Backdrop EZ Documentation
Software Version 2.1
Released February 26, 2004

Written by Josh Freeman
©1999-2004, Twilight Edge Software
All Rights Reserved


About Backdrop EZ
System Requirements
Archive Distribution
Disclaimer
BackdropEZ.zip Archive Contents
Download
Quickstart
Installing And Selecting Backgrounds
Background Brightness & Contrast
Backdrop EZ Settings
Application Settings
Where To Find Backgrounds
Creating Your Own Background Images
Deleting Backgrounds
Registering Backdrop EZ
Workarounds For Background Incompatibilities
Version History
Twilight Edge Software Contact Info



About Backdrop EZ
    Backdrop EZ is a shareware application for greyscale Palm OS devices that lets you personalize your handheld by installing a custom background image or animation that stays in place while other apps run! You also have full control over which apps will display the background!



System Requirements
    Backdrop EZ requires:
- A greyscale Palm OS device running Palm OS 3.5 - 4.1
- A 160x160 screen (Sony Clie 320x320 screens are also supported but are limited to low-resolution mode)
- At least 200K of free storage memory on your handheld (More memory is needed for animated backgrounds)

    Below is a list of supported devices:
- Palm: Zire, m500, m125, m105, m100, i705, VIIx, Vx, V, IIIxe, IIIx, IIIe
- Handspring: Visor Pro, Visor Platinum, Visor Neo, Visor Edge, Treo 180, Treo 180g
- Sony: S300 series, SL series, T400 series, N300 series
- IBM: WorkPad c3, WorkPad c500
- HandEra: TRGpro

     Please note:
- Greyscale devices running Palm OS 3.3 & earlier are supported by older versions of Backdrop
- Backdrop is also available for color devices: Backdrop GC



Archive Distribution
    Backdrop EZ and TrapWeaver are shareware. The 'backdropez.zip' archive may be freely distributed, provided its contents are not changed in any way. If you distribute the archive on a website or with a software collection, please notify the author. Any form of distribution that charges the user a fee, such as a commercial software collection, must clearly state that the user is purchasing unregistered copies which will require additional payments to register.



Disclaimer
    All Twilight Edge software titles are provided as is, and are not guaranteed to be free of bugs. The author assumes no responsibility for problems resulting from the use of these products. Installing and/or executing this software means you agree to the above terms.

If you find a bug, please report it, along with the following info:

- Device type
- Palm OS system version
- Amount of free memory
- List of apps installed (if possible)
- Special options (Springboard module, memory upgrade, etc.)



BackdropEZ.zip Archive Contents
BackdropEZ.prc  - Backdrop EZ application
TWeaver.prc     - TrapWeaver application (required to run Backdrop EZ)
earth.pdb       - sample background image
globespin.pdb   - sample background animation
bdez_docs.html  - Backdrop EZ Documentation



Download
Backdrop EZ, Version 2.1



Quickstart
If you have previous versions of Backdrop EZ or TrapWeaver on your Palm device, please uninstall & delete them before installing the new versions.

To Install Backdrop EZ:

    1. Download 'BackdropEZ.prc' and 'TWeaver.prc' to your Palm device.
    2. Run TrapWeaver
    3. Press the 'Install' button

The following step will reset your Palm device:

    4. Press the 'OK' button on the 'Engage TrapWeaving' dialog
    5. After reset, run Backdrop EZ
    6. Press the 'Install' button

To Uninstall Backdrop EZ:

    1. Run Backdrop EZ
    2. Press the 'Uninstall' button

If you wish to delete Backdrop EZ or TrapWeaver from your device, please uninstall them first. Deleting the apps without uninstalling them will leave their system patches and functionality in place until the device is reset.



Installing And Selecting Backgrounds
    Backdrop EZ comes with only one background built in - the default background. Any additional backgrounds must be installed individually onto your device as separate files, using your Palm Desktop's Install tool. (The 'BackdropEZ.zip' archive contains two additional background files ready for installation: 'earth.pdb' and 'globespin.pdb' - for more backgrounds, see Where To Find Backgrounds).
    Once a background file has been loaded onto your device, it will appear in the list of available backgrounds displayed in Backdrop EZ's 'Background' tab. To install a particular background, select its name from this list.
    For background images, the preferred size is 160x160; Backdrop EZ won't read images smaller than this, and if they are much larger, they may take up too much memory to load.
    If the selected background image is bigger than 160x160, an 'Align' button will appear on the right side of the 'Background' tab area. Pressing this button will bring you to the alignment screen, where you may drag the image with your stylus to center it. Once you are done aligning, tap the graffiti area or press any of the hardware buttons to return to the main form.



Background Brightness & Contrast
    The brightness of the background may need to be adjusted in order to maintain the legibility of the foreground. This is done by using your device's contrast control, which is either a system contrast dialog or, on older devices, a hardware contrast wheel.
    Use the contrast control while running any application to adjust the background's brightness to the darkest level that will still allow you to comfortably read the foreground. While running Backdrop EZ, you can also bring up the system contrast dialog by pressing the 'Adjust Background Brightness...' button at the bottom of the 'Background' and the 'Settings' tabs.



Backdrop EZ Settings
    Tap the 'Settings' tab if it is not already in the foreground. When the 'Settings' tab is selected, a list of customizable settings will be displayed:

- Reinstall On Reset
    Checking this box causes Backdrop EZ to automatically reinstall itself when the device is reset; Otherwise you will have to reinstall Backdrop EZ manually.

- Display As Startup Screen
    This option will delay drawing the foreground when the device gets turned on, displaying the background image as a startup screen. The startup screen will only be shown when the device has been turned on from the power button, not from any of the other buttons.
    The user can choose how long to display the startup screen by selecting from the Delay: drop-down menu. To instantly bring up the foreground while the startup screen is being displayed, tap the screen or press a button.

- Invert Backlight
    Most greyscale devices have backlights that invert the screen, which causes the background to appear as a negative. This option automatically inverts the screen again whenever the backlight is activated so the background displays properly.

- Run Disabled Apps In 16-Greys
    Some older devices have screens that do not maintain the correct contrast setting when switching to a different color depth. This requires adjustment of the contrast every time the device switches from an application with a background (which runs in 16-Grey depth) to an application that has the background disabled (which defaults to Black&White depth).
    If you find you have to readjust the contrast when running background-disabled apps, use this option to run those apps in 16 greys. This leaves the screen in 16-Grey mode so it does not switch depths and affect the contrast.

- Trim Menu Borders
    Checking this box removes the white border that is drawn around the menu bar and menus. (This option only applies to Grey foreground color modes, which are explained in the next section.)

- Trim Dialog Corners
    Checking this box removes the square white corners that stick out behind a dialog's rounded corners. (This option only applies to Grey foreground color modes, which are explained in the next section.)



Application Settings
    Backdrop EZ lets you choose the applications for which the background will be displayed and also control their foreground color mode. Hiding the background may be required for compatibility with some apps, and for others it may improve foreground legibility. Alternatively, using a lower-depth (Black&White) foreground color mode may also allow Backdrop EZ to work with applications that don't display properly in the default (Grey) mode.
    Tap the 'Apps' tab if it's not already in the foreground. When the 'Apps' tab is selected, a list of all the applications installed on your device will be displayed, along with each app's current foreground color mode setting. (Color mode settings are explained below.)
    The first application name on the list will always be '(Default)'. This entry is the default setting which is used for all apps that have their color mode set to '(Default)', as well as for any apps that have been installed on your device since the last time you updated Backdrop EZ's app settings.
    To hide the background when a certain app runs, simply uncheck the box next to its name in the list. You can find an app in the list either by using the form's scrollbar or by entering a single character - this will immediately scroll the list to the first name that begins with that letter.
    You may notice that some app names have no checkboxes next to them - this is because Backdrop EZ has a default list of incompatible apps, and it won't allow you to display the background when one of them runs.

Foreground Color Modes
    To change an app's foreground color mode setting, select an item from the popup list next to its name:

    Grey: This mode will display the foreground in 16-greys, which allows menus, dialogs, and controls to be drawn in solid (opaque) colors.

    Grey, B&W icns: This is the default foreground color mode for all apps when you first install Backdrop EZ; 'Grey, B&W icns' mode, like 'Grey' mode, displays the foreground in 16-Greys, however, it attempts to draw bitmaps and icons in Black&White. This is because most greyscale icons do not have a transparency mask, so displaying them in 16-Greys causes the bitmaps/icons to draw a surrounding white rectangle that obscures the background.

    B&W: This mode displays the foreground in Black&White, which makes all menus, dialogs, and controls transparent. This is the mode that the Backdrop EZ application itself runs in (to prevent the main Backgrounds list from obscuring the background), and is a useful mode for applications that are not compatible with, or run too slow in, the Grey modes.

    OFF: This mode hides the background while the application runs. (This is the same as unchecking the app's checkbox.)

    (Default): This mode makes the app run in the mode that has been selected as the default setting.


    At the bottom of the form, there is a 'Set All To:' button. Pressing this button will set all of the application mode settings to the color mode that is currently selected from the popup list immediately to the right of the button.
    Pressing the 'Revert' button will undo any changes you have made since entering the 'Apps' tab.



Where To Find Backgrounds
    There are a number of backgrounds available as free downloads on the Twilight Edge Software website: You can find images on the Grey Images Page and animations on the Grey Animations Page.



Creating Your Own Background Images
    Backdrop EZ reads images in the FireViewer format. There are several utilities listed below which will allow you to convert images from other popular graphics formats such as BMP, GIF, and JPEG.

Limitations
There are some limitations on the types of FireViewer images that Backdrop EZ can use for backgrounds:

    Size: The preferred size for a background image is 160x160; Backdrop EZ won't read anything smaller or too much larger than this.

    Depth: The image must be converted to 4-bit greyscale or less. Color images are not supported.

    Compression: Backdrop EZ cannot read images converted with FireViewer's high compression. Please convert your images with standard or no compression.


Image Conversion Utilities
There are several utilities for converting images to FireViewer format:

    On the Web: You can use Firepad's online image converter. Please make sure that the compression option is unchecked and you choose a color depth of 16-level grey or less.

    On your PC: You can use Firepad's FireConverter, which is included with Firepad Picture Viewer.

    On your Mac: You can use Lemke Software's Graphic Converter. To convert, select 'FireViewer PDB (*.PDB)' as the format from the 'Save As...' dialog. Verify that you're saving to the correct depth and compression type by pressing the 'Save As...' dialog's 'Options' button.


If you've created a custom background you'd like to share, please send in the image or a URL for posting on the sample images page.



Deleting Backgrounds
    If there are backgrounds you want to delete, select 'Delete Backgrounds...' from Backdrop EZ's 'Options' menu to go to the 'Delete Backgrounds' form. Click on a background's name in the list to delete it. (You will be given a chance to confirm this).



Registering Backdrop EZ
    Backdrop EZ is shareware. If you decide to keep it, please register it. Registration will remove the 'UNREGISTERED' message in the background and also entitles you to future versions of Backdrop EZ, free of charge. If you upgrade to a color device, your registration code will also work to unlock Backdrop GC for color devices.
    Backdrop EZ may be registered for $15.99 through our Web Store or by using PayPal. When purchasing, please make sure you include your correct, case-sensitive HotSync username, as this will be used to generate the registration code.
    Once your registration has been processed, you should receive your code by email within a few days. Enter the code in the registration window by selecting 'Register...' from Backdrop EZ's 'Options' menu. Please save your code, as you will need it for future versions, or if you have to reinstall Backdrop EZ after a hard reset.



Workarounds For Background Incompatibilities
    Some applications may not run or display properly when there is a background in place. There are three possible workarounds:

1. Hide the background when the application runs
    Go to Backdrop EZ's 'Apps' tab and uncheck the box next to the app's name in the application list.

2. Run the application in the Black&White foreground color mode
    Go to Backdrop EZ's 'Apps' tab and select 'B&W' from the color mode popup next to the app's name in the list.

3. Manually set the app's colors to use Backdrop EZ's transparency color
    A small number of applications allow the user to customize the interface colors. If an app obscures the background when it runs, but allows you to set the window's background fill color, use that app's controls to set the background fill color to the second lightest of the 16 shades of grey. Backdrop EZ renders this particular grey shade as transparent, so anything that's drawn with that color will allow the background to show through.

Workarounds for specific applications:

Launcher X:
    Problem: The background is hidden behind Launcher X's tabs.
    Workaround: Manually set Launcher X's colors to use Backdrop EZ's transparency color.
    Steps:
     For each of Launcher X's category tabs:
      1. Tap the tab to bring it to the front.
      2. Select 'Edit This Category...' from Launcher X's 'Options' menu to bring up the 'Category Properties' dialog.
      3. Click on the 'Advanced' button on the 'Category Properties' dialog to display the advanced properties.
      4. Click on the small box next to 'Canvas:' to bring up the 'Pick Color' dialog.
      5. Select the second-brightest grey by clicking on the second box in the first row. The background of the 'Pick Color' dialog should become transparent and let the background show through.
      6. Click 'OK' to dismiss the 'Pick Color' dialog and return to the 'Category Properties' dialog.
      7. Click 'OK' to dismiss the 'Category Properties' dialog and return to the current category tab. The background should now be showing through.
      8. Repeat steps 1-7 for each of the remaining category tabs.

SilverScreen
    Problem: Icons have white rectangles that obscure the background.
    Workaround: Run SilverScreen in the Black&White foreground color mode.
    Steps:
      1. Run Backdrop EZ and click on the 'Apps' tab to bring it to the front.
      2. Scroll to 'silver' in the applications list and select 'B&W' from the 'Color Mode' popup next to its name.



Version History
2.1 (02/26/04)
    - Opaque menus, dialogs and controls for improved screen clarity
    - Added limited compatibility for 320x320 Sony Clies (Low-resolution mode only)
    - Improved app settings controls
    - Now compatible with ScreenShot hack (version 1.8 and later)

1.31 (03/27/02)
    - Compatible with OS 4.1
    - Supports FireConverter 6.0 (Standard or No compression only)

1.3 (09/11/01)
    - Redesigned UI
    - Added option to lock foreground to B&W mode for compatibility with some greyscale apps
    - Compatible with OS 4.0

1.25 (11/20/00)
    - Compatible with OS 3.5
    - Minor bug fixes

1.2  (11/01/99)
    - Startup screen option
    - Reinstall on reset option
    - Compatible with OS 3.3
    - Updated new Twilight Edge email address in docs & about box.

1.1  (06/19/99)
    - 8-color backgrounds: Now reads 4-bit Image Viewer (now FireViewer) images
    - Faster screen drawing routines
    - Reduced memory requirements by 20K (Now 120K)
    - Fixed background shimmering on the Palm IIIx with OS 3.1.1
    - Updated new Twilight Edge homepage info in docs & app dialogs

1.0  (03/31/99)
    - Initial release



Twilight Edge Software Contact Info

Twilight Edge Software Home Page
Software Support