Hello / Goodbye »

Nimbus - SSC '13 by mangosango in SSC 13 - Windows



Artist Notes

Well, here it is! (finally!). My first submission in nearly 4 years that breaks the food naming scheme :P.

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Shell: Nimbus Shell
  • Video: Nimbus Video Player
  • Audio: Nimbus Audio Player
  • File Browser: Nimbus Shell
  • Browser: Nimbus Web Browser
  • Icons: Nimbus
  • Wall: 90 Mile Beach (colors edited)

  • You might be thinking that this is a good ol Visual Style + TT + Litestep stack, but ohohoho you’d be very wrong.

    edit: sorry for wall of text :P

    My goal for this shot was to re-examine the fundamentals of an OS, and really see what would be possible if you broke all the rules. So I scrapped Litestep and explorer entirety for a completely custom build. Everything you see on-screen (save for the photographs) was hand-designed and hand-coded from scratch. It’s Windows underneath, but a completely different beast on top.

    Nimbus is a shell replacement & app suite that I’m prototyping for large and small screens. The whole thing is scripted in javascript and styled with standard webtech (css + html). This means that everything, everything from the taskbar, to the icons, to the apps and windows themselves are built from the ground up with html, styled with css, and scripted with javascript.

    Using websockets, the shell actually syncs across devices in realtime, so you can move an app running on your desktop to your mobile, just as if your laptop and smartphone were running the same operating system, connected to the same hardware. You can even set it so that your actions on the phone are mirrored (more-or-less) 1:1 on the desktop. The UI is designed so that cross-platform interactions make sense. This is especially nice when using the music & video apps (sit back, and control with your phone :D).

    In terms of usability: It’s a prototype shell. It breaks more often than not, especially when you have multiple devices trying to sync with each other. One great thing about this shell, however, is that it runs seamlessly alongside your existing OS, so I’ve been running it on its own desktop alongside my normal Windows 7 install. I was hoping to upload the mobile shot of the shell too, but I haven’t been able to make it pretty yet. :P

    The shell is very much pre-alpha, but it’s currently running on iPhone, Android, Windows 7, Ubuntu, and (probably OSX :P). Basically, if your device can run a webkit capable browser (preferably chrome), it will run. My goal is to get litestep-levels of customization on all platforms (desktop & mobile) and most basic apps. That release is still a far from happening, but this is the real first step in showing that it’s a feasible idea! I’m super happy with the way this turned out and am happy to share it with you guys first :)

    • Submitted: 05/04/2013
    • Reviews: 27
    • Views: 2935
    • Downloads: 160
    • Admin Rating: 99.00
    • User Rating: 99.05


    Huliporo [100] wrote:



    4nt1p0p [98] wrote:

    Wow, didnt expect to see completely new shell :D
    You did a wonderful job here

    But the placement of explorer arrows on the bottom is strange. It doesnt make sense for me to have navigation seperated to all four corners (especially if one wants to maximize the window).

    Other than that I love this and am very curious about the further plans of yours with this.

    Also, do you plan on staying with whisk names for now? :D


    noka wrote:

    i dont even feel remotely qualified to give you any form of critique (or review) on this after reading that book of a description.

    i’m not even quite sure what i’m looking at here, but it sure looks amazing.


    nuuvo [100] wrote:

    Just like giving Torsten a 100 for finishing the FOURFX suite alone, I’m gonna give you one for designing an entirely new shell, that’s insane! It’s looks really good!

    It would be so cool to ever see an OS or shell that combines the best of OS X and Windows, by combing the OS X menubar with Windows’ taskbar!

    @Kody LOL!

    @mangosango Congrats on the win!!


    Danlo [99] wrote:

    This is so rad and totally amazing!! I´m not a big fan of the UI… the navigation arrows in the explorer seems not much usable. The captions are a bit boring.. and the date is 11 dec 13? haha that would explain why this is so assom… comes from the future!!

    The rest is sleek..and the fact that you can switch to multiple devices is insane… you´re a beast Sang!


    nosphere [99] wrote:

    sir, lemme inform you, you are officially crazy!…

    …or at least a genius emphazising it, showing off his virtuosism and capability of looking beyond what’s available; just… whoa. You’re writing new pages on the deep levels of customization, much respect Sang. (rated 99, because imho; the taskbar still needs a little more work, and… the date… are you sure you’re not from the future?)

    Winner …no, Killer!


    chiwou [99] wrote:

    you should start a github project :P


    neiio [99] wrote:

    It’s a 99!

    Great work my friend. Solid ideas and execution. Really diggin’ the Nimbus Shell.

    I’m thoroughly impressed!


    tokems [98] wrote:

    I call bs. You’re always busy nooping it up on bf3.

    Totally didn’t know you were working on a new shell replacement. I was wondering how you were going to pull it off, but I’m not surprised you did. On the other hand I did like the red windows(youtube?) from your mockup , dunno if you trashed it but it looked real neat.


    yboris [100] wrote:

    Looking forward to trying it out. Hope it runs on Win XP ;)


    TheBoxTheory [100] wrote:

    Speechless.Can’t wait to get it in my hands.Amazing!


    monolithh [97] wrote:

    When are we just going to declare you our God?

    But I agree with 4nt1p0p about the placement of the navigation buttons. It’s an odd placement.


    Nanu [100] wrote:

    Holly hot damn, this is fucking good! A winner is you! Da fuq you make a shell anyways!


    Shady [99] wrote:



    crkd [100] wrote:



    Thomax [100] wrote:

    Decided to review this one last.

    Not sure what to say, really. YOU MADE YOUR OWN FRIGGIN SHELL! Like, who does that? :p

    This is perfect. I once said that I’ll never give out a 100 score because things can always be a bit better, but this just blows my mind. Congratulations on completing customzing. You can now retire and stop making us normal human beings feel bad about our desktops..


    crshd [100] wrote:

    YES! YES! YES! Take all my money now!

    As so often, I agree with Thomax. I don’t usually give out 100s, but I see a lot of innovation here, and this kind of effort needs to be rewarded.


    TheDexter1111 [100] wrote:

    I rose from my eternal sleep to rate this. you are the winner./


    dafmat71 [95] wrote:

    Great job Sang with those shells; even if i’m not particullary fan of the UI, but we can see a lot of works on this screenie, bravo a really masterpiece!


    sbstnc [98] wrote:

    I really like the idea and the color scheme. As well as all the little details. It’s obvious that you spent a lot of time and work on this. Save for the somewhat low-res wallpaper this is perfect as far as design is concerned.

    However I do see a bunch of flaws regarding usability:
    1. The arrangement of the arrows and window close button as pointed out by Danlo.
    2. The static ‘Nimbus Drive’ window title makes it hard to tell which folder is currently open.
    3. Aside from z-order I don’t see a way to tell which window is active.

    Don’t get me wrong this is still an outstanding piece of work, and some of my advice might boil down to taste, but perhaps it can be useful to you in the continued development of this beast.


    mangosango wrote:

    First! Thanks everyone <3. I will get this on github over the next few months :3.

    Thanks for all the great comments :3

    Re: the clock – it’s cuz I time travelled from the future :P (but actually, my timer function was wrong. I have since changed it to get the accurate date/time regardless of the polling rate).

    Re: The toolbar icons. It seemed like a good idea at first because it’s different and actually (a little) easier to press when the window is maximized (just move mouse to either corner and click, without needing to be precise), but I can definitely see the value in having them in their traditional location. Will move back.

    @nuuvo thanks!

    @sbstnc thanks for the great feedback! The window title should be changing, so that’s a bug I need to fix :/. The drop shadow should change depending on which window is focused, but I’ll make that more apparent.

    @Danlo – thanks for that titlebar comment. I added some drop shadow to the text – it looks a bit better now. I think I will keep things simple (and maybe change the colors to be more neutral) so that it doesn’t distract users from the content ;)

    @chiwou – Will get that up and running in the next iteration (it’s just a lot of spaghetti code right now :P).

    @tokems – nonsense, chooder is pro at battlefield. need a revive?

    @4nt1p0p – nah, I think I will go back to food names :)

    @akka – hehe are you on path? I’ve been posting videos of my escapades on there (there are a couple of off-screen videos I took with my phone that show how the interactions sync). and thanks for that dribble link – those icons look great! The taskbar and the app icons are the parts of the interface that I’m least satisfied with, so I’m thankful for any input I can get on those :D

    @josh – Most of the magic is actually done via chrome’s awesome packaged app interface. Most of my work was to get the app to manage applications (it’s still a bit tricky when launching local apps). The rest (like local app launching) is done via a local server running on the machine that executes binaries and delivers files. Right now it’s a bit hacked together and a bunch of spaghetti code, but it’s cool to see it running, even in an unreliable capacity.


    magnet77 [99] wrote:

    a new shell!? ’nuff said – full points!


    Kirchik [100] wrote:

    Perfect !


    Kody [100] wrote:

    hey thanks for winning sang!


    bugzor [100] wrote:



    akka [99] wrote:

    That blue is bold, distinctive, and disarming. The caption and scroll buttons are perfect, nicely rounded to match the theme. That explorer “drawer” is nuts. Everything is nice and clean, with little sacrifice in usability (shell stability aside), something hard to come by.

    The connected device dropdown (and its button) could be more interesting.

    The icons get a little monotonous and lose their individuality fast, when crammed into their container. Consider something like this: http://dribbble.com/shots/1016855-Flat-Design-Icons-Set-Vol1?list=searches&tag=flat_icons where they’re still distinctive, but uniform.

    I’m very intrigued and excited by this shell thing, would love to see videos.

    Great job here. Usable, sexy, and innovative.


    fate0000 [97] wrote:

    This is tough to review because I understand so little about it. I’m really intrigued by the magic that connects the frontend web stuffs to the OS’s. That being said doing your own shell is really something and exactly the kind of bold steps SSC is all about.

    As for the interface, the bright blue caption bars are a nice bold and usable choice against the greyscale wallpaper. Its definitely part of the new “flat” trend I’m seeing around. Everything else is clean and jives together nicely. It might even jive together too nicely as my only gripe is that there are no elements that jump out and excite. Some parts are just a bit vanilla for me.

    In sum a big, \m/ for the audacity of doing your own shell, and despite the large number of words spent on criticism this is an elite submission combined with the high quality interface. Awesome SSC sub.

    Log in or register to post comments and rate submissions!