Cowbell is a system to allow styling of window borders using CSS, the same system that is used to style webpages. It will initially be used for Metacity.
- the system Metacity uses to define themes, although stable, is complicated and not widely understood. However, CSS is understood by everyone who builds webpages.
- almost every window manager has its own system to style window borders. It would be helpful if CSS themes could be used for them all.
The name originally stood for “CSS on window borders experimental layout language”. Since then it has become a little less experimental.
In the first phase, a basic version was built and demonstrated. This work was supported by Collabora Ltd. You can still read the documentation for building themes, though the system has changed slightly. There followed some discussion on the best way to continue. Here’s an example of the first phase in use, which was created by rendering this stylesheet:
In the second phase:
- there will be a library, libcowbell, to turn CSS into window borders;
- there will be a program to edit CSS files and render them on the fly.
Work on the library continues. Both programs should be ready by GUADEC 2010. They will probably eventually live on git.gnome.org, but for now you can follow them on gitorious.
This blog will follow the development and discuss any choices we have to make as we’re making them. Next we will need a roadmap.
Photo © spigoo, cc-by.