a companion discussion area for blog.codinghorror.com

Is Your IDE Hot or Not?


I like those looks, Zenburn definately has some mileage with a lighter background, and especially thanks for the Dina font!

My problem is that I do a fair proportion of work via a Remote desktop connection in XP, consequently ClearType doesn’t work and Consolas looks shocking!


That’s a good one, Esad. My only critisism would be that the comment color is kind of faint. That would be a good thing when I’m just trying to read the code, but a bad thing when I need to read the comments. I’d suggest you instead make the comments the same contrast as the normal code, but a color unlike anything else. In your case, perhaps green? That way you can mentally tune in or out that color as needed.

The only stuff I think you can generally get away with making low-contrast is text strings. If you are editing files with a lot of strings (lists of error messages, etc), or where code is embedded in strings (regular expressions) it might not apply there either.

All-in-all, yours probably better than mine though. I’d say the extra time you put in paid off.


consequently ClearType doesn’t work and Consolas looks shocking!

Yeah, this is a problem with all the C* fonts in Vista. They’re explicitly designed to work with ClearType and look pretty horrible if ClearType is disabled for any reason.


as I can’t figure out how to view them full size either

The ning site doesn’t appear to let us store full-size images :frowning: If we can get that fixed (Matt?) then it’s golden.



I’m a big fan of the oceandeep color scheme for Vim:
It’s a very pleasant light-on-dark; here’s a screenshot from the author:


Thanks hacktick. I must have been really out of it earlier not to remember that, or to notice all the imageshack URLs in other posts.

Anyway, here’s my color scheme in C++ code:

And here it is for C# code;

Nothing too spectacular or original. Just a black background and colors that are easily distinguishable from one another.

I threw in a preprocessor directive to illustrate that. I’m not a fan of the link being underlined in my code, but I assume I could change that in the settings. Unlike the fact that the “user types” aren’t highlighted in the C++ code, and the parentheses and braces aren’t highlighted in the C# code. I guess you can’t have everything.

Oh, and regarding non-monospace fonts… I got a taste of that when I learned Pascal on a Mac in high school, because it was the IDE’s default. Hated it. I cannot program in non-monospace fonts. I don’t know what it is, but code in non-monospace font doesn’t look like code to me. It looks like gibberish.


Pro Tip: When using LCD monitors you should probably set the screen brightness as low as possible, to the darkest setting. That’s easily bright enough for desktop work with most monitors. In fact I’m using a slightly darkened Adobe Gamma profile (the app came with Photoshop I think) on top of using the darkest setting. Most monitors are absurdly bright by default.


Here’s mine, with the help of Resharper:




How does it work ? I can’t seen to view any of the screenshots properly O_o

Parchment scheme is nice too, had to change it to Dina 8pt though - no clear type :frowning:


I also use a sans-serif non-monospaced font for coding; Verdana in VS2003 and Tahoma in VS2005.

The reason? It makes my code read more like text, rather than code; and the various text fonts tend to be more readable than Courier.

As for lining things up: TABs (instead of spaces) work fine.


J.Daniel Smith,

Tabs work fine until the day that you need to manually edit a source file on a remote location in Notepad/Wordpad/VI/Dos EDIT etc etc !

But if you know you’re only ever going to use VS and you’re never going to share your code, Tabs are fine :slight_smile:


There’s lots I’d love to add to what Russ said about tabs. I’ll just confine myself to saying that if you insist on using tab characters, you must add a comment at the top of your source code. This comment should occur before any tabs are used, warn the reader that the file contains tab characters, and inform them how the tab stops are calculated on the tool you view the sources with. That way the poor reader at least has a warning and the information required to make your sources readable on whatever viewer they have available to them.


The comment about dark schemes and glossy LCDs is right on - I gave a couple a try, but I end up staring at my ugly mug more than I really want to. :stuck_out_tongue:


Hey Thanks Russ.

I did Parchment in about 5 minutes of reading this blog. Most people were talking about dark screens but I really dont like them. So I tweaked my settings and came up with a nice light brown background. Kinda looked like Parchment so I decided to send it along to Jeff since I let my own blog lapse.

I have always made numbers red and strings blue. Why? I have no idea but now I am very used to them.

Dark Blue and Teal always looked nice and soft to me so I use them for User Types and Text.

Throw in a version of Maroon and Purple and together you have my Color scheme.


I didn’t see this wonderful font mentioned here …

My IDE font is always Profont:
a href="http://www.tobias-jung.de/seekingprofont/"http://www.tobias-jung.de/seekingprofont//a

I agree that it’s quite small on screen but that’s how I like it.


Jon Perot: I liked your color scheme so much that I made a VS 2005 settings file and posted it to http://idehotornot.ning.com/index.php/index/show?id=2317889.


Oops, remove the “.” at the end of that URL to get it to work.


Guys, I tried the ZenBurn and liked it very much. However, nobody is complaining about it not fitted for editing HTML and CSS. Oh, one person complains about XML. I think that themes posted for others to use are required to be usable in most of the schemes, otherwise no one will use them. I’m porting ZenBurn to HTML, CSS and to XML… will posting when finished.


Good work! But …

Why not try some alternative background color?
Such as HSL(85,90,205), or RGB(204,232,207)?
I’ve grown tired of white and black and blue, so let’s try something refreshing!


My colors are cooler :stuck_out_tongue:



feel free to try them out, just gotta download this settings file to your vs 2005 settings folder, and use the import thing somewhere in the options menu, and you can be leet to :stuck_out_tongue:


It seems the IDE Hot or Not site isn’t hasn’t picked up as much as it might have as there are only 22 schemes available. However I added my ConsoleDOS theme as people have been asking for it from my blog posts.