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Bug 151069 - Allow users to customize IDE foreground/background colors
Summary: Allow users to customize IDE foreground/background colors
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: platform
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Window System (show other bugs)
Version: 3.x
Hardware: All All
: P1 blocker with 17 votes (vote)
Assignee: issues@platform
Keywords: A11Y
: 139440 147302 156891 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2008-10-22 20:33 UTC by twolf2919
Modified: 2013-08-14 12:34 UTC (History)
6 users (show)

See Also:
Exception Reporter:


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Description twolf2919 2008-10-22 20:33:20 UTC
The IDE currently lets you customize all sorts of things in the editor, but next to nothing for all the other windows in
the system.  Thus, people who prefer light-on-dark text (to lower eye-strain) cannot customize the IDE to their liking.
 At a minimum, one should be able to change the background/foreground colors of all main windows in the system.

This could either be a right-click context menu ("Properties...") on windows or some category under Options.
Comment 1 Jana Maleckova 2008-10-23 20:57:07 UTC
reassign to core for evaluation
Comment 2 Lukas Hasik 2008-10-23 21:28:54 UTC
not sure if this request is valid. IMO, it could be solved by proper L&F that would change all colors and other setting
to fit together.
OTOH, there might be users that would benefit form a simple color change. 
Comment 3 twolf2919 2008-10-23 21:57:11 UTC
I don't think using an appropriate L&F addresses my request because most of them do MORE than I want.  For instance, I
am perfectly happy with Nimbus.  If I were to change the L&F to Substance so that I can pick one of its built-in "dark"
themes, I would get my dark background, but I would also lose the Nimbus L&F.

All I'm really interested in is that all the main panes of the Netbeans IDE are configurable to have a darker background
and a lighter foreground color.  I don't want to adjust scrollbar shapes, button shapes, etc.  I don't even care if the
ancillary window (e.g. the Options dialog) is configurable - whatever it is now, is fine with me - since I rarely have
to look at them.  But I look at the "Project", "Navigator", "Output" windows all day - and a white background strains my
eyes unnecessarily.

Comment 4 mjr_1974 2008-12-07 14:18:56 UTC
I experience the same problem than twolf2919. I tried by changing the L&F and that didn't solve the problem (for
example, using the Tatoo HiFi L&F, in the projects window I ended up with a dark gray background and dark blue and dark
green letters). I other parts of the IDE the color configuration really made a great difference because I adjusted all
the values to manage the new background color.
When working many hours in front of the IDE, many developers' eyes will benefit from making the IDE as dark as possible,
greatly improving the overall working experience.
Comment 5 hansbrix 2008-12-18 08:20:55 UTC
i think this request is spot on. i know our whole dev team uses light on dark themes, and it's the only thing preventing
us from using (thoroughly awesome) netbeans 6.5. a simple IDE color selector would suffice, without invoking the
complexity of L&F.
Comment 6 David Simonek 2008-12-18 09:31:42 UTC
OK, based on voice of customers I'm raising priority and we will try to address this issue.
Comment 7 twolf2919 2008-12-18 12:37:43 UTC
Thanks, dsimonek.  My eyes thank you too :-)
Comment 8 mjr_1974 2008-12-18 16:34:18 UTC
As a partial solution you can read this topic in the Netbeans Users' Forum:
Comment 9 mjr_1974 2008-12-21 03:10:58 UTC
Thanks dsimonek for taking care of this extremely important issue. 
When working on it, it will be great if you either require all the modules of NetBeans to use colors based in the active
Look & Feel or provide a way to configure them in each module. 
For example, after changing the L&F following the instructions found in the NetBeans wiki, I was surprised that most of
the IDE behaved correctly, but some of the modules (for example the debugger, and javadoc) seem to have the colors hard
typed, making the UIs impossible or very hard to read.
Comment 10 hansbrix 2008-12-21 03:16:09 UTC
mjr 1974 brings up an excellent point. perhaps it's just because i'm new to netbeans, but no one in my crew has yet been
able to figure out how to change contextual documentation color, for example. it's hardcoded to black, and for our
windows team members, this black on black makes it unreadable. i've also noticed that the svn module appears to hardcode
the modified text color to a dark blue, for example (though i believe i saw another ticket for this). maybe all of these
requests could be unified under mjr's suggestion, and prevented going forward?
Comment 11 David Simonek 2008-12-21 09:17:51 UTC
Guys, whenever you encounter some hard coded colors like you described, please go and file a bug for specific component,
thank you. 
Comment 12 twolf2919 2008-12-22 14:32:02 UTC
*** Issue 139440 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 13 draikes 2010-12-02 21:25:43 UTC
I agree that this should be an IDE-wide setting. For section 508 purposes, this should be configurable by the user so that people with low-vision can configure to suit their needs.
Comment 14 arittner 2012-02-28 09:28:05 UTC
It should be a plugin. Not really in the core.

To modify the colors and fonts use the UIManager:

An idea is to have different themes with colors and fonts (in different bundle files?). The plugin loads the "theme files" and calls the different methods with the matching keys:

1. Read Bundle in a loop
2. decode the value into a font or color
3. call  UIManager.put (keyName, someColor or Font);

A list of keys via a Java App:

Pllease not: not any PLAF allow to change some colors or fonts. Sometimes some values are ignored (PLAF or component problem).

You need an restart to apply the most changes (not all PLAFs and components use listeners to change the design at runtime)

To make the plugin useful, it needs a option pane to create new/modify theme files.

HTH, josh
Comment 15 arittner 2012-02-28 09:30:18 UTC
Sorry, what I mean with the restart:

The manipulation via UIManager should be done in a early state (before the main window appears).
Comment 16 Milutin Kristofic 2012-07-23 13:04:04 UTC
*** Bug 156891 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 17 Milutin Kristofic 2012-07-23 13:05:31 UTC
*** Bug 147302 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 18 severo 2013-08-14 12:28:23 UTC
Comment 19 severo 2013-08-14 12:34:14 UTC
I am sorry here is the way to go:

there is a setting under Miscellaneous > Look And Feel