[mythtv-users] Theme Teams

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Tue Apr 19 19:35:32 UTC 2011

Ever wanted to create or improve a theme, but just don't have the time 
to do all the work yourself?  Do you use a theme that you love, but 
that's just not finished or needs updating?

If so, I have a feeling there are many other users out there, just like 

While discussing theming in IRC, I found out that XBMC has many 
different themes, but most of them are created and maintained by 
teams--instead of a single user trying to do all the work.  Based on 
that comment and the resounding success of the translation teams who 
maintain our various translations, I think that a similar "theme team" 
approach could be quite useful for MythTV theme development and 
maintenance.  If nothing else, the fact that different users use 
different parts of MythTV (different plugins, different screens, etc.) 
means that having multiple people involved in theme creation/maintenance 
will likely help to ensure more-complete theme development--since often, 
it's challenging for a single theme author to get motivated to theme 
parts of MythTV that she doesn't use.

Therefore, I would like to extend a standing*** offer to help anyone 
interested in creating or joining a theme team to get started****.

If you're a themer with a theme who wants help finishing or maintaining 
the theme (or even just setting up a publicly-accessible repo), please 
let us know.

If you're a user who wants to help with an existing theme(s), please let 
us know.

If you'd like to create a new theme, please send some mock-ups or 
initial design ideas (and remember that people will likely be most 
interested if you can show them what they're signing up for--even if 
just through static mock-up images).

(And, if things don't work out as well as I hope, you can always back 
out, later--no binding commitments.)

In short, my goal is to help match up users who want to help with theme 
development--even one-off fixes--with the theme authors and maintainers, 
as well as help theme authors to find the support they need and, if 
desired, people to help enhance and maintain their themes.  It seems 
that in the past, theming has been a huge burden for the themer--both 
during development, and in maintenance of the theme.  I'm hoping to help 
find ways to reduce this burden and encourage new theme development.  
And, I'd like to encourage a team to take on the task of creating and 
maintaining a new default and default-wide theme for MythTV, designed 
from the ground up to use (and showcase) MythUI.

Details for interested parties are below.


*** Offer stands as long as I'm around and involved with MythTV, or 
within reason, as the case may be.  Sorry, but I might be busy in 2021. :)

**** While I'm not an artist and I don't have experience creating 
themes, I could definitely help out with other parts of the effort, 
including choosing and setting up a Subversion or Git repository (using, 
for example, SourceForge, Github, or Google Code), finding information 
and resources (including people smarter than I), and interfacing with 
MythTV developers.  And, I like to learn, so I may actually be able to 
hack my way through learning some of the MythUI theming stuff.  In 
addition, I plan to try to at least start some wiki pages with some 
theming tips and some sort of "getting started" information, as well as 
one or more pages that list theme teams and contact information.  
Additionally, I'd like to determine the current disposition of the 
existing themes--and find out which ones are "up for adoption" or have 
authors who would like help.

Additional details for those interested in theme teams:

Team makeup and policies would be left up to the individual teams.  
However, I would strongly recommend each team has at least one 
individual (preferably more) with prior MythUI theming experience or, 
even better, with a desire and willingness to learn MythUI theming 
in-depth.  Also, teams should have (and, ideally, communicate to one 
another) a general style/design to be followed throughout the theme, and 
have a means of resolving disputes (whether through a simple vote among 
team members or by designating an "artistic lead" with final authority 
or some other approach, as decided by the team).

In addition, one thing I, personally, would like to see is the creation 
of a team to create and maintain a new "default" and "default-wide" 
theme for MythTV--designed from the ground up to use MythUI and 100% 
complete.  This would require the creation of both a square (4:3) and 
wide-screen (16:9) theme that share the same look and feel (same basic 
widgets, general layout, style, etc.).  Ideally, these themes would 
become the only UI themes distributed with MythTV (in the mythtv/themes 
directory of the mythtv source package) and all other UI themes (Terra 
and MythCenter) would be moved to the myththemes repository or external 
repositories, and users wanting themes other than default* would 
download those themes with the Theme Chooser.  To become the default 
themes, these themes would also need to be rather "uncontroversial" (in 
all aspects from font choice and size to artistic design to information 
displayed/not displayed) and simple to understand.  These would not be 
the right themes to try new or unexpected or edgy designs.  The themes 
should be designed from the ground up to use the MythUI theming engine 
(versus just retrofitting old, legacy themes).  They would also need to 
be redistributable as part of a GPL2'ed application.  IMHO, these 
criteria make the default* themes perfect candidates for development 
under the "theme teams" process--they're likely to be too boring to keep 
the focused interest of a single themer, but they're important (as they 
will be seen by anyone just installing MythTV--at least until the user 
chooses a different theme in the Theme Chooser), will need several 
people looking out for them/balancing decisions to please a wide range 
of users, will need to be done twice (once for 4:3 and once for 16:9), 
and will need long-term maintenance.

If you're interested in creating a new default theme, especially, please 
let me know before getting started.  It's important that everyone 
interested in creating the default theme work together--so we don't have 
a bunch of teams independently working toward the same goal, with 
redundant efforts, and end up with different themes--where only one can 
be the default.

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