New Colors in NetBeans 6 Editor

Syntax coloring has changed significantly in NetBeans 6. What do you think about the changes - are they good or bad?

Java syntax coloring in latest daily build (new scheme):


Java syntax coloring in M9 (old scheme):


Less italics and less bold formatting is good, but the new string colour isn't that good. I thought the purple colour was a kind of "convention" throughout every language's syntax highlighing.

Posted by Daniel on červen 21, 2007 at 07:16 dop. CEST #

Less Italics are good but less bold decreases the readability to a certain extent. its good that keywords like public, import , class are 'not' bold but the fuction calls are better of bold. Light green colour for braces is better. Also the greyed out unused text was more visually appealing then a squeeky line underneath it.

Posted by Funkyidol on červen 21, 2007 at 07:57 dop. CEST #

I am not agree with this modification : as java dev I need to more high lignt function names.

Posted by slim ouertani on červen 21, 2007 at 07:59 dop. CEST #

I like it - it's light and easy on the eyes. Kind of inconsistent though that PlayerAction (which is a class) is bold and AbstractAction, NbBundle, ActionEvent, TopComponent, PlayerTopComponent et al. (who also are classes) are not. On the other hand, it would be a lot of black & bold text if all class occurrences were bold, and PlayerAction is the "main subject" in this file so I guess that's why...right?

Posted by Mikael on červen 21, 2007 at 08:05 dop. CEST #

+1. I miss the bold on the keywords

Posted by Cicero Zandoná on červen 21, 2007 at 08:06 dop. CEST #

Much better! Bolds are painful to my eyes and add to the general impression that the old theme is not good. The new one is much more modern. Finally, no need to fight the settings to remove the bold fonts!

Posted by Vladimir Sizikov on červen 21, 2007 at 08:16 dop. CEST #

Would be nice to see screenshots of other operating systems - text rendering is quite different in Windows compared to Mac OS X, Linux and most probably Solaris. Also interesting would be to see both versions with antialiasing and without. I do not use AA, but others do - and it must look acceptable for all.

The light green is too obtrusive IMHO. Though pink is not the best colour either ;-) Maybe a less brighter green would be nice.

With regards to italics and bold I agree with the previous posts. Italics suck, but the current usage of bold is pretty good.

Posted by rittmey on červen 21, 2007 at 08:28 dop. CEST #

much better!

Posted by Tetsuo on červen 21, 2007 at 09:20 dop. CEST #

Likes: I definitely prefer the green matching braces over the pinkish-purple. I agree with rittmey that darkening the green a bit would make it a bit less obtrusive, but still much better than pink.

Bolding of only the class and class methods is also an improvement that makes navigating the source much easier.

Dislikes: Don't like the string color - agree that purple was a better choice. The new "mustard" is too close to the unused imports markers. Again, maybe if it was darkened a bit more.

Squiggly line under unused variables (not sure why it appears under win TopComponent) is not as appearent as the grayed-out version, but it is more in line with the style for errors/warnings (underlines with color signifying type). I think I just talked myself into liking this one.

Overall - very nice!

Posted by tborak on červen 21, 2007 at 10:27 dop. CEST #

I miss the grey unused content and the differences for method calls: abstract/instance/static method

Posted by pprun on červen 21, 2007 at 10:58 dop. CEST #

I liked when the method calls were in bold. This way, the lines get too plain, it's not very nice. And I didn't like the new String color either. I think it reminds of Visual Studio's color scheme (thankfully you didn't put the comments in green!!!) In overall, I think this new scheme is better.

Posted by Crístian Deives on červen 21, 2007 at 11:05 dop. CEST #

much better now .. i like it

Posted by stenlee on červen 21, 2007 at 11:11 dop. CEST #

I do agree with Vladimir comments, also the icons on the left are looking good to me

Posted by Ramon on červen 21, 2007 at 11:30 dop. CEST #

Looks alright although I prefer the grayed out vars as compared to the jagged line.

Posted by Johannes on červen 21, 2007 at 11:42 dop. CEST #

getMessage and findInstance are both static methods. Then why is findInstance not rendered in italics in the new scheme, but getMessage is?

Posted by Claudiu on červen 21, 2007 at 11:51 dop. CEST #

I'm like the current usage of bold too.

Posted by diego on červen 21, 2007 at 12:57 odp. CEST #

Do people forget that they can set all of these things themselves and have any colours they like?

Personally I like the old scheme. How about keeping it as a theme? That way people can have the one they prefer. On the scheme front why not create one for each of the other major editors? Similar to the keyboard shortcuts idea. Make life more comforting for the enlightened.

If we're debating whether the brace highlight should be pink or green have we run out of real issues?

Posted by mutchd on červen 21, 2007 at 07:33 odp. CEST #

Things i like:
1. bluish background for the current line. (very good)
2. icons on the left.

Things i don't like:
Pretty much everything else.
I'm happy with the current usage of bold.
(The current scheme otherwise reminds me of notepad!!)

Things i would like to see:
1. different colour for static variables and methods to identify them quickly.
2. A marker on the left to identify the beginning and end of blocks.(not just the braces)
(this is available in both eclipse and idea).

I like the colours used by intellij idea and even jedit. They pretty much differentiate everything.
But i'm happy to see the NB team putting the effort to improve the colour scheme. Congrats.

Posted by James Selvakumar on červen 21, 2007 at 08:37 odp. CEST #

I miss the gray color for unused variables. I found them more appealing and easy to find out than a gray underline that the new scheme has.
One thing I would like to know is, why do we have so many changes so many times? First with the icons, then with the Module manager, and now this. I just gave a presentation to a group of university lecturers on Netbeans 6 features. Most of them will download NB6 milestone M10 (supposed to be out on 25th) and will be surprised to see the syntax coloring changed completely from the one in the demo that I gave.

Posted by Rohan Ranade on červen 21, 2007 at 09:57 odp. CEST #

Roumen, I think people's favor about color schema varies very much from one to another. I would suggest adding more profile options in the "Fonts and Editors" and let people choose what they like.

Posted by williamchen on červen 21, 2007 at 11:31 odp. CEST #

My preferences: green comments, purple strings, grey for unused variables, bolded methods. It seems that there is less information now that fewer things are bolded or colored.

Posted by Rya de Laplante on červen 22, 2007 at 12:25 dop. CEST #

I like it a lot. Except for the squiggly line for unused variables! The squiggly lines are used for errors and warnings, which unused variables are neither. A method may be an implementation to an interface or superclass and it may just be that the implementation does not require that argument. I don't like looking at code, when there's nothing wrong with, with squiggly lines all over it.

Posted by Mck on červen 22, 2007 at 01:26 dop. CEST #

Old (M9) is better (much better).

Posted by gwimag on červen 22, 2007 at 01:35 dop. CEST #

Roumen, BTW, I am experiencing long time freezing in the latest daily builds. I don't know whether netbeans team has noticed this. Please make sure it won't freeze when m10 is released.

Posted by williamchen on červen 22, 2007 at 02:47 dop. CEST #

Colours are OK, but the font is still ugly and pixelated.

Posted by Adrian M on červen 22, 2007 at 06:03 dop. CEST #

Adrian M has a point... font in Netbeans is still not that easy on eyes as that in visual studio or other IDE's are.

Posted by Funkyidol on červen 22, 2007 at 09:41 dop. CEST #

I also think that better woudl be different colour for static and non static variables. Also local varibles, Classes and the method name has the same color. It's too simple for me.

Posted by Tomáš Procházka on červen 22, 2007 at 10:53 dop. CEST #

I think it looks great. Much better.

Posted by Patrick Kimber on červen 22, 2007 at 12:46 odp. CEST #

I think them new colors is real perty.

Posted by Earl on červen 22, 2007 at 02:03 odp. CEST #

To be honest, I don't like it. I think that many Java developers feel quite familiar with the current colors and changes aren't needed.

Posted by Michael on červen 23, 2007 at 04:06 dop. CEST #

really a great improvement and colors are overall well chosen. the new editor is really the killer feature of nb6! +1

Posted by Michael Nischt on červen 23, 2007 at 04:17 dop. CEST #

It isn't consistent. The old scheme is better, and more standardized.

Posted by pedalshoe on červen 23, 2007 at 07:22 odp. CEST #

it's definitely better.

Posted by Dinonysus on červen 25, 2007 at 06:28 dop. CEST #

Likes: - Function calls NOT being bold - reserved words NOT being bold Dislikes: - I LOVE the old style of have greyed out unused imports and variables.... It was REALLY easy to spot unused items! (Please don't take that one out :(...) Question: - Is "win" variable supposed to have a gray underline?

Posted by Jeff Campbell on červen 25, 2007 at 09:40 dop. CEST #

I like the changes. But maybe its because I got my start with Visual Studio before switching to Java, but I've always prefferred their colors. I have a minimalist taste: keywords and literals only. The first thing I do after installing the IDE is set keywords to non-bold bright blue as they are in the new build (yay!), turn off any bold and italics, set green comments, and turn off highlighting the current line. (everyone seems to like it but me, I find it distracting). When I first tried a build of NetBeans 6, my main compaint was that the editor had bright colors EVERYWHERE! I found it very difficult to read, and a pain to turn it all off. Also I couldnt seem to turn off current line highlighting (there was no "none" choice for the background color). It would be nice if NetBeans included several sensible profiles to choose from.

Posted by Ben Loud on červen 25, 2007 at 11:31 odp. CEST #

Thanks to everyone for your comments. Our UI engineers are discussing your comments and we will try to take into account the most common types of feedback. It is hard because some of the comments contradict but we'll try to do our best. Thanks again for your input.

Posted by Roman Strobl on červen 27, 2007 at 02:36 odp. CEST #

I like Ben's idea of providing multiple color schemes to choose from. I think you should have one scheme for developers coming from Visual Studio that has green comments and other things a certain way. An other scheme that makes it very much like Eclipse, and a default scheme that uses "NetBeans colors" (however that turns out). Make sure that unused variables and imports are colored in some way (I liked the grey) -- that's a killer feature.

Posted by Ryan de Laplante on červen 27, 2007 at 08:27 odp. CEST #

bold for methods was a little better greying out of unused variables/imports was more intuitive than looking at the line underneath, somehow it gives the impression that its an error

Posted by Siddharth on červenec 04, 2007 at 04:43 odp. CEST #

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Roman Strobl


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