Ruby Screenshot of the Week #20: Purdy Colors!

A lot of people have asked for a "dark color theme" for NetBeans, possibly because there are several attractive dark color schemes for TextMate, a favorite editor among many Ruby developers. Jerrett Taylor has designed and contributed a great dark color theme for NetBeans, "Dark Pastels". I've wrapped it up as a plugin. As of today, it's prebundled with the continuous builds on, but for other versions such as beta1 and the upcoming beta2, you can download the plugin from here and install via Tools | Plugins (go to the Downloaded tab). It should hopefully also appear on the Auto Update center pretty soon.

To switch to this color theme after installing the plugin, open the options dialog, go to "Fonts and Colors" and choose the "Dark Pastels" color theme.

Let's get on to the screenshots! Here's a Ruby file:

...and here's an RHTML file:

Note that the plugin only replaces the editor colors. Other windows such as the navigator and project views keep the general look and feel of the whole application, so you can either slide these off to the side, or install a custom look and feel with colors more to your liking.

Here's what the plugin looks like in the Plugin Manager. As you can see I've named it "Extra Themes" such that it can hold several optional themes, so if you've got a color scheme to share, please do!

A huge thanks to Jerrett!

P.S. The theme the font to "Monaco", which is available on the Mac. If you're on a different platform you may want to go a tweak the default font to one that looks good on your system.


Tip for the Netbeans noob: that "Dark Pastels" theme should actually be selected in the "profile" drop down of the "Fonts and Colors" panel.

I killed myself for a while trying to achieve something similar, but there were always those black comments or other syntactic rebels that wouldn't appear on the dark background... Thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Raphaël Valyi on October 08, 2007 at 08:35 AM PDT #

Looks fantastic. Great work Jerrett and Tor.

I've been using a Vibrant Ink inspired dark theme for a few weeks now, and while things generally work very well, I have run into two issues.

First, the documentation popups use the theme's foreground colors for code, but not the background color. This results in lots of light colored text on a light colored background, making it hard to read. Would it be possible to use the background color as well? Failing that, the option to use the default netbeans colors (or no coloring at all) for doc popups would be fine.

Also, snippets use a light blue highlight color when inserting text, which looks hideous on a dark theme. I think it's using the "Diff/Color of Changed Text" color for this, but modifying that property doesn't have any effect. It also doesn't effect the color of changed text sections in the diff sidebar, although it does change them in the local history window.

I'm still on beta1, so my apologies if either of these have already been corrected.

Posted by Hiddenbek on October 08, 2007 at 09:00 AM PDT #

it didn't work for me i use a ruby only version of Netbeans :(

Posted by khaled on October 08, 2007 at 09:00 AM PDT #

Hi Hiddenbek,
Yes, that was indeed a problem so I fixed that last Friday. If you grab a daily build it should work correctly (it uses the editor background color in the syntax colored code examples in the documentation).

The code snippets & instant rename highlights look okay to me with the Dark Pastels theme - perhaps give it a go with a daily build and see if it's better?

Khaled - I'm not sure why it's not working for you. It should be fine on the Ruby-only version of NetBeans (which is what I run to test my changes). Make sure the module is enabled (in the plugin manager's installed tab), make sure that the Dark Pastels theme shows up in the Fonts & Colors dialog, make sure it's selected and that you've restarted the IDE. I'm not sure what else to suggest without more info.

Posted by Tor Norbye on October 08, 2007 at 09:28 AM PDT #

works well now thanks a lot :)
looking for your new screencast and good luck

Posted by khaled on October 08, 2007 at 09:45 AM PDT #

thanks a lot for the post!
and one recommondation: remove the city lights theme, because it is useless, Constant in it is both forecolre black and background color black

Posted by leondu on October 08, 2007 at 11:26 AM PDT #

Looks great with monospaced 18 on 1280x800 ubuntu
I miss a good css theme
Thanks for all de wokr guys, netbeans 6 rox
Best regards from Brazil

Posted by Lauro on October 08, 2007 at 12:57 PM PDT #

Wow great. For windows (and also mac) there's Anonymous

Tor you might remember I offered to give a try creating a dark theme, as you might have figured out, it didn't really work out. Great to see somebody else had more success in creating a theme!

Posted by Jaap on October 08, 2007 at 08:12 PM PDT #

Hello! I'm using beta1 (ruby only installer) on Windows. I have a strange problem: then i select profiles with dark background (Norway Today, new theme), status bar under editor window collapsed into thin frame without any content (looks very ugly) after restart. Is it possible to fix it?

Posted by Dimaa on October 10, 2007 at 02:23 AM PDT #

Hi Tor! Something is broken in last build (4553) - my previous build i tried 4402 was indexing a project very fast - a few seconds, but this one is very slow - I think it would take a few minutes or more to index the project (I didn't get the finish, just stoped it)

Posted by ruby.freeman on October 11, 2007 at 01:55 PM PDT #

It would be cool to have Ruby Tenjin support in NetBeans:

I find it cooler for Ruby than the standard "ERB" one, as it can be a little more succinct and it's easy to switch between save and unsafe escaping with a one letter change: #{unsafe} ${safe}

To complete the syntax, use <?rb s = "for block of code" ?> which seems to be XML friendly or something. :-)

Myself, I color #{unsafe} with a yellow of attention, and ${safe} with a green of good to go. :-) I find it so cool that I am not ever going to use ERB again if I can help it. Notice that #{} in Ruby is used frequently for string interpolation, so it's even a familiar syntax. :-) I find it meshes well with HTML as well.

Posted by Joao Pedrosa on October 15, 2007 at 02:52 PM PDT #

I am in an unasked for "requesting spree" I guess. :-)

But it would be cool to be able to configure other extensions for Ruby files as well, alongside the ".rb" standard one. I for one use other extensions such as ".rcr", ".test", ".gui", ".report". These files need to be pre-handled before Ruby can make use of them, but their syntaxes follow Ruby and their content could be said to be a DSL of some kind. :-) That is, I normally relaunch Ruby from a special Ruby script which I call "evoke" for standard Ruby, and "jevoke" for the JRuby one. Like so:

jevoke hello_world.gui

evoke kick_the_tires.test

And I get the output from them or need to stop their interpreter sometimes. Here's a screenshot of my custom but useful editor (coded with Ruby):

Eventually I would like to adopt NetBeans more and more and even retire my editor as I don't have the talents to grow it into something anyone can use. :-) For instance, somebody else who could help me out with things.

I hope I can merge with NetBeans one day. :-) Thanks by the way. I appreciate your work.

Posted by Joao Pedrosa on October 15, 2007 at 03:10 PM PDT #

I found the Monaco font for windows here:

But actually looks better on my machine. Thanks to Jaap

Posted by Martin on October 22, 2007 at 02:58 AM PDT #

How to tweak a "DarkPastels" CSS colors? Dark blue CSS attributes on black background very hard to see...

Posted by Dimaa on October 22, 2007 at 06:06 PM PDT #

Awesome color scheme. Would be REALLY nice if it would include some settings for CSS. It is using the default CSS settings, which appears to be designed for a white background.

Seems like 'css_keyword' is the keyword that has to be modified. That color is indeed, very hard to see.

Posted by Alli on October 26, 2007 at 08:29 PM PDT #

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Tor Norbye


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