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New Window Chrome Materials - a not-too-serious look into the future

16. January 2009
Some time around 2004 apple began using a "brushed metal" look for some of the windows in OSX. In late 2006 Microsoft released Vista with its Aero Glass window chrome. Going further back we had a chiseled grey look-and-feel in many windowing systems (chiseled and grey implying stone?). Taking into account the obvious trend where window chrome is styled after real-world building materials, we confidenty predict that wood will be the substance of the future for mainstream operating systems. Agonising conversations regarding timber finishes and preferences that had previously been relegated to only the real world can now spill over into the computer one. Would you like a mahogany title bar and rosewood buttons? Would you like us to dove-tail the corners of the windows to make them stronger? The folks over at the WPF SDK blog have already given a great overview of current window chrome approaches. For ultimate window chrome customization I like Pavan Podila's [edit: fixed typo in Pavan's name]Fluidkit which contains the very useful "GlassWindow" style-able window control, and used it to create this beautifully finished window with a mahogany titlebar, trimmed with brushed silver and given a satin finish for the discerning computer user.

Or for the younger users there is this more european window style with a plantation pine title bar.
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You can download the source here and build more of these windows for yourself. I used Wood Workshop from Spiral Graphics to create the textures. Later this week I'm hoping to bring you another hot tip for window chrome futures - this time with an emphasis on lightweight performance - yes, you guess it! Carbon-fibre window chrome!

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