Friday February 12, 2021

I remember the times when - as a computer geek - I enthusiastically embraced the idea of customizing Internet Explorer (one of the two most popular web browsers at the time - remember Netscape? :) ) by setting a custom background picture to cover IE’s top toolbars (area with the address bar and a few buttons). If I remember correctly, it was done with the help of a dedicated plugin or extension (remember hotbar.com? :) ). It was pretty exciting to have IE like almost nobody else ;) - I’ve been a great enthusiast of customizing since I remember. Here You are examples of such IE top toolbars backgrounds I’ve applied back then:

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But today, years after those times, the spirit of it showed up again - this time regarding the browser which is currently the leading one (in reality it means all the Chromium-based - I prefer Brave). For a long time it was enough for me just to stick to some favorite Chrome Web Store themes which I’ve found fine enough (regarding my taste). From time to time I feel the need to change something, to refresh the look (& therefore feel) of a thing (exactly the same theme as in case of occasional significant rearrangements of my room which always gave me an ‘energetic boost of the freshness’ in return). I even collect my theme picks from all times ;) within a special text file.

The other day, however, to simply change the theme turned out not to be enough. Probably because I’ve wanted to introduce some more significant change within the browser appearance which is not easy to accomplish regarding my taste. Therefore I’ve turned toward designing my own theme from scratch. I was curious how it could be done. Soon I’ve found an on-line wizard which allows You to design Your Own theme in a straightforward, simplified fashion: just a few clicks & picks and You’ve done :) . But again, as a computer geek I’ve been much more keen toward creating the thing from scratch literally speaking. Besides, I often do not like visual wizards so much because 1) chances are unfortunately not low that the under-the-hood result won’t be clean (e.g., code-wise) and 2) wizards usually don’t provide You with full capacities of the subject matter. So, in case You like to have full control and/or all the possibilities available at hand - WYSIWIG wizards are not the best choice.

So I’ve kept researching the thing till I finally found how to design a theme totally by hand. After a while it became clearly exciting that not only I’ve managed to successfully gain the skill but I’ve realized what fantastic results it can give! The specific one I’m meaning right now is the very similar thing to the Internet Explorer’s toolbar plugin, i.e., You can have Your Own custom background laid onto Chrome/Brave/or other Chromium-based browser top toolbars. And, with a pinch of an aesthetic refinement You can end up with a classy and elegant-looking web browser like never before - which can add an extra flavor into Your everyday surfing, making it more pleasant :) .

Here You are a few screenshots illustrating how it may look like - one of them, btw, contains also my customized new tab page (what You can see once You’ve opened a new tab), since I’ve become bored with stock new tab plugins (which are always limited to a degree).

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And in case You’d like to give it a try Yourself, here You are the theme file (1.47MB).

To Install a Chrome/Chromium-based Browser Theme:

  1. Open Extensions page from the menu (which You can pull out from the top right “hamburger” icon) - You can find it at More tools › Extensions (Chrome) or just Extensions (in Brave).

Alternatively, You can reach the Extensions page simply by paste the following into the address bar and press the Enter key:
chrome://extensions

  1. Enable Developer mode (the top right switch).

  2. Drag’n’drop the theme file You’ve downloaded (Vivienne.crx) into the Extensions page area.

  3. The question “Add Vivienne?” should pop up - confirm by “Add theme”.

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