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Daily Dilbert Cartoon Docklet for ObjectDock


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Important: I will not be updating this thread anymore, the docklet has been released under another name and now includes more options it's new thread is here (http://www.aqua-soft.org/board/showthread.php?t=50914).

Well this one is a request by Ghostwalker, well at least partially.

This docklet will let you download & display the current comic strip from Dilbert's RSS feed. It downloads the feed, parses it and let you select any stip from the last week since today.

When you click on the docklet icon the currently selected strip (today by default) will be shown. You can select previous strips using the conext menu.

This is a really early alpha, currently I have not setup any skinning (for the comic frame) configuration dialog (but I will add it later). Nevertheless. it is not difficult to skin just overwrithe the PNG's in the icons folder with yours (all should be 35x35 png's).

If you do not like the frame, simply rename the png's


- 12/09/2008:

+ Well after receiving way a lot of help and advice from matonge (thank you man!) I managed to compose the comic strip & skinned frame from the alpha-channel transparent png's (look at the preview). Now the docklet correctly meges the frame with it's sorroundings with proper alpha-blend (it looks quite nice).

+ To close the strip simply click the docklet icon again, clicking on the strip will launch your preferred browser and will open Dilbert's official page for that comic strip.

+ The image will be downloaded once and cached in memory, so the next time the strip is shown it will be a lot faster (will not be downloaded again)... I think I will add some options to control if the images will be cached in memory or not. Changing to a different strip do invalidates the cache, so the image will be downloaded again.

- 10/12/2008:

+ Added support (well limited) for configuring the RSSFeed (right now by editing the CurrentTheme.ini file) so other comic feeds could be used. (Works with matonga's posted URL for garfield comic strip rss feed).

+ Added simple animation to show the comic strip (very alpha, actually just an experiment while I get a decent animation done).

- 11/12/2008:

+ Solved a severe memory leaking error that I discovered yesterday. The animation works fine now (it does a simple fade-in+zoom when showing the strip and fade-out+minimize when hiding it).

- 12/12/2008:

+ Added configuration options (and a new tabbed configuration dialog) that supports configuring the source RSS Feed, icons, images and several other options to ease skinning. Note: Not all options are functional yet!

+ Added several skins (must be copied to the icons directory until I finish the configuration for skins) contributed by Ghostwalker (thanks man!).

- 13/12/2008:

+ Configuration dialog almost complete... all functionallity is usable now (includying skin support - v.0.1,0,3d).

- 17/12/2008:

+ Configuration dialog is complete now. Also solved a little bug that flahed the strip while fading-out.

- 19/12/2008:

+ Skin elements are not restricted to 35x35 px images. It now supports different image sizes (it even let you have different image sizes for each element, the windows does proper adjustments to compose the frame as needed).

- 20/12/2008:

+ Fixed skin code to accomodate for elements larger than 35x35 and added an option for absolute dimension skins. Also added a couple of new skins by Ghostwalker and a new one by myself to test absolute dimension skins. (Contact me for additional info on absolute dimensions skinning).

Known issues:

+ The stip is shown at the center of your desktop (will change that later if your feedback tells me to do so)

+ I do not have a skin that's not 35x35 so I was not able to fully test the new skin support. UPDATE: fixes provided for Ghostwalker skins.

If you want to help me debug this during development download it and give it a try.

I will add support for other comics strips (maybe from comics.com or gocomics.com), I am not sure if I will create a sepparate docklet for them... but this one will be the test base.

Any comments & suggestions are surely welcome.

Dowload the early preview from:

Not available anymore




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That's my intention... I am not sure if I will create a separate docklet for them... the concept behind the dilber docklet is their RSS feed... if those comics are based on a feed I think I can modify this one without much trouble...

I was thinking on creating one that would get the strips from gocomics.com... they (I believe) do not have an RSS feed per strip... so I can get the current one... but then I would be able to retrieve any comic on that site provided the user configures the right URL for the comic...

The dilbert one was the test project for this one... currently I would like to add some animation to the comic strip show/hide (as in your stacks docklet)... I was thinking something like genie or suck... but I do not have much idea on how to achieve that. latest build simply fades in/out the comic.

This docklet is great!

Can you add support for other comics such as Garfield and Piled Higher and Deeper?




Edit: I have taken a look at the first link, it is an RSS feed that is actually quite similar to the Dilbert's one... it would be really easy to create a Daily Garfield Cartoon Docklet... as soon as I get the animation done & the skinning configuration options I will create it for you, the same goes for the second one... mhmm it seems that there is some kind of standard feed for these comics... if that's so, maybe we could get a "Daily Cartoon Docklet" that could be configured for certain feed to retrieve the comics from.

Edit 2: Good news.... although the docklet does not still supports the feeds you mentioned, it is easy to get them consumed by it... simply open the CurrentTheme.ini for ObjectDock, look for the configuration options for Dilbert Docklet and change the RssFeed to the desired feed:


it will process the feed and download the proper images... on the other hand, this quick fix did not worked with the second feed... I will need to take a closer look at the HTML to do some modifications to the code.

Edit 3: I have updated the docklet to support both feeds... (BTW: how to you cross text.. I have found no such option in the forum while posting).

I will add an option for setting the RssFeed URL so you can change it from the config dialog.



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It's not the label actually, as a matter of fact it is the Strip Title (which happens to be "Comic for [date]"... I will add a configuration dialog for skinning the frame but I would like to first polish an animation for showing/hiding the strip.

I will also add separate background/font color for the strip title/link and support for rounded/square/no border for the text

This is the docklet with a red skin I created yesterday.

Cool will put together some window skins. If you could add a skin option for the window instead of just replacing the window images that would be a plus. Also the "Label" does not seem to work it should say Daily Dilbert Comic and instead it is showing the the date of the comic.


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Actually I want something flahier... like the genie (aladdin) or suck effect some docklets have... I will try to implement those.

In the mean time, I am going to add the skinning features and configuration options for other comic RSS Feeds... (at least the two mentioned by matonga do work now).

Animations seem fine here.
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Ok, edited DockletsSettings.ini (I use Rocket Dock) and it loads PhD feeds just fine.

What about starting with something simple, like a zoom effect, starting from the docklet icon and finishing in the screen center?

You could achieve that with your current animation as is, by calling SetWindowPos in each step, moving the window from DockletGetRect to screen center.

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Yep... that's something I have thoght too... it's just a bit out of my coding skills yet... but who knows... if I got the time I may do that too.

It's be cool if you could do a "flyout" docklet (like Objectdocks weather docklet) that when you hover over it you get flyouts of several comics to choose from
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I have updated the docklet to solve a memory leak that caused instability after showing/hiding the comic strip window several times.

Tomorrow I will add the frame configuration dialog (for skinning the comic strip frame) and the RSSFeed configuration options so the docklet will be able to show other comics feeds.

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