January 2nd, 2009

Disabled and themed icons in Substance 5.1

A few months ago, this posting on the Substance users mailing list has asked for better color matching of icons on disabled buttons. If you do not use the AbstractButton.setDisabledIcon API, the implementation of AbstractButton.getDisabledIcon uses the LookAndFeel.getDisabledIcon to create a disabled icon based on the current button icon. The default implementation of this method uses the GrayFilter class, which, while adequate for the core look-and-feels and most Substance skins, fails short for colored skins such as Autumn or Office Blue.

This has been addressed in the latest 5.1dev drop of the core Substance library. The screenshot below shows how a disabled button looked prior to these changes under Autumn skin (the copy button on the left):

And here is how it looks now:

Here is how the disabled icon looked like under Office Blue before:

And here is how it looks now:

In addition to using the color schemes of the current Substance skin, the new implementation also results in better fidelity to the original icon (especially visible under Autumn above).

Another change in the latest 5.1dev drop of Substance is much better support for themed icons. First introduced about two years ago, and revisited for Flamingo command buttons, it now supports a wider range of core Swing components and provides better rollover animations for Flamingo buttons.

Enabled by using the USE_DEFAULT_THEMED_ICONS client property, it was previously supported only on buttons and toggle buttons. This has been extended to labels, menus, menu items and tabs, along with removing support for per-component configuration. It is now a global property that can be installed on the UIManager.

The new implementation that better preserves the details of icons on disabled buttons also results in crisper and more recognizable icon details for the themed mode. Here is how the themed icons looked before under Autumn:

and here is how it looks now:

Here is how the themed icons looked before under Office Blue (almost unrecognizable, since the color schemes are very washed):

and here is how it looks now:

The support for themed mode has been reworked for Flamingo command buttons as well, bringing them in line with both the visuals and the rollover animation sequences (see the movie below). Here is a screenshot of the ribbon under Office Blue with full color icons:

and here is the same ribbon under the themed mode:

To illustrate the themed mode and rollover sequences in action, click on the following movie:

To see the themed Flamingo ribbon component in action, run the following WebStart demo and select the Use themed icons in the bottom right part of the application:

If you want to test the disabled and themed icons in your applications, you would need the following (the last two only for applications using Flamingo components):