Emoticons theme specification

Owen Taylor otaylor at redhat.com
Sun Jan 9 21:05:35 EET 2005

On Fri, 2005-01-07 at 18:11 +0100, Olivier Goffart wrote:
> Hello
> This mail is a suite for my previous mail in the kde-core-devel mailing list
> http://lists.kde.org/?l=kde-core-devel&m=110510845929729&w=2
> Konversation and Kopete want to share the same emoticons themes, There is also 
> interest in KMail to support them.
> It may be a good idea to standardize that as a freedesktop specification. So 
> the same emoticons theme could be used in every others program as well. 
> (Gaim, evolution, ...)
> So I've finally specified today the original format I wrote 2 years ago for 
> Kopete.
> It's my first specification, so please be indulgent, and thanks to notify me 
> errors.
> I've attached the docbook file since I have currently no real place to host 
> it.

Thanks a lot for writing this up. 

Emoticons it's not something I really have a lot of experience with, but
some random thoughts looking over the spec"

 - Does it really make sense to have emoticon themes separate from icon
   themes? While I can imagine it being neat to be able to trade just
   an emoticon theme, my expectation would be that the emoticons
   would just follow the general appearance of my desktop.

   My initial thought was you could just use icons in the icon theme
   named say, emoticon-%aa%bb%cc (URI style hex escaping), but I guess
   the parser would then have to enumerate all icons in the icon theme
   to figure out what emoticon strings were available.

   But you could still augment the icon theme with an auxiliary file
   listing the emoticon => icon name mapping.

 - MNG? icon themes don't support MNG ... and GNOME doesn't support MNG.
   MNG could probably be added to the icon theme spec
   in a similar way to SVG. Do current emoticon themes use MNG?  
   Would APNG be a better choice? GNOME doesn't support APNG either
   but it would be a lot more trivial to add.)

 - Should the spec support SVG? Both GNOME and KDE support SVG icon
   themes, and it seems that people might want scalable emoticons.
 - What about size handling? Do you have to create a separate theme
   for each size? What about scalable emoticon themes? 

   Incorporating emoticons into the icon theme spec would give a
   pretty sophisticated system for this without any extra work.

 - /usr/share/themes/<themename>/<themetype> is used for 

   /usr/share/icons/<themename>/cursors is used for cursor themes.

   Can this be put into one or the other location rather than further
   cluttering /usr/share?

 - We seem to be using .ini-style files more than XML files for theme
   information. Can the emoticon theme information be wedge into
   an .ini file in some natural way? If XML is the right format
   (and we are using it in xdgmime), then I suspect GNOME people would
   appreciate if the specification limited XML to the GMarkup subset:
 - I'm not sure a hidden .directory file is the best way to handling
   theme naming. Right now we do naming with
   /usr/share/themes/index.theme /usr/share/icons/index.theme ... if
   you used one of those two directories, then you could just piggyback
   off of that. If not, then I think an index.theme file would be

Anyways, that's some feedback from someone who is quite happy with text
emoticons ;-). It might be good to try and contact some of the authors
of other emoticon using applications directly. Evolution, Thunderbird
come to mind. Maybe GAIM. I don't know what Evolution does currently
to find emoticon images.


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