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Mathwiz

Themes for Firefox / Serpent browsers

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Posted (edited)

When Mozilla nuked all "legacy" add-ons from AMO, it appears they also nuked all the "legacy" themes for the older browsers too. At least, the only the ones I could find at AMO were for Firefox 53 and up. But while developers have created several repositories of legacy add-ons, I'm not aware of any repository for legacy themes. This has left users of Firefox 52.9 (and @roytam1's Serpent) without a lot of options to change the look and feel of these browsers.

For Serpent 52, about the only theme I found besides the default is a "Photon" theme, available at addons.basilisk-browser.com. It does a good job of making Serpent 52 look like the newer Firefox browsers, but "Photon" isn't everyone's cup of tea.

Serpent 55 does have a couple of built-in themes besides the default: a "dark" and a "light" theme. The "Photon" theme doesn't work with Serpent 55, but even if it did, that's still not a huge selection of themes. And while Serpent 55 was forked from Firefox 53, none of the Firefox 53 themes I tried would work with it; it just kept saying the downloaded theme "appears to be corrupt."

(Digression: I remember having that problem with an "ID-less" add-on not that long ago, and the Firefox 53 themes indeed seem to be "ID-less." But going through the rigamarole of inserting an ID into manifest.json and removing the META-INF digital signature folder still doesn't allow these themes to install. It would be nice if these browsers could provide error messages more meaningful than "appears to be corrupt.")

And of course Firefox 52.9 doesn't even have those limited options! :realmad:

So the purpose of this topic is twofold: One, to solicit knowledge about legacy themes that can be downloaded and installed on these browsers; two; to share tricks that might allow more "modern" themes to work.

With that in mind, I'll share my first trick. Firefox and Serpent also have a few hidden "developer" themes built in. Unfortunately, to enable them you have to run some Javascript:

LightweightThemeManager.addBuiltInTheme({
          id: "firefox-devedition@mozilla.org",
          name: "Developer Edition",
          headerURL: "resource:///chrome/browser/content/browser/defaultthemes/devedition.header.png",
          iconURL: "resource:///chrome/browser/content/browser/defaultthemes/devedition.icon.png",
          author: "Mozilla"
        });

Ideally, we'd like to run that when the browser starts; but none of the normal tricks for running JavaScript at browser startup (such as an Autoconfig script) seem to work! So I had to resort to an add-on: http://userchromejs.mozdev.org. Click on v2.0 and tell the browser to allow the add-on to be installed. You'll need to restart the browser when prompted to finish the installation.

The add-on creates a file named userchrome.js in the "chrome" subfolder of your profile folder and runs any JavaScript you put in there when the browser starts, so you can just paste the above code at the top (or bottom) of your new userchrome.js file, and restart your browser again. Now type about:addons, press Enter, and click on "Themes" or "Appearance" (whichever one your browser uses) and you'll see a new "Developer Edition" theme listed that you can enable.

Even better, the "Developer Edition" theme is actually three themes in one! To see them all, press F12, then click the "Gear" icon near the top right of the developer window that comes up. This will bring up a bunch of options; the one you care about is the "Themes" set of radio buttons near the top middle of the developer window. You can select any of the three "sub-themes" listed, then close the developer window with the X at the top right.

OK, now it's your turn. Anyone know of any good themes for these browsers that can be downloaded and installed (ideally for free)? What are your favorites? Any tricks for using, say, Firefox 53 themes on these other browsers?

Edited by Mathwiz

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You can download a new (FF53+) theme that you like, extract the xpi with 7 zip or maybe winrar, it's just a fancy zip.

Inside you'll see the actual banner image, which is the theme. You can get the "Personas Plus" add-on for the Classic Addons Archive, which you can use the image you extracted to remake the theme using this add-on.

More information on using Personas Plus:
https://www.howtogeek.com/203803/HOW-TO-CREATE-YOUR-OWN-FIREFOX-BROWSER-THEME/


This isnt a beautiful process, but it works fine.
:)

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A note on Personas Plus and Serpent 55: Serpent 55 will support the new WE versions of Personas Plus (2.01 through 2.03) but the UI is totally different and didn't seem to work, or at least, I couldn't figure it out.

The latest legacy version is 1.83 but the preferences dialog was incomplete with that version, so I rolled back to version 1.78, which seems to work just fine.

Don't know if Serpent 52 or Firefox 52.9 would have similar issues with Personas Plus or not.

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Posted (edited)

I can confirm that Seamonkey themes work on Serpent 55, so probably all the others too. Interesting given the significant UI differences between:

  • Seamonkey/BNavigator
  • PM/NM
  • FF/Serpent

Edit: In Serpent 55 you can set pref extensions.getAddons.themes.browseURL to https://addons.thunderbird.net/EN-us/seamonkey/themes/, then the Seamonkey themes page will come up when you click the "Choose from thousands of themes" link on the Themes / Appearance section of the about:addons page. (Only Serpent 55 seems to have this link or pref.)

Edited by Mathwiz

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