So I'm looking for something that will display 4-6 specific spell icons in a bracket around my character on-screen. There's a few things I want to do with this, and I am seriously considering getting my feet wet with addon writing with this, but I want to make sure there's no "dummy, that's exactly what Bob'sAddon does!" before I duplicate a lot of effort.
Essentially, they're bar icons, but the spells, if they're unavailable at a given moment, for whatever reason, will fade out or become darker. When they become available, they flash or strobe in some fashion, and when not in combat, they're completely invisible. Cooldown counter functionality would be nice as well, but baby steps.
The purpose of this is to eliminate either large candybar displays in the middle of my screen (and yes, I know they can be scaled), yet still allow me to focus on the fight and not my cooldowns and energy/mana needed. Specifically, I hate keyspamming, but want to be able to get attacks off as soon as they're available for use with my rogue. The concept is for key items (in my case, Hemorrhage, Eviscerate, Riposte, and one or two other finishing moves for my rogue, Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield, Consecrate and Judgement for my Pally) to be visible, not intrusive, and able to be seen out of the corner of my eye. I wouldn't need them clickable, though they could be with little difficulty because they wouldn't normally change. Ideally, each icon would be moveable so as not to interfere with the multiple possible HUD setups out there.
If anyone knows of something that will do all of this (range coloring doesn't do the trick, neither does normal bar setups for me because they don't flash or strobe, and won't fade out when they're not ready on a button basis) please point me at it, even if it's pre-BC. Otherwise, pointers welcome on where to start digging into this.
Two suggestions you might look at before reinventing the wheel.
Bartender 3 (http://www.wowace.com/wiki/Bartender3): Very easy to use but probably does not provide all the configurations options you want. You should be able to find existing cooldown tracking addons that will work with Bartender but I don't remember if hiding the bars when not in combat is an option.
Flexbar 2 (http://wowace.com/wiki/FlexBar2): Hard to use due to the current lack of a GUI, you'll have to configure everything from the command line. On the other hand that's still a lot easier than writing a new alternative from scratch. Flexbar should contain all the configuration options you're looking for and then some, if you can find one of the developers to help you set it up since I don't believe a major version has been released yet.
Both of these seem to be actively maintained and at the very least should offer a nice example of how to manipulate action bars if you are determined to write a new addon from scratch. Although if you are willing to put that much work into it I'd suggest trying to find out if an existing addon's author could use your help and feature contributions instead.
For the record, I'm currently using Bartender 3 for my main bars. I've tried adjusting it, but I end up with the buttons visible at all times, and I don't have a way to implement a flash when the ability becomes ready. Cooldowns, honestly, I can live without this being on there. The goal is to replace the event-driven text notifications of ready abilities that SCT does with an icon. Trying to do, say, Riposte with SCT is fine, trying to do Eviscerate, or Sinister Strike, or so on and so forth is not really practical because the events would be constantly firing. That's one of the reasons that candy bar cooldowns won't work for the job; it only tells you when the cooldown is up, and it won't do anything for showing you when you've got enough energy/mana/rage for the ability to activate.
I'll look into Flexbar 2 some; I've been wanting to, I'd just like to get a menu-structure config rather than be purely slash-command driven.
This sounds like what I remember of Saien's old CooldownHud: http://ui.worldofwar.net/ui.php?id=117. I haven't ever used it, and it's pretty aged, but it may be just what you're looking for or at least be a step in the right direction.