Talpadk’s Blog

August 2, 2010

Finger friendly matchbox theme

Filed under: Embedded — talpadk @ 8:15 am

YouTube video of the theme

Finger friendly window manages presents special challenges mostly caused by the need for larger controls due to inaccurate finger tapping.
On small screen devices like mobile phones this presents another challenge, we do not want to use too much of our small screen for controls.
On the Neo/Freerunner this is made even more complicated as the bezel around the screen makes it hard to tab the edges.
And the edges are where we normally put the controls.

But Nokia seemed to have succeeded in making the Matchbox window manager finger friendly on the 770.
And while the 770 does have a larger screen, why not our Freerunner?

I am not graphics artist so I am pretty sure that it could have been made to look nicer but here is what I have done.

  • The top window border have been enlarged to 48px, no other border needed.
  • The window chooser and close buttons have been made larger and moved away from the left and right edge.
    (But the entire area left or right of the icon can be clicked)
  • Only a small area above the window chooser displays the window title (also activates the chooser)
  • The font size used for the chooser and application launcher has been increased to allow using them with your fingers
  • The remaining space is used to “dock” the matchbox-panel , so it does not have to use valuable screen estate.

There are still plenty of things that remain to be done most importantly create a Debian package to allow others to install the theme easily.

And since there MUST always be one window open to show the  launcher I should probably while(true) spawn either zhone
or some sort of home window in .xsession.

And something must be done to the launcher, as it does not show half of my installed applications including any terminal (shiver), I could either:

  • Fix the launcher config files, I do belive that can be done…
  • Remove the launcher from the panel and replace it with the “home window” thing.
    This would also free the panel space for extra notification icons


  1. looks great,, now we need to install

    Comment by slaxxer — August 4, 2010 @ 12:05 am | Reply

  2. Looks great! But a question about this: “The remaining space is used to “dock” the matchbox-panel , so it does not have to use valuable screen estate.” How can this be achieved? Doesn’t at least seem to happen automatically on my Freerunner’s Debian-installation.

    Comment by J.M. — October 16, 2010 @ 9:04 am | Reply

    • The matchbox theme you use have to support the docking in the window titlebar
      (Mine does, I don’t believe that the standard ones does)


      You have to launch the matchbox-panel as “matchbox-panel –titlebar”
      As described in:

      Comment by talpadk — October 16, 2010 @ 10:06 am | Reply

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