My Favourite TextMate Themes.

TextMate ThemesTextMate is by far the best editor I’ve seen on Mac OS X or any other platform I’ve used since 1989, both in terms of features, usability and æsthetics/form. And in its relatively short history, from October 2004 to date, it’s managed to get its fair share of accolades, a huge following and countless extensions in the form of ‘bundles’ and ‘themes’.

This post is about the latter. Themes are sets of colours that define how text appears on your editor windows. While seemingly innocuous, a bad or ugly theme can significantly hinder productivity, especially if you have to look at it for hours on end. TextMate ships with some decent themes, but there are many more contributed by users; you can find several from Google and the macromates site. Here’s a list of my favourite TextMate themes, in no particular order. The font is Inconsolata.

Plastic Code Wrap

Plastic Code Wrap

Vibrant Ink

Vibrant Ink




Distributed with TextMate


7 Responses to “My Favourite TextMate Themes.”

  1. Sugar says:

    Such a nice post, now that I actually bought Textmate and decided to give it a second chance!

    Thanks, dearest cosmix.

    P.S. Light on dark, always, eh? :)

  2. cosmix says:

    P.S. Light on dark, always, eh? :)

    Always. See what happens when you grow up using computers before the time when GUIs were commonplace?

    On a more serious note, I find light on dark easier on the eyes for those (really, really) long hours. Don’t ask me why this site is light on dark though. All the previous ‘designs’ were dark on white (or off-white), so I thought I’d try a change and it stuck. :)

  3. Sugar says:

    Light-on-dark schemes are a matter of great controversy for the web design world.

    But I always secretly found it easier on the eyes for code viewing ;)

  4. cosmix says:

    Sure, I was referring to the editor (i.e. code viewing) of course.

    What sort of controversy are you referring to? Since the advent of CSS I cannot think of any technical excuses against ‘dark layouts’, assuming someone (cares to) and follows decent usability/accessibility guidelines and accompanying stylesheets for print/other devices etc. Of course there’s always the æsthetics part and I’d probably be one of the first to state that a dark layout would probably be a bad idea for a corporate site for many reasons.

  5. Sugar says:

    You can find out more about this controversy here and here.

  6. cosmix says:

    I don’t believe there’s any controversy based on those two links. In order to call something controversial you’d need a larger sample than this, not just a bunch of guys expressing their preferences. I’d say the jury is still out on this; there’s nothing but personal preference and it turns out ‘readability’ really depends on the reader. Some people find light-on-dark more comfortable; other’s can’t take it and prefer dark-on-light. Some people find Cleartype good for readability, I think it sucks in all ways possible. Mind you, this is not about æsthetics, this is about the technical aspects of readability.

    In this respect, I have not seen any convincing arguments in favour or against light-on-dark layouts or vice-versa. As I wrote earlier, I do believe there are æsthetic reasons for which I wouldn’t use a light-on-dark layout on a number of sites, but they are just that: æsthetic. I believe good design can be either and be equally readable. Personal preferences, be they æsthetic or technical (i.e. people feeling more comfortable with dark backgrounds or vice-versa) will always exist. That does not make it controversial.

    In any case, this discussion is getting a bit off-topic, so let’s stop here; we can always chat about this on a relevant post :)


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