[mythtv-users] Theme Teams

Steven Adeff adeffs.mythtv at gmail.com
Wed Apr 20 16:54:08 UTC 2011

On Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 3:35 PM, Michael T. Dean
<mtdean at thirdcontact.com> wrote:
> 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
> yourself.
> 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.
> Thanks,
> Mike
> *** 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.

excellent idea. Federico Ferri and I "teamed" up some months back to
work on the "A Forest" theme for many of these exact reasons.

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