© 2001-2003 The Blackbox for Windows Development Team
Blackbox for Windows is yet another addition to the long list of alternative shells for Microsoft Windows.
It is based stylistically on the Blackbox window manager for the X Window System by Brad Hughes,
however it does not use the same codebase except for the gradient rendering code.
From the time the first line of code was written, Blackbox has evolved around one premise, minimalism.
It is just meant to be fast.
It's not meant to be Eye Candy (even though it is fairly simple to make it look really cool!), nor is it meant to be the most fully featured shell out there.
The foundation of Blackbox for Windows is a rather unique feature: full cross-platform support.
This means that a theme (or style as it is called in *nix) can be taken directly from *nix and used in Windows with little or no difference in appearance. This is rather handy, as it means that unlike most other shells the themes don't have to be custom created for the shell.
The entire archive - hundreds of styles! - over at themes.freshmeat.net can be used in Blackbox for Windows. You can even use the .blackboxrc and menu files directly. For a *nix user, this means you can bring all of your Blackbox configuration files over to Windows, make only one or two changes, and get an identical interface.
Blackbox for Windows differs from most other alternative shells as it has a clear design goal to work towards: To make it as similar as possible to the *nix version.
Naturally, some minor changes/improvements have been allowed in areas where it was deemed beneficial to the user (or simply because it was an essential feature in the Windows environment).
That said, the aim of the development team is to follow Blackbox for *nix as closely as possible.
Just as in the original version for the X Window System, Blackbox for Windows uses its own graphics class to render its images on the fly. By using style files, you can determine to a great extent what your interface will look like.
As of November 2002, Blackbox for Windows provides a toolbar with task and workspace (VWM) switching, a main menu from which you can launch applications, another menu that provides workspace and tasks features,
a built-in Windows system tray / taskbar, and a special way of handling minimized tasks: When you minimize a window, no icon appears; instead you can view all minimized applications in the 'Icons' submenu of the workspace menu. Your desktop will never get cluttered with icons!
As an alternative to minimizing, shaded windows are provided: A double click on the titlebar of a window will shade it (i.e. the window will resize to show only the titlebar).
Finally, Blackbox for Windows also features a sophisticated plugin architecture and API for third party developers.