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O'Reilly Network: How to Change Your Look With Mozilla Skins

May 21, 2000, 06:08 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Oeschger)

"Skin-ability" has been one the longest-awaited and least-well-understood features of the Mozilla project. By using technologies such as XML (extensible markup language) and CSS (cascading style sheets), Mozilla developers can now customize their application interfaces by creating skins (or, in Netscape 6, themes, which are based upon skins). In this article I'll show you how to create skins and explain the role they play within the Mozilla development platform."

"Skin refers to the look or overall style of an application such as a web browser. In Gecko-based applications, the skin includes the images, colors, styles, positioning, and to some extent the behavior of elements in the UI. For the most part, the skin is created with CSS and images applied to the structural elements of the UI."

"The skin of a Gecko-based application is separate from its structure and function because of the way in which the interface is defined. In broadest terms, XUL defines the structure of the application, JavaScript describes the behavior, and Cascading Style Sheets define the coherent look, or skin. By changing the CSS files or pointing to a different set of CSS files entirely, you can change the skin of the application without affecting the underlying structure or functionality."

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