DeTECHtive – Chrome Theme Changer

I built a theme manager for Google Chrome! with over 1 Million downloads in 2008

Back in 2008, it was a different time. Applications were far more limited, and so we IT folks had to get creative with our work. I loved Chrome from day one. I was a bit of a fan. However, it lacked the ability to customize the UI, and in those days, I felt all the need to have my desktop running in cool matrix digits. So I did the only thing I could, I made a chrome theme editor with over 1 million downloads(unfortunately, that was via a third-party download site which is no longer around to screenshot.)

Life hacker article written about Automatic Theme Switcher (before I called it Xchrome)

After gaining popularity and solidifying its purpose, I renamed the project Xchrome. A few primary features developed into this app that I had not faced before were:

  • Registering a windows protocol so you could use chrometheme://URLOFTHEME, and it would launch our app from the browser, allowing instant shortcuts to new thems from websites.
  • Compression, when users created a new theme in our editor, it would compress the theme into an easy-to-install EXE to share with others that could be imported into our theme manager.
  • A live community of thousands grew very quickly and I had to manage that community with only help from a few dedicated fans.
  • Basic product version control and distribution
  • Logo design
  • Basic UX
After the rebrand to Xchrome with a theme builder allowing users to build their own themes, compile them and distribute them to other chrome users
Chromespot post with over 10000 views.

The community around this product was very strong here is a forum post with 10k views

This is one of my projects that I was proud to be a part of and enjoyed creating and supporting, Chrome now has this feature built-in and my application rendered obsolete. I leave this page as a homage.