VID Extension Kit - Skin System


The skin system in the VID Extension Kit works by applying skin information to faces, such as draw blocks, colors, images, etc. as they would appear in different states. This means for example that if a button is pressed, a separate DRAW block can be used to draw the face, for the period of time, where the left mouse button is pressed.

The relation between skins and faces is not 1:1, which means that several faces can share the same surface and the skin information is not tied to the face, as skins are stored as separate resources.

Between the skin and the face, a number of concepts are used to translate skin information to something that the face can use.

In the sections below, each concept is described.



A SKIN is a list of surfaces, images, colors, etc. The skin exists as a list of files on disk, which when included are loaded off disk at startup, or when building the VID Extension Kit using build.r, includes the skin in the skin stock.


make-skinParse the skin and build images, colors and surfaces in that order.
load-skinLoads a skin from the skin stock in memory into the surfaces list.
read-skinReads a skin from disk, using a specific file structure, evaluates parenthesis values, such as for loading images directly into the facet. This is done for all facets except DRAW and TEMPLATE and appends it to the skin stock.


SURFACES are a list of objects that contain information about how a face should appear in different states. The list of surfaces is updated every time a new skin is loaded or if a new surface is added.

Surfaces are inherited, so if you create a base surface, a child may contain changed or additional facets.

One surface may have several children. Surfaces may only have one direct parent, but can have any number of ancestors.

For example, in the standard skin:

  1. The BUTTON surface is the child of FRAME and contains specific font details for BUTTON.
  2. FRAME contains a DRAW template for how a button will appear in the GUI for all states as well as a set of standard colors for each state.
  3. FRAME is then again based on the BASE surface, which contains basic margin, font and paragraph information.
  4. BASE is the base style with no ancestors.

Surfaces are described in the surfaces.r file by a dialect, starting with the base surface. The dialect is described in a separate chapter.

All surface descriptions for one skin are listed in the surfaces.r file.



This builds a combined surface object from a surface and all of its ancestors. It uses the face to work on as an input argument and the face should contain a word, with the name of the surface to use in FACE/SURFACE. The function then converts that word into the combined surface object.

if the face does not contain a DRAW-BODY object or does not contain a SURFACE word, the SET-SURFACE function returns immediately.

If the function is called, when FACE/SURFACE is NONE or already is an object, nothing will occur.

When the surface object is being built, the surface object may contain DRAW or TEMPLATE facets with DRAW blocks that contain parenthesis

When the surface object is built, it's copied and put in the face at FACE/SURFACE.

Then, it calls the SET-DRAW-BODY function to create DRAW-BODY information from the state of the face and the new surface object in FACE/SURFACE, so it will have correct appearance, when displayed.

The function is called during layout, so it's normally not necessary to call it.

Example of using the FRAME surface:

face/surface: 'frame
set-surface face


The DRAW-BODY is an object that resides inside each face as FACE/DRAW-BODY and describes skin information to be applied to the face for one state. That information is taken from FACE/SURFACE, FACE/STATE, FACE/SEE and FACE/TOUCH as well as during an initialization phase.

A facet from the draw-body object is known as a draw-body facet. This is to differentiate from a surface facet.

The draw-body object also contains coordinate information for resizing DRAW blocks.


The face object contains multiple state words that are managed and generated at different times:


This is a word which is generated, when the face switches data state and may be related to GET-FACE and SET-FACE. If you click a TOGGLE, it switches between the states ON and OFF, where both are words.

The state words are generated from the FACE/STATES block and you can define any words you want, as long as they don't collide with words used in FACE/SEE, FACE/TOUCH or by using the INIT word.

You should not set the word directly, as FACE/STATE will be generated by the SET-FACE-STATE function, at the same time as the action is run. See more details on when the face action is run for a face under FACE/TOUCH.

For TOGGLE, the FACE/STATES block is:

[off on]

where the first state is the default state. The FACE/STATES block is repeated, once the last state is reached.

The FACE/VIRGIN value, which is TRUE or FALSE is used to determine whether the first state in the STATES block should be used. in subsequent repetitions.

Example for a basic multi-state face:

face/virgin: true
face/states: [multi on off]

And in use:

*starting point*
face/states: [multi on off]
face/state: 'multi
face/states: [on off]
face/state: 'on
face/states: [off]
face/state: 'off
face/states: [on off]
face/state: 'on
face/states: [off]
face/state: 'off

This is a word which is generated when the face changes appearance due to a system change:

FOCUSEDWhen the face is focused, using the FOCUS function.
UNFOCUSEDWhen the face is unfocused. This is default.
DISABLEDWhen the face is disabled, using the DISABLE-FACE function.

This is a word which is generated, when the user interacts with the face, essentially "touching" it with the mouse cursor. The reason for this word is to combine the otherwise tedious detection of whether the mouse button is clicked, while over the face, as the event system does not provide this information directly. This is also why the event is not passed to the surface directly.

The value of FACE/TOUCH is generated using the SET-FACE-STATE function.

RELEASEDWhen a mouse button is released over or away from the face. Just before setting this word, the SET-FACE-STATE function runs the action of the face, if the face does not have a FACE/RATE and also only if the previous state is PRESSED or DRAG-OVER. This means that you can't run the action of a face, while the mouse is not over the face.
PRESSEDWhen the mouse is pressed over the face.
DRAG-OVERWhen the mouse while pressed, is dragged over the face.
DRAG-AWAYWhen the mouse while pressed, is dragged away from the face.
OVERWhen the mouse, while released, is moved over the face.
AWAYWhen the mouse, while released, is moved away from the face.

When FACE/RATE is not NONE, the face action needs to be run separately from the SET-FACE-STATE function inside the FEEL object. The FACE/TOUCH value does not change on a TIME event.


The special INIT state is run when the surface is created, so that values that only need to be set once, are only set that one time. This counts for values in state blocks. When the state has been found and applied, the state is removed, so the amount of information in the surface object to parse is reduced.

Values that stand alone are set only once, automatically and then removed from the surface object.

Order of State Words

The order of the words is important, as they determine, which state is detected first in the state block. First the INIT word is searched for, then FACE/STATE, then FACE/SEE and finally FACE/TOUCH.

DRAW-BODY Contents

The content of the DRAW-BODY object is:

marginThe pixel distance vertically and horizontally between the INNER and OUTER edge of the face, used in the draw block.
colorsAn object of color tuples used in the DRAW and TEMPLATE blocks.
drawThe DRAW, i.e. foreground draw block. Is visible on top of the TEMPLATE draw block. This block is meant to be bound to the draw body object.
templateThe TEMPLATE, i.e. background draw block. Is visible behind the DRAW draw block. This block is meant to be bound to the draw body object.
draw-imageAn image or a state block of images used in the DRAW or TEMPLATE draw block.
innerSee the Coordinates section.
outerSee the Coordinates section.
centerSee the Coordinates section.
image-centerSee the Coordinates section.
image-innerSee the Coordinates section.
image-outerSee the Coordinates section.
verticesSee the Coordinates section.
pointsSee the Coordinates section.
fontChanges to the font object as used in the face.
paraChanges to the para object as used in the face.



This applies surface information to the DRAW-BODY object, based on the input states (FACE/STATE, FACE/SEE, FACE/TOUCH and a special INIT state) and the combined surface object that exists in FACE/SURFACE.

If the face does not have a DRAW-BODY object or does not have any surface information, the function returns immediately.

The input states are set in various places in FEEL objects and are set as FACE/STATE, FACE/SEE and FACE/TOUCH.

FACE/EVENTThis describes a single word as used with user input, such as when clicking a button, you would have a 'down event. Note that this is not an event! object. It is allowed to have this value to be NONE.
FACE/STATEThis describes the current state of a face, which is described by a word. For example, a TOGGLE might use an 'on and 'off state. This is not to be confused with the built-in values ON and OFF, which map to logic!. The value cannot be NONE.

Whenever FACE/EVENT is NONE, the first value in the facet is used to generate a default.

If FACE/EVENT is NONE and FACE/STATE contains a value, the default is combined with the value that is found for FACE/EVENT.

Whenever FACE/EVENT or FACE/STATE contain values that do not exist for a facet in the surface object, an unset! is returned. This also means that the draw body will not be updated for that particular facet. No error is generated from this action, but it may lead to one of the draw blocks causing a crash, if a color is missing.


This changes coordinate information in the DRAW-BODY object and is called only during resize. It allows the DRAW or TEMPLATE block to scale with the face.

Draw Blocks

DRAW blocks are bound to the DRAW-BODY object, so that you can define a draw block statically, and simply use the coordinate words stored in the DRAW-BODY to scale the draw block as the face resizes. It simply redraws the draw block in the new dimensions after the resize.

There is no extension to DRAW other than allowing for paren! blocks to be used to compute point positions that move relative to a resize, and are otherwise arbitrarily positioned in the DRAW block.

There are two DRAW blocks: TEMPLATE and DRAW. The idea is then that each face will be able to use both DRAW blocks to draw the background and the foreground of the face. The intent is then that you use the TEMPLATE draw block, to, say, draw the button frame of any kind of button, and then use the DRAW block to draw in details, indication and icons.

The face text is generated by View, so DRAW text is not used for face text.


There are a range of standard coordinates available to quickly position images or draw lines and edges along common locations in the face. When used in a DRAW block, they will be converted to coordinates appropriate for the current size of the face.

Up to 34 different points are calculated.


The DRAW block has 9 positions, which are used for generating coordinates, one in each corner and one in the middle of each edge, and finally one in the center. This is one of 8 pairs, starting from the upper left corner and moves clockwise around the face. These 8 pairs constitute the OUTER block of pairs, that follow the outer edge of the face.

The 9th pair constitutes the center of the face.


Another 8 pairs are generated from OUTER, called INNER, by adding a MARGIN value, which are positioned (by default 2 pixels) inwards from the edge of the face.


Then another 8 pairs are generated from OUTER, called IMAGE-OUTER. They form coordinates based on the size of the image currently stored in FACE/DRAW-BODY/DRAW-IMAGE, allowing you to place the image as "knobs" around the edge of the DRAW block.


Finally the last 8 pairs, IMAGE-INNER are the same as IMAGE-OUTER, just based on the INNER pairs, rather than the OUTER pairs.


This is the center of the face.


This is the center of the face, taking the image size into account. This is useful for placing an image at the center of the face.

Box that spans the upper left corner (first point) and the lower right corner (fifth point):

    pen none
    fill-pen black
    box inner/1 inner/5

Plain centered image:

    image image-center draw-image


Arbitrary points can also be computed by doing this in parenthesis. These are called vertices. There can be any number of vertices.

They are points that are offset in relation to one of the 34 points calculated in the previous section.

The contents of each computation block is bound to the DRAW-BODY object and when SET-SURFACE creates the surface object, each parenthesis block is converted to a point reference, POINTS/1, POINTS/2, etc., so you will see those words instead of the parenthesis blocks, if you probe the FACE/SURFACE draw blocks.

As such, a 5x5 pixel offset from the upper right and lower right corner of the face to draw a line, is done like this:

    line (outer/3 + -5x5) (outer/5 - 5)

Creating a Skin

The skin consists of images, colors, materials, surfaces. Currently, only the surfaces aspect is implemented.

Skin Files

The skin files are located in the resources/skins/ directory. Each skin has its own name, by the name of the directory under the skins/ directory. This allows you to reference a skin only by that directory name and the VID Extension Kit will know how to load it.

Under each skin directory a number of files can exist:

images.rThis will contain all image bitmaps in any form that is understandable by REBOL. If this file is not present, it will be ignored.
colors.rThis will contain all colors either as calculated values or as tuples. If this file is not present, it will be ignored.
materials.rImages and colors can be used to form materials. Materials are a concept for simplifying the creation of complex widget appearances with highlights, shadows and gradients. If this file is not present, it will be ignored.
surfaces.rThis contains all surface information that can be used in styles and is the last file to be loaded. It bases its content on draw blocks and materials, colors and images. This file must be present.

Surface Dialect

The surfaces.r file contains a list of surfaces, which is read with READ-SKIN. The content is a dialect.


base: [
    margin 2x2
    font [shadow: none valign: 'middle size: 12 align: 'left]
    para [origin: 4x2 wrap?: on]
box: base [
    font [shadow: 2x2 size: 16 align: 'center color: white style: 'bold]
frame: base [
    colors state [
        released away drag-away [
            background: any [color 200.200.200]
            shine: background + 40
            shadow: background - 60
        pressed drag-over [
            background: any [all [color color / 2] 100.100.100]
            shine: background - 40
            shadow: background + 60
        over [
            background: any [all [color color + 10] 210.210.210]
            shine: background + 40
            shadow: background - 60
        disabled [
            background: 200.200.200
            shine: background + 20
            shadow: background - 30
    template [
        anti-alias off
        pen none
        fill-pen colors/shine
        polygon outer/1 outer/3 inner/3 inner/7 outer/7 outer/1
        fill-pen colors/shadow
        polygon outer/3 outer/5 outer/7 inner/7 inner/3 outer/3
        fill-pen colors/background
        box inner/1 inner/5 1
    font state [
        released away drag-away [color: black]
        over [color: blue]
        pressed drag-over [color: white]
        disabled [color: 140.140.140]

Each surface is a name as a set-word!, followed by a value or a state block. If a surface has a parent, the value or the state block is preceded by the name of that parent surface.

State Blocks

A state block is the word 'state followed by a block of states, where each state is a word from FACE/STATE, FACE/TOUCH or FACE/SEE or the INIT word. Several state words can follow eachother, if multiple states should represent the same outcome.

The state words are then followed by a value or another state block.

In this example, the COLORS facet uses a state block with the PRESSED and RELEASED states. If FACE/TOUCH contains the PRESSED state, the returned value is [value: 0.0.0]:

colors state [
    pressed [value: 0.0.0]
    released [value: 50.50.50]

In this example, multiple states are used for the same outcome:

font state [
    released away drag-away [color: black]
    over [color: blue]
    pressed drag-over [color: white]
    disabled [color: 140.140.140]

State blocks can exist inside other state blocks. This is useful in cases where you want to create a state block for FACE/STATE, where each outcome would then be evaluated for FACE/TOUCH. It doesn't necessarily have to be divided this way, as you can mix the words from each source as you like, but it can make logical sense to do it.

In this example, the FACE/TOUCH state is used as the outer state description, while the FACE/STATE state is used to provide the inner state description:

colors state [
    disabled state [
        on [value: 0.200.0]
        off [value: 80.80.80]
    focused unfocused state [
        on [value: green]
        off [value: black]

Using the INIT state, is simply done by using the INIT word:

colors state [
    init [value: 50.50.50]
    disabled state [
        on [value: 0.200.0]
        off [value: 80.80.80]
    focused unfocused state [
        on [value: green]
        off [value: black]

Plain Values

Plain values are simply used directly. Example:

colors [value: 0.200.0]