in this Desktop is minimal (fitting into the overall style of the Desktop) it is nonetheless significant. The one detail that stands out, from an Object Desktop perspective, is the use of the minimalist Control Center in the lower left hand side of the Desktop. This use of the Control Center is interesting since most users tend to make Control Centers long strips along the sides of the Desktop.

Andrea Resmini's Desktop
This Desktop has one special area that we received a lot of comments about. The four boxes containing program objects along the left hand side are actually drawn on to the background of the Desktop. While this isn't Object Desktop related it does have a nice feeling. Andrea also uses two freestanding Control Centers (each for different functions) that give the Desktop a nice look and feel.

Anders Gjerlov's Desktop
Anders' Desktop uses a special technique that a few of the other popular Desktops used in the contest with great effectiveness. The special technique involves the background of the Control Center and how it blends into the Desktop, giving the illusion that the Control Center has a transparent background. This is done by creating a special cut out bitmap from the actual Desktop bitmap, and sizing it so that it exactly syncs up with the main Desktop image. While this approach may be time consuming, the results speak for themselves.

Common Themes

While these Desktops were the winners of the contest they were by no means the only outstanding Desktops submitted. Many of these Desktops used similar methods to be not only functional, but nice to look at. Some of these techniques included:

Making multiple versions of different components
Many Desktops used multiple copies of Control Center in particular to make uniquely different components for different purposes. The ability to do this springs from Object Desktop's use of OS/2's underlying functionality. To create another copy of either Control Center or Tab LaunchPad all you need to do is right click on either component and select "Create another".

Making Control Center look radically different
Another trend which involved Control Center was using all its functionality to make it appear entirely different from its usual appearance. One example was to make Control Center appear the same as the Windows 95 Start bar. The user did this by making a folder called "Start" and then making it extensible by dragging it onto the browser section of Control Center.

Changing fonts and colors
Lastly another area that people sometimes over look is the ability to drag fonts and colors onto Object Desktop's special controls. This can totally change the appearance of some components, sometimes with striking results. While there weren't that many examples of that this year, next years winner just might be using this approach!


Alexander Antoniades is the former Associate Editor of OS/2 Magazine and the current Vice President of Marketing at Stardock Systems.

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