Thursday, 11 October 2018

When to Dark and When to Light

As a programmer I spend a lot of my time either looking at a screen, using a keyboard or both.  As such over the years I've gotten quite particular about both, I like a nice crisp screen (or more than one to be honest) and I like my keyboard to be mechanical and be one I enjoy working with, rubber domed plastic crap from hell... For eight to ten hours a day, no thank you.

The screens, today it's easier to get nice screens, so I focus more on what's on them, which will generally be my IDE or text editor of choice on the Operating System I happen to be on at the time.

And I've come to loath the themes available in some IDE's but only in very specific circumstances...

Lets take the majority one of my time, Microsofts Visual Studio, it comes with a dark and light theme, I like both... I LIKE BOTH... But I like them in different circumstances.  The Dark theme I like when I'm in my own dark room, when it's late at night, when I'm not interacting with others.  Because (and maybe you get this as well) if I look at brighter text on a dark background the text sears a blot into my retina, not a problem if you're in a dark room, but then in a bright room or an office where you then need to go interact with others you're left with the problem of this blur in your vision... So I keep dark to my own space at my own time, I know when to Dark.

Light themes, I use in the office, I find it doesn't alienate anyone (programmer and non-programmer alike can get into dark text on a light background), and it keeps my ever changing focus in an open plan office from distracting too badly a vibrant and colourful display, I know when to Light.

The problem?  Well, seems many people don't, I've met a programmer recently whom steadfastly would not look at my work on my machine as it was "too bright"... Like he was allergic to LED light or something.  Literally telling me he couldn't read the code... Not because of formatting, not because of a lack of understanding or bad coding standards, but because I was in a light theme.

Folks, stop now and learn when to Dark and when to Light.  Please.

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