[TxMt] The Growing Importance of Themes

William D. Neumann wneumann at cs.unm.edu
Mon Feb 12 18:33:25 UTC 2007

On Mon, 12 Feb 2007, subtleGradient / Thomas Aylott wrote:

> I think TextMate should do the same thing.
> Start with a good deep base theme like Twilight and tweak the colors.
> Then save the recipe of how you tweaked that theme.
> The advantage is that when Twilight is updated, all of your tweaked themes 
> based off of it are also updated since they're just recipes instead of 
> actually different themes.
> And you can make really creative new versions of themes without having to do 
> all the work of figuring out all the crazy edge cases and junk.

While this is a very good suggestion, it is certainly hindered by the fact 
that there is no comprehensive deep theme at the moment.  E.g. the 
Brilliance themes are indeed well loaded with goodies, but they contain 
little in the way of coloring for OCaml constructs: nothing for modules, 
method calls, variant types, floating point numbers and operators, and so 
on -- these aren't even edge cases, they're core parts of the language, 
and I'm not sure their addition could be considered "tweaking".  Now, I do 
90% of my coding in OCaml, so this is what I've noticed, but I'd guess 
that there are other less-common languages in the bundles that are 
similarly unsupported by these deep themes.

This is, of course, fully understandible. If you don't code in OCaml, how 
the heck are you going to know what bits to add and highlight.  That's 
why I haven't added anything for, say, HTML or CSS to any of my themes, 
because I touch a CSS file maybe four times a year.  I wouldn't know 
what's missing in the theme...

So, what am I saying here?  I suppose it's that if this idea of starting 
with a deep theme and tweaking is to get off the ground, we should 
probably put together an actual deep theme that has better coverage.  Or 
something along those lines.  Now, I'd be happy to add my bits to some 
reference theme that the other, existing themes can be retrofitted to 
match.  I'm just wondering what the best way to do this is -- should we 
use one of the Brilliance themes and add to it (a Brilliance Reference if 
you will)?  Or is there a better way?  Does anyone have any good 
suggestions here?

William D. Neumann


"There's just so many extra children, we could just feed the
children to these tigers.  We don't need them, we're not doing 
anything with them.

Tigers are noble and sleek; children are loud and messy."

         -- Neko Case

Life is unfair.  Kill yourself or get over it.
 	-- Black Box Recorder

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