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A Dark Colour Scheme For ActionScript, Ruby, MXML and Rails

How To Turn The Lights Off in the Code Editor
by Huw Collingbourne
Friday 23 January 2009.

Many programmers prefer to display the code editor with a dark background rather than Visual Studio’s default white background. The good news is that the Visual Studio colours are hugely configurable. You can do everything from tweaking just one or two colours to creating a whole new colour scheme.

The ’Amethyst Dark’ colour scheme with ActionScript

Our Flex IDE, ‘Amethyst’, pushes Visual Studio’s configuration to the limit. Not only does it use the Visual Studio defaults for common items such as Strings, Numbers and Comments but it also adds in a huge range of additional options to let you colour each specific ActionScript keyword - with different colours for, say, public and private, get and set and so on. In fact, Amethyst has no less than 64 ActionScript and 6 MXML colour options in addition to the Visual Studio defaults.

If you want to change some colours, just open the Settings dialog (Tools, Options, Environment, Fonts and Colors) and locate the sections beginning with ActionScript and MXML in the Display Items list for the Text Editor.

Ruby In Steel also provides dedicated colour options (find the Ruby and Rails settings in the font list). For more information on colouring Ruby In Steel, refer to our tutorial, Customize the Colours of the Ruby In Steel IDE.

You can create mixed-language solutions combining both Amethyst and Ruby In Steel projects (if you have them both installed!). Here a Flex application is shown in the top window with a Ruby program beneath. Note that some other window such as ‘Output’ have also been given a dark makeover...

Note that older Ruby In Steel colour schemes (those on this site and provided with the software) are not well behaved with Amethyst. That is, simply, due to the fact that they were created before Amethyst even existed and they do not, therefore, include ActionScript and MXML colour schemes. To help fill that gap, I have now created a new colour scheme called amethyst dark.

Here a Ruby program adopts the Amethyst Dark colours

The Amethyst Dark scheme can be used with Amethyst or with Ruby In Steel or, indeed, with C# and VB .NET. In fact, it can be used with any combination of the above.

Rails does Amethyst Dark too - this is a bit of a Rails (ERb) template

If you don’t have Amethyst or Ruby In Steel loaded then the settings related to them will be ignored. If you have one or both of them loaded, on the other hand, their syntax-specific settings will all be imported.

In order to load up this colour scheme, follow these steps:

- Download and unzip it.
- Select the Tools menu, then Import and Export Settings.
- Select Import selected environment settings. Click Next.
- Optionally (and recommended so that you can easily restore your current settings) select ‘Yes, save my current settings’ and browse to a directory in which to save them. Select Next.
- Select Browse and browse to amethyst-dark.vssettings. Select it and click Next.
- Verify the options you are about to import (should be Options->Environment->Fonts and Colors).
- Click Finish. Then click Close to exit the wizard.
- Enjoy!

Amethyst Dark also works with C# - as seen here

Related Information:

- Customize the Colours of the Ruby In Steel IDE
- A Brief Guide To Amethyst
- ActionScript Automatic Code Formatting

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The Amethyst Dark Colour Scheme

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