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Chapter 8. Creating Windows XP Skins wit... > What StyleBuilder Can and Cannot Do ...

What StyleBuilder Can and Cannot Do for You

As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, StyleBuilder is used to create visual styles. This means you can manipulate the color scheme and each individual bitmap that makes up a particular graphical element of the interface.

StyleBuilder can’t build background or icon files which, as you already know, can be built using drawing software or other image software. These interface elements are not restricted by Windows XP (meaning you can change them at will) as the visual style is. Remember that Windows XP’s skinning engine, uxtheme.dll, is designed to allow only Microsoft digitally signed visual styles (such as Luna) to be applied to the interface. StyleBuilder builds files with the extension .sb (for StyleBuilder), which can then be compiled as .msstyles files, which are in the same file format as Luna. By default, StyleBuilder loads the attributes of the Luna visual style as your starting point when you choose to create a new visual style. You then modify the Luna elements (the bitmaps and colors) to create your own visual style.


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