a companion discussion area for blog.codinghorror.com

Is Your IDE Hot or Not?


Can you explain your color choices, please, Jeff?


I like Proggy Clean TT SZ… it’s a phenomenal font… much better than Consolas and Dina IMO



i’ve already posted my color-scheme 1 or 2 years back in the past on this site.
but here again my default color-scheme with the given text from above:

@jeff: you have forgotten to #define something :wink:
why don’t you use black as background ? white background color hurts in my eyes -.-


looks cool!


I can only reccomend all to stay away from white font on darf background on notebooks and PDA’s for a simple reason: glare.

My Acer has a glossy, reflective screen - and when the screen is black, it reflects much more…

Best regards
Tam Hanna


I think a lot of times, the monitor you’re using is a big factor in what colors look good to you.

For example, T.E.D.'s color scheme is nice. I like the fact that it isn’t blazing with color. However, on an LCD, which tend to have limited contrast, everything runs together. The key-lime-pie green is too similar to both the aqua and the tagboard yellow on my screen. On a CRT, I suspect things would be a bit different.

As far as my dark gray, the only reason I didn’t use a the lighter “silver” gray is because it was too close to the white I use for operators. I’ve toyed with using teal instead of gray, and having a mellow orangish color for “user types”… But in the past I liked having my “regular text” uncolored. Maybe I could use gray for my comments though. I think that would be a better fit for them.

I suppose I’m not as attached to my scheme as I thought. If that idehotornot thing can support full size pics eventually, I will keep it bookmarked in hopes I run across something that blows me away again.


That’s a very important point about the monitors, WaterBreath. Your monitor can make a huge difference. As an extreme example:

Here at work I use 2 monitors side-by-side for the extra desktop space. I had to scrounge them up though, so they don’t match. The one on the left is a relatively new NEC MultiSync LCD (2080UX), and the one on the right is a very old Gateway Diamondtron CRT (vx1120). I had just the CRT for years, and honestly thought I was slowing loosing my sight, until I hooked up the NEC next to it and saw it was the CRT that had gotten fuzzier.

Anyway, since the new LCD is much crisper, I typically put my Emacs window in it, and use the other monitor for supporting windows (eg: VisualStudio).

When I took my screenshot and posted it at a href="http://img238.imageshack.us/img238/6481/colorizedemacssg3.png"http://img238.imageshack.us/img238/6481/colorizedemacssg3.png/a I brought it up in my browser to look at it. The colors looked horrible and I could barely read the text. I started to write a complaint about imageshack messing up the images, when I remembered and drug it over to the left screen. Presto, it looked just the same as in Emacs. Doh!

After that, I’ve had to remind myself to make sure my browser is displaying on the NEC side before I comment on you guys’ colors. :slight_smile:


I cannot for the life of me find where to change the background color in the VS 2k5 code window.

And why is the word always orange?



You know, I had this pet project in my mind… a VS addin to manage color theming, with support for Resharper and – more generally – custom highlighters…

This plugin would have a decent UI (live preview, color swatches, drag n’ drop, etc.) and should allow to save/load palettes from/to a centralized online repository, with voting capabilities :slight_smile:

On the implementation side, I’d use the wonderful DXCore framework, and code the whole thing in c#1.1, to maintain compatibility with the gloriuos VS.NET 2003

I still have to fine tune the details, maybe you fellow programmers could help and suggest features…


Regarding fonts: I like to use variable-width fonts rather than fixed-width ones. Rationale: I read far more code than I write, and variable-width fonts are easier and more comfortable to read. Fixed-width fonts are a little easier to select with precision during editing, but this isn’t a big deal for me.

On Windows, with ClearType turned on, Verdana and Tahoma are my favorites. Tahoma 10 pt. works well for me: it’s a decent size on the screen but fairly narrow.

On colors, aside from using light gray, I haven’t fiddled with the schemes. I’ve always thought it to be too much trouble and barely noticeable, but the good points on this thread may change my mind.


I almost always use a dark blue background color scheme.


It was the color scheme of the first IDE I used with color highlighting (Turbo C++ v3.0 for DOS) and I’ve gotten so used to it that it is hard to look at anything else.


I used the blue background color scheme similar to Dave’s because that’s how QBasic was setup when I first started programming. So when I got to “real” editors I naturally setup that same color scheme.

However, a while ago I gave in to the classic white bg because I wanted more color coding and you can only use so many colors on a blue bg and have it not kill your eyes. It was a weird change switching from light/dark to dark/light scheme, but now looking at a light/dark setup really hurts me eyes.


I have to say that I’ve never heard of anyone purposely using variable-width fonts for software development. I’m curious; how do you deal with lining up declarations? How about indenting and lining up braces or “begin”/“end” pairs?

The only way I could think to handle this is with tabs. But traditionaly tabs are Considered Evil, as they line up differently in different editors.


Re: the app - shouldn’t take too long to whip this up at ning.


well, that didn’t take long:

There’s yer website - fresh, empty and waiting for settings.


Hmm, I can definitely see how the black background would be tough in a sunlit environment, or with those newfangled glossy LCDs. Hadn’t thought of that. But then again, I’d fight tooth and nail not to have to use one of those glossy LCDs outside my darkened gaming room.

Thanks for those blasts from the past Dave and Brian. Some of my earliest forays into programming were using QBasic and then later Borland’s Turbo C++.

That said, I don’t think I could go back to the blue background, especially with today’s high-res screens. It’s just too hard to focus on anything but high-intensity colors against that blue, and even then to me those are sort of hard to distinguish. Which is why I prefer the black.

I get a lot less eyestrain with dark backgrounds than with bright ones. It seems strange to me that some people find the opposite.


To submit to peer pressure, I’ve uploaded a partial screenshot of my emacs screen at a href="http://img238.imageshack.us/img238/6481/colorizedemacssg3.png"http://img238.imageshack.us/img238/6481/colorizedemacssg3.png/a

For my tastes, Waterbreath has the right idea. However, his gray text color would be way too dim for me to deal with, and the other colors are too bright. I think its important to keep the contrasts on the various colors similar, or you end up de-emphasising things that you don’t want de-emphasised (like the actual code!). I also want to keep the contrasts themselves down a bit. Enough that I can make out the letters with no problem, but not so much that I can close my eyes and still make them out. :slight_smile:


That ning site is pretty cool. I added my RGB scheme to the list, and I added a Vibrant Ink clone scheme. Is it possible to make the images show up larger, though? It’s really hard to tell what the scheme looks like when the screenshots are so small…


Ted, variable width fonts seem to work fine with both tabs and spaces (auto-converting tabs to spaces, etc.), for regular indending and brace/block alignments.

I generally don’t try to line up things that have text to the left of them (end-of-line comments, etc.). Such formatting can be attractive sometimes, but I find I don’t really miss it, and it’s extra work to maintain anyway.


I’ve tweaked my color scheme for months, until coming up with the following one:

a href="http://www.slibe.com/image/14e268a8-jedit-gif/"http://www.slibe.com/image/14e268a8-jedit-gif//a

I really like jEdit, and feel somehow sad and dull when I have to go to VS 2005 to do some .net work (I’ve even considered working on my .net projects in jEdit and do without VS 2005 advanced ide features).

I also tried to set-up eclipse as my “editor of choice” but somehow it didn’t work, it just lacks a lot of configurability and “editor feel” that jedit offers.

I guess rewrite of jEdit in ruby with new YARV ruby vm would be my ideal environment :slight_smile: