It’s kinda funny, you would think building your skin upon an existing one (PM3.HD in my case) will save you a lot of time, compared to building it from scratch. But some time after the the initial work is done and released, you realize the skin still resembles the the original too much… That’s when the real work starts…replacing all of the textures with your own, finding and creating dozens of new icons for the skin. That’s what Transparency! v1.00 was about, giving it it’s own, distinct look. It took me 6 weeks of GIMP’ing and coding all day long (and night) to get to the point where i felt this was the best i could do. In case if anyone’s interested in what i did in my summer holidays…you’ve just read it.
A logical follow-up to v1.00 for me was doing the same with what i’ve did with the graphics, but this time with the xml code. Reorganizing everything in a way so i feel comfortable with it. Of course there’s a downside to turning the entire xml code upside-down, you introduce more bugs than you could wish for. So this is where the xbmc community came in and thanx to over 250 users who did some intense bug hunting for a week, most of them should be straightened out by now. A big thumbs up to all of you!
So what else is new in Transparency! v2.00…besides optimizing the code (<techtalk>using more conditional includes instead of visible conditions</techtalk>) it’s a continuation of the path i’ve set since the very first release: adding as much of the neat new features xbmc has to offer to the skin as possible. IMO we shouldn’t burden the user with having to hack all around the xml code to get the latest and greatest out of xbmc. All it takes is a few skinners to do the work and it would save hundreds of xbmc users a lot of frustration and the risk of breaking the skin if something goes wrong. In Transparency! v2.00 support is added for the Home Theather Experience script, the Weather.com plus plugin and the Opensubtitles_OSD script, to name a few. An extensive list of other changes, improvements and additions is available in the changelog.
As always, if you think there’s anything missing in the skin, head over to the forum and make a few requests. Getting the community involved in probably the most important thing. Since you’re the ones who’re using it on a daily basis, you know best what you would like to see in a skin. Fresh ideas are always welcome, they can only help to improve the skin!
Finally a big thanx to the xbmc team for giving us skinners a new platform on xbmc.org to show off our skins. Your hard work certainly didn’t go unnoticed, Transparency! downloads have more than tripled ever since the new site is up!