Writing Manila Applications for HTC TouchFlow3D

This week I was lucky enough to buy an HTC Touch Diamond. This phone runs the latest revision of Windows Mobile (6.1), and is customised so that HTC’s custom developed TouchFlow3D user experience replaces the standard Today screen in WM. In a nut-shell, TouchFlow3D is the sexy user interface with swishing windows, 3d text, fading, animating etc…

Being the self-respecting geek that I am, i spent the first day transferring all my files and contacts to the device and familiarising myself with the phone. I’ve spent subsequent days since then trawling the forums to discover ways of customising and hacking the device. Writing .NET apps for the device isn’t terribly tricky – I have all the tools and skills to do that, and am more interested in understanding how to create slick looking applets for TF3D.

In this post (and maybe subsequent ones) i’ll be jotting down some important points that i’ve discovered. One this that frustrates me is that despite having a very active hacker community, some members of the forum seem more interested in showing off their abilities and holding back information and source examples in an effort to control the crowd. I find this stifling and stupid so i’ll be writing everything I think can help. (NB: This post won’t be targeted at beginners. It’s aimed for people who have a little knowledge about the entire system and find that there are gaps that need filling)

So i’ll start with this aggregate post which summarises how to create TouchFlo3D themes.

Manila File Definition
090661f7_manila = Tab “Display names”
26948339_manila = Tab Definitions (This is the “master” file – sometimes invalidly referred to as “manila.xml”)

For more manila definitions, see Manila_Research

I won’t link to the actual posts or upload the utilities here (mainly because i’m lazy) but the following tools are used to reverse engineer TouchFlo3D. If anyone is interested in downloading these tools, just google the filename.

  • ManilaReverserPack.zip – Used to disassemble the .luac compiled LUA scripts
  • Manila Editor v.0.2.zip – Used to modify and update manila files for theme editing


  1. I agree that it’s not as snappy as the iPhone or my wife’s nokia, but i’ve owned smartphones for too many years to count so i’m just used to it, i guess 🙂

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