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22240Re: [peditors] more Fatal Alerts since last pToolSet update

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  • W. B. Maguire II
    Aug 1, 2003
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      Paul:

      At 05:21 AM 8/1/03 -0400, you wrote:
      > :
      > :
      >BTW, what are you doing with DateBk4 when there is DateBk5?


      May I answer that for *myself*?

      -----BACKGROUND:-----

      I use an app. to manage the color scheme on my Visor Prism. Why? Because
      I *much* prefer to read and edit light text on a dark background (a sure
      sign of an old-time programmer! ;-) ), rather than the PalmOS default of
      black-on-white. In order to accomplish this personalization, I use a
      PalmOS application called "Butterfly" (highly recommended) (and "Khroma"
      before that, and "Chrome" before that,...). Butterfly is a very well-done
      program that allows me to change the color of 22 different components of
      the PalmOS, e.g. "Form Frame/Fill", "Dialog Frame/Fill", "Alert
      Frame/Fill", "Menu
      Frame/Fill/Foreground/Selected-Fill/Selected-Foreground", "Control
      Frame/Fill/Foreground/Selected-Fill/Selected-Foreground", and "Field
      Background/Text/Text-Lines/Caret/Text-Highlight-Background/Text-Highlight-Foreground".
      For instance---rather than removing them completely---I can change those
      annoying text-field dotted-lines into a nice blue on my black text-field
      background (still there but subtly in the background).

      Butterfly performs *flawlessly* with all applications that "play by the
      rules" when it comes to elements of their forms and coloring of such---like
      pedit and *every* other application on my Prism. Unfortunately, the DateBk
      author flushes the rules, as I'll discuss below.

      -----DATEBK ISSUE:-----

      Unfortunately, the guy who writes DateBk (CESD / Pimlico Software) knows
      better than *every* consumer, and decided that he must *force*
      (INCONSISTENTLY) the colorization of his application, rather than let the
      OS control it. In DateBk4 there were some problems, but I am able to live
      with them. For instance, I can't let DateBk4 control the alarms, because
      when the alarm screen shows, DateBk4 *forces* the background of the
      alarm-description text to be white (rather than using an OS-defined color
      like the "Text Background"), but did *not* force the foreground text to be
      black (he *did* use the OS color---"Text Foreground"---here). My
      colorization software---Khroma at the time---couldn't do anything about the
      forced-white background, but it *did* change the foreground text to
      white. The result: white text on a white background; real
      informative! >:-P Luckily, I'm able to *usually* get past this through
      the DateBk4 option of letting the built-in DateBook control the alarms
      (although that is a pain---in itself---for various reasons stated in the
      manual). Another similar---but less critical---example is the month view;
      DateBk4 *forces* the lines that make-up the calendar to be black (rather
      than choosing a more *intelligent*---not hard-coded---color! Like maybe
      the OS's foreground-text color?), but the background is the "Form Fill" (I
      believe) color which I have set to a dark navy blue (of course, this
      normally works great when all the foreground text/lines/etc. are a *light*
      color). The result: black lines on a dark navy-blue background. Not too
      clear. There are additional examples, but, like I said, I learned to live
      with these problems.

      Before resigning to just *living* with these problems, though, I contacted
      the author of DateBk4. In a sincerely *helpful* tone, I went into great
      detail (like this letter) about why *forcing* some colors to hard-coded
      values---rather than using one of the OS-determined palette values (that
      Butterfly could then change)---was a real problem for people with color
      devices who wanted to *customize* the interface of those devices. I
      mentioned that customization was probably a small audience now, but was
      *definitely* the way of the future! Just look at all those applications
      out there that have the (frequently useless) ability to change
      "skins". For God's sake, they're even starting to do it *electronically*
      for cell phone exteriors! I told him that Khroma (what I used at the time)
      was an *excellent* piece of freeware, and that this problem would just bite
      more and more Khroma+DateBk users in the future.

      This is---in its entirety---his response (of 31-Jan-2002):

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      >IT is neither practical nor feasible for me to modify my program to
      >accomodate [sic] personal choices that you make for color schemes based
      >on some other third party program that is twiddling the system palette
      >underneath DateBK4.
      >
      >That may be subject to review at some later time, but it won't be made in
      >the forthcoming V-4.1/5.0. I will put it on the list of things to review in
      >the future.
      >
      >Cheers!
      >CESD, Pimlico Software, Inc.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      He obviously didn't really *read* my letter, because I clearly stated that
      we were not talking about unpractically catering to a tiny hacker audience,
      but rather---as Paul often puts it---PLAYING BY THE RULES. When a software
      author *plays by the rules*, it provides more flexibility for *other*
      software that may build upon the original author's product. Using DateBk's
      author's (il)logic, there is no need for a color palette at all! Palm
      should have asked *Pimlico* what 8 colors *they* wanted everyone to have
      (why bother with 65536 colors?), the PalmOS could support those 8 colors,
      and every application could hard-code the colors for every element of its
      interface. No worries about pesky personal choices, right? Oh wait, there
      *is* a reason that computers use a *palette* of colors, and programs then
      *reference* that palette, because that way is the *smart* way, not the
      *stupid* way!

      LapTopHack is an *exact* analogy for this issue! Any Palm app. that uses
      its own, custom, non-standard interface will *not* be able to be controlled
      by LTH. So, a short-sighted (polite for "nimrod") software author will
      make his fancy, pretty, non-standard picture-buttons to be tapped by a
      stylus, without the slightest inkling that this will render his product
      almost totally useless in a *keyboard* environment. Since that software
      doesn't play by the rules, LTH is prevented from working its
      brilliance! The DateBk products do *not* play by the rules, and they've
      become *worse* with each new version. As long as you prefer *all* of the
      pre-chosen colors of the DateBk interface, you're fine. If you get excited
      over a product like Khroma or Butterfly, thinking "Wow! I can make all the
      colors in my Palm applications be the way *I* want them! I can have
      off-white text on a dark-navy-blue background instead of black on white!",
      you'll be *very* disappointed to find out that DateBk ignores some of your
      choices---but not others---leading to a disastrous mess of colors and a
      totally illegible result.

      When I downloaded DateBk5 (for a trial before purchasing), everything
      looked *awful*! Pimlico forces the colors---inconsistently---on even
      *more* of the critical form elements in DateBk5 than in
      DateBk4! Really! The day-view (the most important for me!) was
      *completely* illegible! Random colors everywhere! Needless to say, I
      quickly reverted back to the only-semi-busted DateBk4. And that's the
      long-winded explanation for why *I* am forced to stick with the older DateBk4.

      Lastly, I have to say that with the advent of the Butterfly program, this
      color problem can be somewhat alleviated---although not to *my*
      liking. The author of Butterfly---wisely---saw that there was a very small
      population of programs/programmers that are viciously opposed to
      standardized color-palette use, and so he added the capability to turn
      *off* the palette manipulation for those 'nimrod' applications (that you
      choose from a list of all the programs on your Palm). This feature would
      allow me to use DateBk4 or DateBk5 using the *standard* Palm colors and the
      *specific* black-, red-, and blue-on-white colors that the DateBk author
      decreed for everyone. But I *hate* looking at that black (and blue and
      red) text on a bright white background; therefore I live with my color
      scheme and the less-busted DateBk4 over the completely-busted DateBk5. So,
      there *is* a solution with Butterfly, it's just not the *best*
      solution. The *best* solution is for DateBk's author to *use* the
      *feature* that is the OS color palette for form elements ... to *allow* you
      the freedom to customize your color palette ... to PLAY BY THE RULES!

      Bruce.

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