Theme Systems

Theme Systems

Maybe skip this intro

Back in the day I used to be very much into customizing and theming my Windows installation (probably around the turn of the century), mostly before I started running Linux on half of my machines with graphical interfaces. This has mostly faded, I don't really tweak a lot these days (in any OS), I'm basically fine if I can set a wallpaper I like, even if I don't see it very often. Then I'm not changing it very often either - for work machines it often gets set in week one and then not replaced until I get a new machine years later.

Anyway, there are still some apps where I usually want a theme. At home I'm usually running two instances of Firefox at the same time, Normal and Developer. Not even sure if the dev version comes with this dark theme by default or if I set it, but it's dark blue and for the normal version I've been using this theme for years.

Editors? Some of them. For IDEA at work, it's usually their Darcula theme. For VS Code at home (I'm not a heavy user) I've been using August City Lights for a while.

For Notepad++ it's just the plain white default theme, but for TextAdept I'm using something in light grey.

Quassel has been on my own tweaked version of DarkMonokai for ages.

Theme Systems

As you can see, there's no real uniformity, so why am I talking about "Theme Systems"?

What does that even mean?

You might have heard about:

And maybe also about (thanks #lobsters):

So basically one color scheme, in a theme for an application, and hopefully ready to roll for all the apps you could be using that have theme support.

I really love the idea, even if my stuff is a big random mix. It's this "I know I like Dracula, so if I need a dark theme for application X, I can use it".

Unfortunately there don't seem to be too many of them, or only for some apps.

Also the amount of applications being themed varies greatly, and sometimes it's organized in one org, or as a collab, and sometimes it's just completely unrelated ports. So it's probably worth doing some research for some or all of the above mentioned.

Why now?

Now why did I even start this research out of the blue?

So I have this three screen setup at home, 2 27" (middle and left) and an older 24" in portrait mode on the right, and on that one I use a 50:50 split with IRC in the top half and Thunderbird and Signal in the bottom half.

Unfortunately the viewing angle of the 24" is not great (and maybe becoming worse) and so I noticed I have real problems with a dark theme in IRC on that screen (also I'm apparently getting old) and so I went looking for a nice light theme and thought about Solarized and Dracula and started looking. I switched Quassel to use Solarized Light yesterday but I'm not a huge fan of the yellowish tone, that's why I'd never used Solarized Light before. Also Quassel is of course nowhere near VS Code in user numbers, so I guess I need to make my own theme.


I've not put a huge amount of work into researching this, but if you know of more "Theme Systems" projects, or just some popular themes with several (i.e. maybe more than 3) ports, feel free to hit me up so I can add them.

The concrete problem

So I'm still looking for a nice light Quassel theme and unfortunately the best (or only?) resource for themes is not great.

I've not started writing one, but right now I'm looking at these color schemes:

I've not fully grasped how tinted/base16 works but I'll go dig deeper and see if I can do this for Quassel in a reasonable time.