desckit

Custom desktop wallpaper generator with NodeJS and PhantomJS

npm install desckit
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Desckit

Custom desktop wallpaper generator with NodeJS and PhantomJS

Installation

For Windows, please place the phantomsjs.exe on your PATH.

Clone and run the application on your local computer

$ git clone git://github.com/weisjohn/desckit.git
$ cd desckit
$ npm install
$ node .

Once ready, navigate your browser to http://localhost:1280/assemble/wide/ to preview the wide script and it's output.

To generate a desktop wallpaper append render to the url (like so: http://localhost:1280/assemble/wide/render/ which will create a new file (or overwrite existing one) in /desckit/walls/ directory.

There is a simple reload mechanism that will generate the wallpaper in intervals if you append a seconds interval to the end of the url (like so: http://localhost:1280/assemble/wide/render/60) which will reload the page once every 60 seconds.

Windows Configuration

To display your wallpaper in Windows 7/8 use the built in wallpaper rotation tool.

  1. Right click anywhere on your descktop
  2. Select Personalize (the lower-most item)
  3. Select Desktop Background in the bottom area of the window
  4. Click on Browse... next to Picture location: dropdown
  5. Locate and select the /desckit/walls directory
  6. Select the update interval (I use 1 minute), make sure Shuffle is not marked
  7. Click Save changes

If you configured the application correctly you will now see the generated wallpaper showing on your desktop.

Mac OS X Configuration

To display your wallpaper in Mac OSX use the built in wallpaper rotation tool.

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Select Desktop & Screen Save (in the top-left area)
  3. Click the + button to choose a folder
  4. Locate and select the /desckit/walls directory.
  5. Select the Change picture: interval make sure Random order is not selected

If you configured the application correctly you will now see the generated wallpaper showing on your desktop.

Custom Scripts

The application supports custom scripts to be created. To see existing scripts navigate to /desckit/public/scripts/. Right now there are two scripts, eli1 and wide.

Script Files

There are currently 2 mandatory script files:

  • script.ejs - This is the HTML template for the layout of the desktop wallpaper.
  • script.js - This is the Server-side(!!) script to be run when the script is requested. This runs in your NodeJS instance so you can configure it to do whatever you want that is supported by NodeJS.

Optionally, you can include more files in scripts:

  • script.styl- This is the Stylus CSS source file that will generate a script.css file when needed.

Change those files to create your own customized descktop backgrounds.

Command Line

You can run desckit from the command line as well. This will be the prefered option to run the project in the future.

$ npm install -g desckit

To render the eli1 script only one time (think cron)

$ desckit -S eli1

To re-render every two minutes, specify an interval of 120 seocnds:

$ desckit -S eli1 -I 120

This will create a walls directory wherever you run the command.

Examples

The two provided examples are eli1 and wide, the main difference is that wide-version is created from a wide background image which is scrolled a little bit every time a wallpaper generate, so once it's on desktop it shows a wallpaper that moves just slightly, and creates a more dynamic desktop environment.

Possibilities

Since this is basically a web-page being rendered into a desktop background, there are a lot of things that can be done with it; just to give you some direction:

  • Use HD Youtube or Vimeo videos as backgrounds
  • Display a different style based on the time of day
  • Display news headlines
  • Display HackerNews threads
  • Show top pics from /r/pics/
  • Use parallax effects

Since this is being rendered on a WebKit based browser, basically anything that you can think of creating with HTML5 can be rendered onto your desktop.

Developing

To see the internals of desckit as it operates, set an environment variable for DEBUG equal to desckit, such as:

$ DEBUG=desckit node-dev app.js 
  desckit Express server listening on port 1280 +0ms
  desckit GET /assemble/foggy/render/10 +1s

We do this to help the command-line tool version output clean.

General Information

At this point the application is in preview/alpha version designed to show the capabilities of this technique. Most of the configuration is hard-coded (like the screen-resolution), you are welcome to change it to fit your needs. Some of the modules used are outdated (like datejs), and in general this is a work in progress aimed at hackers rather than the end-user at this point.

The Future

The goals for this project are:

  1. Createa community around the project
  2. Create a simple and easy to use way to generate custom wallpapers using a Wysiwyg style designer
  3. Create modular widgets that could be configured to the users needs and wants
  4. Create integration with sites like Github, CSSDeck, jsfiddle along with an internal way to store users styles/designs
  5. Create a gallery of designs with ranking so users who are not into creating their own custom design could select an existing design, add or remove certain modules, and use it without hacking any code
  6. Provide an easy API to allow use of the software on mobile phones and tablets

This is the very first step, unveiling the concept idea, and showing the very rudimentary capabilities, the next step will be decided by you, the user.

Contact

Created by Eli Sklar

Email: eli.sklar@gmail.com

Twitter: @EliSklar

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