Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tutorial - Choosing Components for Your Skin


Base UI
You have 2 options here, either use Default UI (DUI) -already included in foobar2000 installation-, or Columns UI (CUI). The former provides more simple options and it's fast, while the latter enable you to use Panel Stack Splitter component, which extremely useful if you want to place elements in your skin freely. I personally prefer CUI.

Song List / Playlist Viewer
There's a lot of components provides this function, NG Playlist that's included in foobar2000 package covered this, Column Playlist -bundled in CUI- also provides the same function. If you want another options, try ELPlaylist, EsPlaylist or Graphical Browser. I personally love combining ELP and Graphical Browser.

Library Browser
You have to have at least 1 library browser based component to load your library into songlist panels. You can choose to use Library Tree, Explorer Panel, or Facets. 

Lyrics
Well, there's nothing more powerful than a Lyrics Show 3 (foo_uie_lyrics3) for this one. No reason to search another similar component. But if you insist, there's Lyrics DB and Mini Lyrics to choose.

Playlist Viewer
Similar to Library Browser function, but this one only load your selected playlist into songlist panel(s). Library Tree component also has this function. But if you prefer another component for this task, you can use Playlist Manager, Playlist Tree, Plorg, or Playlist Dropdown, 

Playback Stats
Playback Statistics (foo_playcount) provides, well, stats of your songs like how many the songs have been played, the song's rating, the date the song first played, etc.

Searchbox
Use no other than Quick Search Toolbar (foo_quicksearch or foo_uie_quicksearch) to search your library based on your query and load it to the songlist panel(s).

Visualizations
There's a lot of option on this one, depending on what type you prefer. You can use Peakmeter & Spectrum Analyzer, Musical Spectrum, ProjectM Visualisation, Shpeck or WmpVis.

Another Useful Components :

Extended Variables
Extended Variables (ExVar) provides custom variables that you can assign to. This component works like $puts function in PSS component, but works in other panels as well.

If you already know, like for example %title% returns the title of a song, ExVar enable you to write your own variable (%variable%), assign a value (i.e. what the variable means) on it, and of course use it on multiple panels.

WSH Panel Mod
WSH is the most powerful component of all, but you have to have at least basic Java or VB skills to properly use this component. WSH will help you accomplish basic task like to show the song title, to a more complex uses like creating your own panels. Hell you can even create a skin entirely based on single WSH panel.

UI Hacks
UI Hacks will let you customize your skin even further, you can remove your Windows frame theme (or any other 3rd theme) and create your custom frame. You can also set constrains (minimum and maximum) of the window size, custom icon, pseudo-caption and transparency.

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