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Customize the Colours of the Ruby In Steel IDE

How to give Ruby In Steel a colourful makeover...

Visual Studio is hugely customizable. Ruby In Steel extends the default customization options to let you tailor your Ruby and Rails development environment to look and work just the way you like it.

Here is a fairly traditional ’light’ colour scheme with a white background in the editors and toolwindows and a variety of syntax colours in the Ruby and Rails (RHTML) source code editors. The interactive Ruby console (bottom left) uses green on black. You can download a range of light and dark colour schemes end of this article.

One of the things that users often want to customize right at the outset is the colour scheme. In this article, I’ll guide you through the steps you need to take to change the Ruby In Steel colours and save or load colour schemes to and from disk. This gives you the possibility of creating custom colour schemes to share with other users.

Before doing any customization, it is always a good idea to save your current colour settings so that you can easily restore the originals if you don’t like the changes you make...

Saving A Colour Scheme

To save the current colours, follow these steps.

- Select the Tools menu, then Import and Export Settings.
- In the Import and Export Settings Wizard, select Export selected environment settings and click Next.
- In the tree-view of settings, deselect all by clicking All Settings to make the branches display blank checkboxes.
- Click the Options branch to expand it, then click Environment.
- Beneath the Environment branch, click the Fonts and Colours checkbox to select it. Click Next
- Optionally, give a name to the settings file and browse to select a directory in which to save it.
- Click Finish. Once the settings have been saved, click Close to exit from the Wizard.

Customize The Colours

With your current settings saved, you are now ready to start customizing the colours. Load the Tools->Options dialog and select the Environment->Fonts and Colours page.

IDE Colours

Many Visual Studio windows may be selected from the Show Settings for drop-down list in the Options dialog. For example, here you can alter the colours of the Watch and Locals windows or All Text Tool Windows such as the Output window. To alter the colours of the interactive console, select Ruby Console from the list.

Here you can customize the colours of the Ruby console...

...and this is the end result.

Editor Colours

To alter the Editor colours, select Text Editor from the Show settings for list. Optionally, select the Font and Size for all text in the editor. Now you can select individual text elements in the Display Items box and set the Item Foreground, Item Background and whether or not the item should be displayed in Bold. If the default colours are not sufficient, click the Custom button to select other colours from a colour picker.

These are the source code colouring options used by Ruby In Steel...

1) Visual Studio Standard Colours
- Strings
- Comments
- Numbers
- Keywords
- Identifiers
- Plain Text
- Selected Text
- Inactive Selected Text
(plus numerous other ‘system-wide’ colour options such as indicator margin, bookmark, breakpoint and so on...)

2) Ruby Colours

- Ruby Brace: colours of ( ), and [ ]
- Ruby Class Definition: colours of class name declarations (e.g. class MyClass )
- Ruby Class Variable: colours of class variable
- Ruby Constant: colours of Constant names
- Ruby Global Variable: colours of Global variables
- Ruby Instance Variable: colours of Instance variables
- Ruby Method Call: colours of Method name reference (e.g. ob.aMeth )
- Ruby Method Definition: colours of Method name declarations (e.g. def aMeth )
- Ruby Module Definition: colours of Module name declarations
- Ruby Regular Expression: colours Regular Expressions
- Ruby Symbol: colours of symbols such as :mysymbol

3) Rails (RHTML) Colours

- Rails Serverside Script: colours of <% <%= and %> tags
- Rails Tag Delimiter: colours of Rails tag delimiters
- Rails Attribute Name: colours of HTML attributes such as width or bgcolour
- Rails Attribute Value: colours values of HTML attributes
- Rails Element Name: colours of HTML elements such as <td> or <head>
- Rails Entity: Colours elements such as &nbsp;

Note: Some windows such as the Solution Explorer, Watch windows and menus, adopt the background colour set at system-level throughout Windows. For an extreme makeover of Ruby In Steel, you can alter these colours using the Display Properties dialog. On Windows XP, right click your Windows desktop, select Properties, switch to the Appearance tab, click Advanced; On Windows Vista, right click your Windows desktop, select Personalize, click Window Color and Appearance and click the Open classic appearance properties link. Then click the various elements of the interface and set the colours.

Set the Windows colour properties to take colour customization to the limit!

Loading A Colour Scheme

To load up a saved colour scheme:

- Select the Tools menu, then Import and Export Settings just as you did when saving a scheme (see earlier in this article).
- Select Import selected environment settings. Click Next.
- Optionally select ‘Yes, save my current settings’ and browse to a directory in which to save them. Select Next.
- Select a colour scheme from those listed (or Browse to find a settings file). 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.

Try Out A Few Ready-to-Run Colour Schemes

With the launch of the Ruby In Steel Text Edition, we bundle a set of ready-to-use colour schemes with the software. If you don’t have those schemes, you can download them here in a single Zip file.

Zip - 20.3 kb
Standard Ruby In Steel Colour Schemes

Here are a few screen shots of the bundled schemes.

Light Schemes

- Classic

A light scheme with minimal colour highlighting...

- October

Another light scheme with more elements coloured...

- White Satin

A light scheme with monochrome consoles...

- Retro Consoles

A version of White Satin in which the consoles have black backgrounds...

Dark Schemes

- Dark Green 80s

A seriously retro scheme for lovers of green-on-black screens...

- Violent Ink

A fairly colourful dark scheme...

- Dark Ink

Another colourful dark scheme with many elements emboldened...

- Dark Pastel

A less aggressive dark scheme with pastel text colours...

Zip - 20.3 kb
Standard Ruby In Steel Colour Schemes

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