Make IDEA more friendly to third party Look & Feels

Subject says it all. IDEA is not very friendly to third party look and feels.

It seems IDEA changes the basic theme colors after the L&F is loaded, messing up with the whole color scheme. This does not causes problems with unthemeable (in the Metal Theme sense) L&F like Alloy, but makes L&F like the Plastic family (from JGoodies) unusable.

I can guess the color tweaking is necessary to make the IDEA L&F look the way you want. If this is the case, you could check if the current L&F is the IDEA L&F before making these adjustments. Or better yet, move these adjustments to the IDEA L&F initialization instead of setting then during application startup.

Maybe this has something to do with this[/url] SCR, which would also be welcome.

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What would be the benefit of using a 3rd party look and feel, over
IDEA's one?
I guess IDEA is hand-optimized for/with it's own L&F.

Alain

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User choice. I think IntelliJ folks recognize that everybody today loves customizing how their desktop looks, since they allowed us to change IDEA L&F since Ariadna, and there is an open SCR about changing L&F colors.

That being said, I admit there is no real value in that, aside the subjective "user choice" value and that's why I haven't opened a SCR about it. This post is more like "hey folks, that day you return ealier from lunch, how about taking a quick look at this?" than "please, implement this request as it is of utmost urgency".

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unthemeable (in the Metal Theme sense) L&F like Alloy


??? Alloy is themeable exactly in the sense of MetalThemes! Shouldn't a LAF support changing themes after the LAF is loaded?
I tried running IDEA with Alloy and as you said it worked fine, but I switched back to IDEA's default LAF because it is equally appealing. All in all I couldn't care less about other LAFs as long as the default LAF is nice and polished.

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User choice.


Cool. And what's the benefit of it? Does IDEA with Xyz-LnF has more
refactorings? Or do you just like IDEA-modding?

Tom

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What would be the benefit of using a 3rd party look
and feel, over
IDEA's one?
I guess IDEA is hand-optimized for/with it's own L&F.

Alain




The same benefit that one gets from changing editor fonts, keyword highlighting, coloring, etc.

Most of the benefits are subjective, but that's the point, right?

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Brian Majewski wrote:

>>What would be the benefit of ..

> The same benefit that one gets from changing editor fonts,
> keyword highlighting, coloring, etc.
> Most of the benefits are subjective, but that's the point, right?


No, I don't think so. You change fonts to make text reading more
effective, more comfortable. That's an objective benefit; even comfort.

Do you think changing L&F would make your IDEA usage more effective?

I asked because I - still - have the feeling that the best answer to
"why use a 3rd party l&f?"
you could get from people who request the feature is
"because we can"

If you know a better reason, please tell me. I'd like to know. Maybe I
would benefit from it.

Alain



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Yes, definitely.

I use the Windows L&F because the tabs on the tab bar are smaller(shorter), and, therefore, take up less space(leaving more for the editor window).

Metal also does the same, over the IDEA default, except that the spacing in the project and structure views is not a code(there is more gap between each item). Hence, with the Windows L&F I get more information on my monitor.

Of course, if there were L&Fs that made even better use of the available space, I would love to use those, since I am not big on the general L&F of the Windows L&F(but I won't give up the realstate just to get a slightly pretty picture).

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zmbs,

>I use the Windows L&F because the tabs .. take up less space(leaving more for the editor window).
>

Why not post a RFE for IDEA's L&F?

Alain

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I am not exactly sure what you mean. The Alloy Look&Feel is themeable just as the Metal Look&Feel, even in a more flexible way.

The problem is with the JGoodies l&f is probably a result of subclassing the JGoodies l&f from the Metal look&feel. This always causes problems with the theme, becaus the theme in Metal is static, so it will be shared by the Metal L&F and all its subclasses. We had these problems in the good old Kunststoff Look&Feel, and that was excatly the main reason why the Alloy Look&Feel did not become a subclass of the Metal Look&Feel. A decision that caused a lot of work, but paid off at the end.

So IMHO IntelliJ can do very little or nothing to fix this. It has to be done by JGoodies, but since it needs a major change in architecture, I doubt that you will see it.

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I don't know, I just got used to the Windows one and I use it.

Plus, I figure they have the IDEA L&F the way they want it, like most other things in IDEA, so I don't feel like sticking my neck out for it.

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"why use a 3rd party l&f?"

because it looks better!?

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Note: once again, I'm not telling using another l&f is a bad
idea, I'm just wondering about what I'm missing by not using one.

Michael Seele wrote:
>> "why use a 3rd party l&f?"
> because it looks better!?

Well, it's a very good reason, if you're in the beauty contest business,
but I'm not, unfortunately.
Are you more effective with the other l&f (read faster, less tired, more
comfort, ...)?

If you answer 'yes',
- please give me some details, and
- why not post a RFE to enhance IDEA's l&f.?


My original and genuine question was simpler :
> What would be the benefit of using a 3rd party look and feel,
> over IDEA's one?
> I guess IDEA is hand-optimized for/with it's own L&F.


> because it looks better!?
is not a benefit.

> because I can fit an extra 2 editor tabs on a single row ..
would be a benefit... that could be added to IDEA's l&f, should a RFE be
posted.


Alain

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Thanks for the great explanation, Jan. I think IDEA L&F is also a subclass of MetalLookAndFeel, so tuning IDEA L&F changes JGoodies L&F.

You're right, in this case Jetbrains folks don't need to change anything -- it's Lentzsch's fault (or better yet: Sun's fault). Since JGoodies is now open source, I hope people try to make it better.

P.S.: Alloy ROCKS, best L&F I've ever seen. IDEA looks specially good with it. Too bad that 30 days evaluation don't takes forever ^^

pokes Jetbrains folks to bundle Alloy pokes

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+1 :)
alloy is really really beautiful

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My original and genuine question was simpler :
> What would be the benefit of using a 3rd party look and feel,
> over IDEA's one?
> I guess IDEA is hand-optimized for/with it's own L&F.

>
>

> because it looks better!?
is not a benefit.

Well, it can be, sometimes. If the fact that it looks better makes me forget
some of the pain I get from having to stare at a monitor all day long, then
it is a benefit. But "it looks better" is kind of broad for describing the
differences between look and feels, I agree, so here are some of the reasons
I chose to use Alloy over IDEA's LnF for (apart from the eye candy, of
course :)

- background colour: the grey that comes with IDEA is too dark for me (at
least compared to what I get with Alloy). At the same size (and I tend to
keep it fairly small), text is harder to read (on the tabs, menu, etc.),
gutter icons are harder to spot (the small green implements icon is almost
invisible on the grey background). That translates in an extra strain on my
eyes I'd gladly do without.
- bold fonts: it's so much harder to read text in bold (at least for me).
The contrast between the selected tab and all the other ones is just too big
(for my eye comfort, I mean), the lighter background is nice to have, but
the bold text just makes things harder to read.
- blue background selection: tab switching plugin preserves the vcs colour
for the files and that's quite handy when used with Alloy. With IDEA's
default LnF that just can't be usable (that's why so many requests to keep
the vcs colour got closed with do not fix).

It's mostly about colours and how easily things can be spotted in the IDE.
If you add the eye candy you get with some look and feels packages you'll
see why people might choose to go with one LnF or another.

As for why not ask IDEA's developers to enhance their LnF, I think that what
look and feels are all about: the ability to change the appearance without
having to ask the developers to change code.

Just my 2 c,
Andrei


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Andrei,

Thanks for taking the time to post the details about IDEA with Alloy.
Could you post a PNG screenshot, here, or on the Wiki? I wonder what
IDEA looks like, in an Alloy suit.

Alain

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No, I don't think so. You change fonts to make text
reading more
effective, more comfortable. That's an objective
benefit; even comfort.


subjective in the sense that what is more effective and comfortable for you is not necessarily the same as what is effective and comfortable for me.

issues such as color blindness, equipment differences, and yes even preference do dictate the choices for look and feel.

i agree that many applications with theme support (ala winamp) do encourage many "because-I-can" themes. However, I spend the time to find a theme that meshes with my desktop well, uses space appropriately and is easy to control. all factors that only I can decide regardless of the skill or well-meaning intentions of the theme designer.

I agree that we should forward suggestions to the JetBrains team for incorporation into the default theme, but let's realize that there is no one correct way.

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Here's one screenshot if IDEA using Alloy Look&Feel. I'm using the Bedouin theme (not the default one). System font is Bitstream Vera Serif at 14 pixels and I'm using Alloy frame decorations. I find the overall effect quite pleasant.



Attachment(s):
idea-alloy.png
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Here's how it looks on my computer.

Andrei



Attachment(s):
idea_alloy1.png
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Marcus Brito wrote:

System font is Bitstream Vera Serif at 14 pixels


Which font do you use in the editor? Another Vera variation or
something else?

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Another Vera variant: Bitstream Vera Sans Mono

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