This site highlights emerging technologies from Stardock and shows how corporate clients can benefit from these.
Your Chance to Win Valuable Prizes
Published on March 17, 2006 By koop In WinCustomize News
PowerArchiver is one of the top file compression utilities and one of the many programs that has adopted DirectSkin from Stardock as their skinning engine. DirectSkin is a software development tool that shares a technology base with WindowBlinds, meaning that WindowBlinds skins can easily be adapted to DirectSkin powered apps.

Mike Bryant has helped PowerArchiver get off to a great start by permitting use of his Quasar, Colony, Sidewinder, Tronnix and Subterfuge skins. PowerArchiver is hosting a skinning contest to attract even more skins and is offering outstanding prizes for winners of the skinning competition:
Top 5 Overall Skins:

* 1. $500
* 2. $250
* 3. $125
* 4. $100
* 5. $75

Most Unique Skin: $250

Users that submit a full PowerArchiver skin (with DirectSkin UIS file, Toolbar and Icons) will receive a free PowerArchiver license!

Users that submit 3 WindowBlinds skins or more (only DirectSkin UIS file, without any extra PowerArchiver icons or toolbars) will receive a free PowerArchiver license!
Special thanks to Drazen Dodig, developer at Conexware and a valued member of our community.

So, what are you waiting for? Get over there and skin!

on Mar 17, 2006
Is there a closing date for the competition? If so, I missed it sorry
on Mar 17, 2006
May 15th...
on Mar 17, 2006
Great to see Stardock once again is being used by other applications. Good going!
on Mar 17, 2006
Thats because they rock .
on Mar 17, 2006
Looks like a great competition for those into skinning Windowblinds....what ya got to lose?.....
on Mar 18, 2006
I thought that Direct was very easy to use. I was wrong. This is my case. To be part of the contest I installed PowerArchiver in my laptop... then I do the same with DirectSkin. Now... when I want to run PowerArchiver bring a Error Warning, so I can't open it.
For the other side, I open Direct skin and... I don't understand how can I use it. There is any tutorial available to teach how to make skins for PowerArchiver? or that is clasified information?

I'm very interested to offer skins for my client's applications... But first I must be sure that I could use it.
on Mar 18, 2006
Skinner D. Arnaez read this page:

For skinning instructions:

You need SkinStudio (the free version will do what you want)

Go here to learn how to use skinstudio:

My understanding is that "direct skin" is an app which the developers of the software use so that the application can be skinned. You don't need to use it to skin the app since the libraries are all ready in the program.
on Mar 18, 2006
DirectSkin is "just" an engine, that is for all purposes compatible with WB skins. You dont need to know anything about DS if you want to create skins for any application using DS. For example, all that is required to "port" your WB skin is to remove all the bits and pieces that you dont need - such as task bars, desktops - you dont have to do that, but there is no reason for skin to be 2MB when it can be 150kb. You could then add PA specific stuff such as toolbar or icons, add your settings.ini and thats it, you have PA skin.

Now, if you want to make your application skinnable with DS, thats something else and you should visit:
on Mar 18, 2006
Thanks sweetasman01 and spwolfx for your helpful answers.

DirectSkin from Stardock is the most popular engine for adding skinning technology to an application and is used by software developers. It is used by some of the biggest companies in the world, including ATI's Catalyst Control Center, Reuters, BellSouth, General Electric and more. But you have to be a programmer to use it.

But because it is based on WindowBlinds technology, WindowBlinds skins can be easily adapted. PowerArchiver presented instructions on exactly what is needed.

Thanks again for the posts.
on Mar 19, 2006
Awesome, gonna check this out
on Mar 21, 2006
PSF files must be in the BH (BlackHole) archive format. Simply create an archive with the following items in BH format and rename it to PSF.

The guide for creating a skin is good and all, but they don't explain what the BlackHole archive format is? Is that a special compression method in their own software?
on Mar 21, 2006
The guide for creating a skin is good and all, but they don't explain what the BlackHole archive format is? Is that a special compression method in their own software?


on Mar 21, 2006

Thought so, just had to be sure.
on Mar 24, 2006
i am sory i am a bit confused.
do we submit a skin for the contest using skinstudio or another application?
i went to the site powerarchiver and did not find a skining program.
so i am guessing by the responce Skinner D.Arnaez got is that we use skinstudio
to make the skin.
if another application is needed please stat wich
on Mar 25, 2006
Dj Cole,

Yes you are correct, you also need an app to make the graphics like Photoshop, Gimp (free) or paintshop Pro etc.

You also need a copy of powerarchiver (the lastest beta) to compress the skin into the correct format.