Proposal: Spark Skin moves completely to Substance

The current Spark trunk is offering Substance and several other skin. The Spark code “overwrites” several graphical elements with “home made” pictures.

We would propose to remove all pictures from the trunk an rely completely on the functionality of Substance, Nimbus and such. This will e.g. remove all light blue & faded areas in the Spark screen.

NOTE: The use of Synthetica is not permitted due to licencing restrictions. We would loose to use Spark in commercial environments.

**2nd NOTE: Substance is not developed anymore, we have included JTattoo and JGoodies for experimental reasons. Test clients with removed images were unpleasant to look at for all LaF libraries used in Spark.

Rational: If we keep the static images, we can not provide a decent graphical appearance to the end users. E.g BusinessBlackSteel ist a dark skin but it will still use the light blue Jive images.

The overall question is: Do we want to offer skinning or not?

I have created a poll for that

Current Status of this proposal:

After reviewing several test clients,we had to conclude that we have to go for an optimized one skin approach, if we want to provide a nice look. Due to reasons of backward compatibility, the 2.6.0 client will release with an “optimzed” 2.5.8 look based on a JTattoo LaF plus hard coded images.**

I think I agree with this. If this means I can do something about the pale blue background that is there in every theme, then this would fix my major gripe with the current spark look.

My users tell me the new spark is ugly and they prefer the old white one. I’d like to be able to give them that option before upgrading them.

According to the maker of Synthetica Blue Moon (current Skin for 2.5.8) we would need a commercial license to continue the usage of Blue Moon. I have created a blocker bug regarding the Blue Moon removal. Since Substance has been discontinued in development, I am currently evaluating other options for skinning. E.g JGoodies ( as free alternative to Substance.

How about a screenshot (or a mockup) of how it will be looking when hardcoded images will be removed?

Out of curiosity, what was the reason for leaving the swing look and feel in the first place? I never had a problem with the original 2.5 Spark theme.

I set my default to use Nimbus from swingset3 which seems to work just fine with a few tweaks.

Spark 2.5.8 is using Synthetica Blue Moon for beauty reasons. This skin is commercial and there might be a licensing issue related to that. We basically have to remove it prior any release and use something else.

Out of curiousity: What are the tweaks used in your Nimbus setup? Would it be useful to make them “standard”?

I guess I assumed that 2.5.8 was using swing, sorry about that. I actually added the code modification to another post in

Basically I had to modify the button margins because Nimbus uses some crazy margins that made the button go off the screen when using Kraken IM / IM Gateway. I also adjusted the font to something that fit the interface a bit better.

Otherwise everything works fine when selecting Nimbus from the Look and Feel drop down in appearance. I think it makes a good cross platform replacment for Sythetica, but I think others might disagree. That is why I voted for the second option for multiple skins.

In the latest builds i see that some parts of Spark skin are now white (even when using Substance BlueSteel skin). When all parts of the chat window or roster are white it gets harder to distinguish those different parts, like where is the chat text are and where the input area begins.

Also i see that spacing between groups has been increased. Now i can’t have all my groups without a scrollbar… I don’t know if there is a ticket assigned for such changes, so posting here.

The color is actually a very lightweight blue. We are going for a Synthetica BlueMoon design clone and also for a lightweight and fluffy design.

I can understand that the users of the Substance Business Blue Steel design are affected by this approach, but I want to release 2.6.0 a with a similar look to 2.5.8.

We have played around with several design option using Substance, JTattoo and JGoodies. The results for a skinned version of Spark without hard coded images were all unpleasant. We have even consulted with GUI designer and had to go for the “one polished skin” option that I was polling. I would personally prefer a multi skin approach, but the results were really poor.

JTattooLuna is looking some what similar to Syntethica Blue Moon, though i think its color is more bright. But those XPish minimaize, close buttons look ugly… I don’t think people using Win7 will like such skin reminding them XP. I kinda liked the look of TattooAluminium. Btw, you there will be an option for Windows native look or it will be just TattooLuna?

Thanks for the update! I checked out 12294. Not sure if you are looking for suggestions or comments but here I go. I am running Windows 7 64bit in Aero.

default properties: Chat.inactiveTabColor = 112,112,112,255 (The inactive tab color was too light, I darkened it a bit in my version.

The Light blue background for contacts vs white background of the window just looks a little odd to me. I know that isn’t helpful, so I appologize, but I wanted to mention it!

Login Page: The prompts are tiny.

Border: Windows 7 is running the Aero interface and the blue just doesn’t look right. It makes the application seem old and out dated.

Odd behavior: When I first open a new chat window the name appears in the tab and the x appears outside that tab. After I click out of the window it will redraw correctly.

I appreciate your input very much. And also the comments regarding Win7. Actually, I have discovered the Blue Moon issue a little late in the dev stream. And basically the discussion and option are overwhelming. Hence we have decided to take the most conservative approach and copy BlueMoon.

We will do a 2.6.1 fore sure and take a second look at the look. But in the moment, I want to get 2.6.0 out of the door. I’ll link some of your comments to the GUI ticket.

Border: Windows 7 is running the Aero interface and the blue just doesn’t look right. It makes the application seem old and out dated.

Odd behavior: When I first open a new chat window the name appears in the tab and the x appears outside that tab. After I click out of the window it will redraw correctly.

if you like it to match WindowsAero then you should use Windows as Look and Feel.

besides, the old SyntheticaBlueMoon( spark 2.5.8) shouldnt have matched Aero either…

the rendering problem will be adressed

The border comment was aimed more about the choice of the default theme than a bug. I definatly understand needing to get 2.6.0 out the door and will switch the default in my build since we run a mostly windows environment.

I appreciate all the work being put in!

George, do you have many groups in your roster? I wonder what do you think about spacing between groups being increased in the latest builds. This looks a bit to wide for me, imho.

I’m not wild about the spacing either. I think it would be better to flip the gradient back around. By starting with the same color as the background and going lighter it is a bit hard to tell where the group separations are even with the extra spacing. I liked the way it was before starting lighter than the background and ending darker than the background.

I made another modification on mine to add a border around the tab panes in workspacePane.setBorder(BorderFactory.createLineBorder((Color)UIManager.get(“Sp arkTabbedPane.borderColor”)));

It helped to visualy separate the contact list from the menu above in my option.

FYI: you also have add: import javax.swing.UIManager;