Saturday, June 17, 2006


Gadgets and Style box files - part I

In the previous post I've shown you how you can create the simplest Boxely program, with a single window object.

In this post I will try to address the two basic types, which are used in boxely. Gadgets and Styles.
Looking at the AIM environment, it seems that box files are divided into 3 separate groups. Gadgets declaration files, Styles declaration files, and application layout files.

It seems that this is only a logical division of the three. You can, If you want, write all your gadgets and style declarations directly in your application's box file.

In order to use a pre-defined gadget from within our application's box file, we simply import the file using the input directive.
This is the same as using an #include directive in a C++.

<?import href="box://boxelyToolkit/theme/"?>

Before I get into the details of defining basic gadgets and styles, take a second look at the line above.
What does box:// stands for?

Boxely is a toolkit which is mainly dedicated to create client side GUI applications, but it is only a part of a bigger environment called OCP, which stands for AOL's Open Client Platform.
The first layer of the OCP is the Execution Engine(EE). This layer is probably in charge, among other things, to find our box files, parse them, and execute them appropriately.

The OCP folder Hierarchy

the box:// notation stands for the library called services under the EE directory.
The EE folder seems to contain some core services like aollaunch.exe, AOLHostMgr.dll and AOLSvcMgr.dll.
The services directory seems to be the root of all the services and applications defined in the OCP system.
The Triton IM software resides under imApp.
The BoxelyToolkit service seems to be a infra structure for other applications. An implementation of ready made of some common and some extra ordinary gadgets, styles, and resources.


If you will look under the ee\services\boxelyToolkit directory you will not find a directory called themes. Instead you will find a directory named something like ver1_4_29_1.
I can't tell how OCP versioning works, because I didn't find any application which has more than one version. The manifest.xml file under the version folder, contains the same version number in its package version attribute, and is mandatory if you want the environment to find your box files.

The version folder itself is divided into 3 folders. This is consistent among other services.
The content folder contains the gadgets box and Java Script files.
The themes folder contains the style and resource definition box files.
The resources folder contains the actual resources (bitmaps, icons, pngs etc.).

In part II of this article, I will enter some basic details regarding styles and gadgets definition.

If you'd like some Boxely tips and me directly - corey "dot" lucier "at" enjoy!
be sure to check out for documentation and a current boxely runtime
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