Welcome to the first part of a three-part series that takes a comprehensive look at the process of developing themes for Nokia cell phones using Carbide.ui Theme Edition. This powerful software lets the user set up nearly every aspect of their cell phone interface exactly the way they want it.
Have you ever found yourself feeling frustrated at not being able to set up your Nokia cell phone exactly the way you want? If so, you're not alone. Many people have wondered why it is that their phone's software allows them to adjust some of its settings but not others.
Whatever the reason, an answer is at hand in the shape of Carbide.ui Theme Edition. This freely available, fully-featured software from Nokia allows users to edit existing themes or build new ones from scratch for Symbian-based phones running either the S40 or S60 operating system. This gives them full control over just about every aspect of the cellphone interface, from colors to background images, animations, graphics and audio elements.
Getting started with Carbide.ui
Carbide.ui has been developed by Nokia as part of a program to provide a uniform set of tools for cell phone software developers. It is based on the Eclipse open source development framework. Carbide.ui Theme Edition is available from the Nokia Forum web site. You have to register on the site before you can download and install the software. You will also need to register the application within 14 days of first use to continue using it, but this is free of charge and can be done easily through the Nokia Forum site. The provision of such tools openly and free of charge by Nokia is most welcome, allowing developers at all levels to manipulate the software of embedded devices.
Once you have Carbide.ui installed, you're ready to get started. The process of creating a new theme can be broken down into the following eleven steps:
Create basic theme background images and general full screen background images. This is best done in a separate image editor, before you begin to work with Carbide.ui.
Modify icon, text, and line colors.
Add or modify the images that define the appearance of the various screen areas.
Create icons for the main application menu and its submenus.
Adjust list, grid, and input highlights.
Create graphics for pop-up windows.
Adjust miscellaneous icons and theme components.
Add application-specific theme items. For example, you might want to create new graphics for built- in applications, such as the clock, calendar or music player.
Add custom tones and an animated screen saver
Create a .sis or .pip file of your theme and protect the theme using DRM.
Upload the theme to a mobile phone.
Obviously some of these steps can be skipped if desired, and the default items and settings used instead. But it serves as a useful guide to what's involved in the creation of an entirely new theme.
You will probably want to create some elements of your new themes, such as background images and icons, before you start working in Carbide.ui. This can be done using an image editor such as Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro.
However, the specifics are beyond the scope of this article, other than to say that you need to know the pixel size of the various elements before you start. This depends on factors such as your screen size and your phone's software version, so it's well worth finding out this information before you start.
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