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# Linux GTK Theme Integration
The GTK+ port of Chromium has a mode where we try to match the user's GTK theme
(which can be enabled under Settings -> Appearance -> Use GTK+ theme).
# GTK3
At some point after version 57, Chromium will switch to using the GTK3 theme by
## How Chromium determines which colors to use
GTK3 added a new CSS theming engine which gives fine-tuned control over how
widgets are styled. Chromium's themes, by contrast, are much simpler: it is
mostly a list of about 80 colors (see //src/ui/native_theme/native_theme.h)
overridden by the theme. Chromium usually doesn't use GTK to render entire
widgets, but instead tries to determine colors from them.
Chromium needs foreground, background and border colors from widgets. The
foreground color is simply taken from the CSS "color" property. Backgrounds and
borders are complicated because in general they might have multiple gradients or
images. To get the color, Chromium uses GTK to render the background or border
into a 24x24 bitmap and uses the average color for theming. This mostly gives
reasonable results, but in case theme authors do not like the resulting color,
they have the option to theme Chromium widgets specially.
## Note to GTK theme authors: How to theme Chromium widgets
Every widget Chromium uses will have a "chromium" style class added to it. For
example, a textfield selector might look like:
.window.background.chromium .entry.chromium
If themes want to handle Chromium textfields specially, for GTK3.0 - GTK3.19,
they might use:
/* Normal case */
.entry {
color: #ffffff;
background-color: #000000;
/* Chromium-specific case */
.entry.chromium {
color: #ff0000;
background-color: #00ff00;
For GTK3.20 or later, themes will as usual have to replace ".entry" with
The list of CSS selectors that Chromium uses to determine its colors is in
# GTK2
Chromium's GTK2 theme will soon be deprecated, and this section will be removed.
## Describing the previous heuristics
The heuristics often don't pick good colors due to a lack of information in the
GTK themes. The frame heuristics were simple. Query the `bg[SELECTED]` and
`bg[INSENSITIVE]` colors on the `MetaFrames` class and darken them
slightly. This usually worked OK until the rise of themes that try to make a
unified titlebar/menubar look. At roughly that time, it seems that people
stopped specifying color information for the `MetaFrames` class and this has
lead to the very orange chrome frame on Maverick.
`MetaFrames` is (was?) a class that was used to communicate frame color data to
the window manager around the Hardy days. (It's still defined in most of
[XFCE's themes]( In
chrome's implementation, `MetaFrames` derives from `GtkWindow`.
If you are happy with the defaults that chrome has picked, no action is
necessary on the part of the theme author.
## Introducing `ChromeGtkFrame`
For cases where you want control of the colors chrome uses, Chrome gives you a
number of style properties for injecting colors and other information about how
to draw the frame. For example, here's the proposed modifications to Ubuntu's
style "chrome-gtk-frame"
ChromeGtkFrame::frame-color = @fg_color
ChromeGtkFrame::inactive-frame-color = lighter(@fg_color)
ChromeGtkFrame::frame-gradient-size = 16
ChromeGtkFrame::frame-gradient-color = "#5c5b56"
ChromeGtkFrame::scrollbar-trough-color = @bg_color
ChromeGtkFrame::scrollbar-slider-prelight-color = "#F8F6F2"
ChromeGtkFrame::scrollbar-slider-normal-color = "#E7E0D3"
class "ChromeGtkFrame" style "chrome-gtk-frame"
### Frame color properties
These are the frame's main solid color.
| **Property** | **Type** | **Description** | **If unspecified** |
| `frame-color` | `GdkColor` | The main color of active chrome windows. | Darkens `MetaFrame::bg[SELECTED]` |
| `inactive-frame-color` | `GdkColor` | The main color of inactive chrome windows. | Darkens `MetaFrame::bg[INSENSITIVE]` |
| `incognito-frame-color` | `GdkColor` | The main color of active incognito windows. | Tints `frame-color` by the default incognito tint |
| `incognito-inactive-frame-color` | `GdkColor` | The main color of inactive incognito windows. | Tints `inactive-frame-color` by the default incognito tint |
### Frame gradient properties
Chrome's frame (along with many normal window manager themes) have a slight
gradient at the top, before filling the rest of the frame background image with
a solid color. For example, the top `frame-gradient-size` pixels would be a
gradient starting from `frame-gradient-color` at the top to `frame-color` at the
bottom, with the rest of the frame being filled with `frame-color`.
| **Property** | **Type** | **Description** | **If unspecified** |
| `frame-gradient-size` | Integers 0 through 128 | How large the gradient should be. Set to zero to disable drawing a gradient | Defaults to 16 pixels tall |
| `frame-gradient-color` | `GdkColor` | Top color of the gradient | Lightens `frame-color` |
| `inactive-frame-gradient-color` | `GdkColor` | Top color of the inactive gradient | Lightents `inactive-frame-color` |
| `incognito-frame-gradient-color` | `GdkColor` | Top color of the incognito gradient | Lightens `incognito-frame-color` |
| `incognito-inactive-frame-gradient-color` | `GdkColor` | Top color of the incognito inactive gradient. | Lightens `incognito-inactive-frame-color` |
### Scrollbar control
Because widget rendering is done in a separate, sandboxed process that doesn't
have access to the X server or the filesystem, there's no current way to do
GTK+ widget rendering. We instead pass WebKit a few colors and let it draw a
default scrollbar. We have a very
[complex fallback](;a=blob;f=chrome/browser/gtk/;h=a57ab6b182b915192c84177f1a574914c44e2e71;hb=3f873177e192f5c6b66ae591b8b7205d8a707918#l424)
where we render the widget and then average colors if this information isn't
| **Property** | **Type** | **Description** |
| `scrollbar-slider-prelight-color` | `GdkColor` | Color of the slider on mouse hover. |
| `scrollbar-slider-normal-color` | `GdkColor` | Color of the slider otherwise |
| `scrollbar-trough-color` | `GdkColor` | Color of the scrollbar trough |
## Anticipated Q&A
### Will you patch themes upstream?
I am at the very least hoping we can get Radiance and Ambiance patches since we
make very poor frame decisions on those themes, and hopefully a few others.
### How about control over the min/max/close buttons?
I actually tried this locally. There's a sort of uncanny valley effect going on;
as the frame looks more native, it's more obvious that it isn't behaving like a
native frame. (Also my implementation added a startup time hit.)
### Why use style properties instead of (i.e.) bg[STATE]?
There's no way to distinguish between colors set on different classes. Using
style properties allows us to be backwards compatible and maintain the
heuristics since not everyone is going to modify their themes for chromium (and
the heuristics do a reasonable job).
### Why now?
* I (erg@) was putting off major changes to the window frame stuff in
anticipation of finally being able to use GTK+'s theme rendering for the
window border with client side decorations, but client side decorations
either isn't happening or isn't happening anytime soon, so there's no
justification for pushing this task off into the future.
* Chrome looks pretty bad under Ambiance on Maverick.
### Details about `MetaFrames` and `ChromeGtkFrame` relationship and history?
`MetaFrames` is a class that was used in metacity to communicate color
information to the window manager. During the Hardy Heron days, we slurped up
the data and used it as a key part of our heuristics. At least on my Lucid Lynx
machine, none of the GNOME GTK+ themes have `MetaFrames` styling. (As mentioned
above, several of the XFCE themes do, though.)
Internally to chrome, our `ChromeGtkFrame` class inherits from `MetaFrames`
(again, which inherits from `GtkWindow`) so any old themes that style the
`MetaFrames` class are backwards compatible.