LiteStep v. 0.24.6 documentation

written by the LiteStep Documentation Effort, August 2000

  .: introduction   .: configuration   .: installation   .: theme installation   .: theme creation   .: development   .: glossary   .: links  
  .: command   .: desktop   .: hotkey   .: litestep   .: lstime   .: popup   .: shortcut   .: systray   .: taskbar   .: vwm   .: wharf  

This list of terms and definitions is here to help you familiarize yourself with the common LiteStep terminology. When you are starting off, you will read and hear reference to many of these terms and you may not know what they are or how to use them. Hopefully this list will help you get started.
!Bang Command A !Bang command is an internal command that controls LiteStep. A more extensive explanation can be found on the Configuration page.
Development Build (Dev Build) Development Builds are updated and temporary distributions of LiteStep and its core modules. For more information, refer to the Development page.
Environment Variables Environment Variables are definitions of directory structures to be referenced elsewhere in the step.rc. A more extensive explanation can be found on the Configuration page.
Eye Candy A term used to describe themes, modules or third-party programs that are visually impressive but which add little, if any, functionality.
Final Release (Stable Release) Like many other large programming projects goals are set and releases are made. A Final Release is the release that arrives once all the goals are met for that part of the project. Along the way there will be many Development Releases which are not considered final. These releases are done to help the development team debug problems along the way towards the Final Release. Check the Links Page to find where you can download a Stable Release.
Magic Pink Yes! LiteStep is magic. Magic Pink refers to the color #FF00FF, which can be used to create a transparent effect in bitmap graphics. Any part of the bitmap that is the color #FF00FF will be transparent through to the desktop and cannot be clicked upon. Most modules support transparency through the use of Magic Pink.
Minimal A term that is used to describe themes that are low on resource use and occupy very little screen "real-estate". These themes are often driven by hotkeys and popups.
Module Modules are small programs or plugins that run within LiteStep to add a new functionality. A more extensive explanation can be found on the Configuration page.
Modules.ini The modules.ini is another configuration file used by LiteStep. It is mainly used by older Wharf modules and rarely requires manual editing.
Open Source Open Source projects are those where the software's source code is publicly available for download and alteration. A key benefit of Open Source software is the fact that many different programmers can locate bugs and contribute to the project's development. LiteStep is released under the GNU General Public License, which can be found in the license.txt file in your LiteStep directory.
Recycle (!Recycle) Each time changes are made to the step.rc, LiteStep must be Recycled to load the new settings before they take place. LiteStep can be recycled by executing the !Bang command !Recycle.
Registry Keys Unlike Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT/2000 does not have a system.ini file. Instead, the shell is set in the registry. For more information on installing LiteStep on Windows NT/2000, refer to the Installation page.
ScreenShot (SS) A screenshot is an image of your current desktop, and is often taken to show the progress of a theme you are designing. Screenshots are best taken in JPEG format so that it is viewable by as many people as possible. There are many programs capable of taking screenshots, or pressing the Print Screen button on the keyboard will copy a screenshot to the clipboard ready to be pasted into a graphics program for saving.
Shell A shell is the Graphical User Interface (GUI) in which you work. The shell used by normal Windows is called Explorer, consisting of the start button, taskbar, and so on. LiteStep is an alternative shell and allows you to replace the typical Windows GUI with a more stable and configurable interface.

Note that LiteStep does not change the actual appearance of application windows and all Windows programs will continue to work normally when using LiteStep. Also, all features of Windows such as the Control Panel, Network Neighbourhood, and so on are still available when using LiteStep.

Shell Manager A Shell Manager is a third-party program that allows you to manage many different shells that you have installed. This is not a feature of LiteStep. Shell Managers are often used for launching different shells for different users (for those who share computers with other users who prefer Explorer) or for crash protection (restarts the shell if it happens to crash). Examples include LiteSpawn, ShellON and Carapace. Refer to the Links page for more information on several popular shell managing programs.
Skinning The act of customizing the appearance of a program or desktop component by creating your own images to replace the original look and feel.
Step.rc The step.rc is the heart of LiteStep: it is a text file containing all configuration for the shell. Some examples are module commands, theme directories, image names, and so on. For more information on the step.rc, refer to the Configuration page.
System.ini This is the Windows 95/98/ME configuration file that is kept in the main Windows folder that needs to be changed in order to run LiteStep. In the [boot] section, the line, shell= needs to be changed to the directory containing LiteStep. For more information on installing LiteStep on Windows 95/98/ME, refer to the Installation page.
Theme A theme is a particular arrangement and configuration of LiteStep and its modules. Themes consist of all the graphics, modules, and configuration files necessary to make LiteStep look and behave a certain way. LiteStep themes can be compared to the concept of Microsoft Plus! Themes, although LiteStep themes are much more advanced in terms of appearance and flexibility.
Window Skinning Applications Third-Party programs that alter the actual appearance of program windows, such as title bars, scroll bars, and menu bars. Examples include WindowBlinds, eFX, and Chroma. For a more extensive list of Windows Skinning Applications, refer to the Links page.
Types of Modules
Apart from the core modules, there is a wide range of third-party modules that add different functionalities to LiteStep. These modules include modules that act as alternatives to the core modules, modules that bring increased functionality to LiteStep, and even modules that control external programs such as mp3 players. Here are some short summaries of the main types of third-party modules.
Shortcuts/Desktop This category contains modules that place items on your desktop, such as clock and calendar modules, alternatives to the core desktop, shortcut and wharf, as well as a range of eye candy modules often seen in screenshots.
Popup Alternatives to the core popup module. These bring new features to the popup menu, such as the ability to have more than one popup, or the ability to have a task list as your popup.
Tasks/Tray A range of modules that allow different representations of currently running tasks and systray icons. Think of these modules as alternatives to the core taskbar and systray modules.
!Bangs This is a large category, containing modules that extend the power and flexibility of LiteStep by making new !Bang commands available to the user. Included here are modules to control volume, screen resolution, and external applications such as WinAmp and mIRC.
Command Line Modules that provide all the functionality of the Windows Run dialog box, as well as the ability to enter LiteStep !Bang commands.
Virtual Windows These modules are alternatives to the core vwm2 module, but with extended features.
Scripting Scripting modules are the key to advanced control of LiteStep. They provide the ability to execute several commands at once, as well allowing the creation of custom !Bang commands.
Wallpaper Modules that give you a range of options for changing and controlling desktop wallpaper.
Wharf This category refers to modules that are loaded within the wharf. Just like the !Bang commands category, there is a huge variety of modules here, including resource monitors, mail checkers, and time modules.
Games Wharf modules of some classic games, including tetris, snake, and pong. Great time-wasting fun can be found here.