Leave VS 2010 theme (and the theme editor extension) as an option
When you came out with the VS 2010 theme, you said that it allowed you to focus on the code windows. The benefit that the theme provided hasn't changed, so please allow that theme to stay in VS 11, as well as the "Color Theme Editor" extension by Matthew Johnson (http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/20cd93a2-c435-4d00-a797-499f16402378) so those that want to tweak or even choose another theme can do so. Please don't force us to use a "metro style" theme (even if you add some color). You worked so hard to create a good looking 2010 theme, don't throw it away...that would be such a waste.
If you allow VS 11 to not look Metro, it doesn't mean your new Metro apps will lose traction. If you feel you have to make Studio look Metro to persuade Metro app development, then that would mean there's a self-confidence problem.
Since the VS11 shell is WPF like VS2010 was, please include VS2010's UI theme as a theme for VS11. The theme in VS2010 was on target, very well done, eye appealing, it was not distracting either. Many applications have been themed to look like VS2010 as well around the world (MySQL CE WorkBench, FaultTrack, and many tools). I like the light and dark themes, but I like VS2010 theme better.
VS11 is a complete eye sore Bring the Colors Back Now!!
Before it's too late.
There is no reason to make the sounding contents dull to make developers concentrate on the central content page. Bring back the Chrome!!
Most of my time is spent coding C++ in the VC environment. I know where my code content is, it takes up over 75% of the screen real estate! There is no need to gray out the surroundings.
I am coding! Not animating a character or creating a GUI interface by drawing (in only that case this gray style may be appropriate)
When writing code the number one most important thing to me is navigating between classes, source files, member functions, attributes, directory structures, breakpoints and debugging watch windows etc... And I want to see them quickly (via color cues)
Theses color cues are hardwired into my brain and everyone else's brain fine tuned over 5000000+ years of evolution.
Way to undo all of that human evolutionary advantage for coding in VS11 !!! Microsoft!
I thought I had you pegged as a great company this iteration of VS11 gives me pause on that note...
As the feedback to the VS11 beta screenshots demonstrated, many developers are passionate about the feel of the IDE they use. It is probably a given that no one style will make everybody happy.
However, there's a solution - allow loadable, shareable themes. While VS2010 has this to some extent with the theme editor addin, there are many aspects of the UI that are not stylable.
The UI for VisualStudio should support alterations to all visual aspects through some method. While support for theme creating, editing, importing, and exporting would be appreciated, full themability exposed via an API would allow this niche to be filled via an addin.
Note that any aspect of the UI that can not be recolored or redrawn via a theme will detract from the usefullness of styling (for example, the text editor window scrollbars in visual studio 2010)
I’m going to mark this as completed so you can get your votes back – note that Matthew Johnson has released a VS 2012 color theme editor as you requested (link below) – I know it doesn’t have everything you requested in this idea, but hopefully this helps to address your feedback.
Doug Turnure – Visual Studio PM
Anna Metcalfe commented
@Nick it's certainly possible to change command icons using the command bar control interfaces in EnvDTE. Changing them in this way does not affect the icons held by the command itself - those are used to create the corresponding command bar control and don't change.
I've not yet checked whether you can do the same with built-in icons (we used icons in our own plug-in for test purposes), but you might be able to - or use a comparable VSX interface to achieve the same aim.
The context for us is that we want to change the icons dynamically to match the active theme, as that way we can use colour icons in the light theme without the dark theme mucking them up.
By the way, if you need to check whether the active theme has changed the best way we've found is to trap the AfterExecute event for Tools|Options, and check the VSCOLOR values at that point.
@Anna; I thought you looked familiar after coming across your codeproject earlier in the day... I've pretty much determined the data structure and extracted the color codes. I have yet to look at the structure of VS 2010 to see how they compare but that is left for later as my focus is on VS2012. I'm looking to see if the icons can be statically done as it would be less of a "hack" and more of a natural and permanent approach. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll get in touch with Carlos.
Anna Metcalfe commented
@Nick, you might want to get in touch with us (Riverblade) as in the process of adding support for the dark theme to our Visual Lint product (see http://www.riverblade.co.uk/blog.php#2012080202) we've discovered a few things which might be relevant to the task you're undertaking (e.g. we've been looking at dynamically modifying icons, and have spreadsheets of all of the VSCOLOR data for VS2010 and 2012).
You might also want to start a conversation with Carlos Quintero (http://msmvps.com/blogs/carlosq/default.aspx) as the chances are he's worked out a few things too.
@Tom; I've started work on theme customization for VS2012. I've got pretty far by sheer reverse engineering approach as I don't think any documentation exists on this. I'm at a point where I can modify the colors of every component in the IDE so far. I'm now working on the icons.. Once I get there, rolling out a VS2010 theme or something similar would be pretty easy. Stay tuned.
Go post your feelings about the UI here:
Oliver Waits commented
Does anyone have a link to the bring VS2010 theme back facebook group?
Victor Zakharov commented
Metro sucks. Period. Bring back VS 2010 theme.
John Maillet commented
I love the new UI functionality but, theme customization will help greatly. I'm running under Windows 7 and the "Metro" theme is rather jarring in contrast to the rest of the apps and desktop.
"A theme editor would at least make the decisions forgivable" -- It would help but the other huge problem are the icons including those in the solution explorer. We need to be able to change them as well.
WTF. VS 2012 themes suck... LIGHT IS TOO LIGHT. DARK IS TOO DARK. PLEASE FIX!
Beta theme was a failure. So when you have a failed design you throw it away and go back to what works. You don't take a steaming pile of c*** and try to improve on it with dashes of color. A color coded status bar given monochrome icons is a cruel joke from a twisted mind.
There should at least be 3 themes: Light, Dark and Dont ***** With What Works Well (ala VS 2010).
Both the Dark and Light themes in VS2012 are completely unusable. The UX design (or lack thereof) is simply appalling and not worthy of the developers who need to use your product.
Dan Engelman commented
A theme editor would at least make the decisions forgivable.
If I was in charge, I'd fire whoever made these decisions.
KNOW YOUR USERS!
Just started using 2012 and I find the standard theme far too bright, especially on modern monitors. The code actually gets lost because everything looks the same.
It's not that I want the VS2010 theme back but I'd like to see an in-between theme where the code window remains with a white background but the rest of the UI is darker.
I'm recommending apache server over IIS until MS apologizes and stops this nonsense.
Colors(or lack thereof): Bad, Iconography: Bad, Contrast: Bad, Window separation: Bad
Trying to find something good (that I like) about the UI is posing quite a challenge.
Globe icons for pages, page icons for code, and designer... grey grey grey... I can't see where the structure is in my project anymore using peripheral vision.
I used to be able to - peripherally - get a grip for "where I am" in a large project, however this colour scheme removes this ability.
PLEASE allow themers to customise the icon sets - I for one would switch in a heart-beat.
radioman . lt commented
not again, do not censor me, you *****-HEADS ;/