Mac-like Form Controls for Firefox

select controls with various CSS rules appliedThe Mac-like form controls seen in Safari and Camino look nice, but tend to ignore CSS styling. I wanted to see if I could bring more flexible form widget styles to Firefox, while staying close to a native look as seen in Camino.

Single select boxes were the most problematic. How do you fuse the aqua pill-like control with a CSS background or border color? I think the answer is: You don’t. I decided to abandon Aqua for my own hand-rolled look which hopefully is Mac-like enough to blend with the other controls, but flexible enough to look good when CSS styles are applied.

The look for the select box is created with semi-transparent PNG images that allow the background color to show through. You’ll notice the widget also respects your choice of either the Blue or Graphite OS theme. Here’s a build off the Firefox 1.8 branch with the new Mac widget styles. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Download: ff-kmgerich-2006-03-11.dmg.gz, 9 MB

If you want a less experimental build of Firefox with native looking form widgets, check out Neil Lee’s G4 and G5 optimized builds.

Thinking Different

widgets-three.pngA few days ago I took delivery of a brand-spanking-new Thinkpad T42. It’s a beast of a machine with the sex appeal of a brick, but it’ll do.

Why a Thinkpad? I’d like to be able to build Firefox and Thunderbird on Windows and Linux. I’m very slow in getting to my Windows Firefox bugs because of the lack of a good development machine. Now I have no excuse :) I’d also like to develop themes for GNOME at some point.
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Thunderbird’s Extreme Mac-over

Thunderbird theme before and after

After the Pinstripe theme landed in Firebird, icon designer Stephen Horlander and I dove in to a companion Thunderbird theme. We started in early November 2003 and finally hit the “let’s stop fiddling with it and get it out there” phase in March of 2004. I’ve gone through the messages that Stephen and I exchanged during that time and pulled out a few examples of design decisions.
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