Themes

For as long as I can remember, theming was very important to me. Aesthetics. My idea was that if I were going to use something, it should look nice so that I would enjoy using it. Or I just liked things to look nice… Whatever may be the case, I think my obsession started with my iPod Touch. At the time, it was an ubiquitous device - the smartphone for that time. It was amazing what I could do with it but for some reason there was no real option to make it look nice. I’m not saying it looked ugly but it was lacking that something. Moving around icons wasn’t cutting it for me. When I realized that I could theme with my jailbroken iPod, I was elated. I proceeded to change and assess for hours on end - all this for a stupid little device!

However, something about the idea wore me out and when I got my Nexus 4 I didn’t customize it at all with themes. Instead, I opted for functionality and performance. I flashed many ROMs and kernels trying to get it to be the best it can be. Then came around the phase where I had a sudden desire to change the Chrome theme. I had been using a minimialistic theme and I wanted something a bit more showy. So I searched and searched. It took me many themese and many days before I settled back on my original theme - I barely see the theme anyways. Then I was hit by the phone theme and found myself sinking hours I should have spent sleeping into tweaking it just right. Again, I found myself back on the original. In those cases, my ventures were clearly a waste of time. There was simply nothing to be gained by it. Sure, I’d feel a bit better but in the end I ended back up where I started. Net gain of aesthetics is nil while I had a huge loss of time.

The first text editor I picked up one was probably Notepad. I didn’t know any better! Thinking back to it, I remember how painful it was and am immensely grateful that it was such a short period of time. Next, I picked up Notepad++ (haha) for its functionality. But something didn’t quite sit right with me. It looked just like Notepad execept with more options and tabs, in short - ugly. There is a distinction between minimalistic and ugly albeit a fine one at times. Notepad++ was, to me, quite clearly the latter. This was around the time of GenTech so I decided to give Sublime a try. Everyone else was using it - why not? It was a massive improvement in terms of looks. Functionality wise, I was getting the same deal.

Unfortunately for me, I came across plugins one day while browsing Sublime related things. One thing led to another and soon I found myself installing plugins and themes. After a bunch, I settled on Seti. It had a colorscheme I liked and its overall appearance was simply more appealing to me than the vanilla. That’s another thing with me, if even a small part doesn’t fit I need to look for a new theme which makes the effort a 100x more time intensive. That was great while it lasted… right? Wrong. As time goes on, I inevitably get exposed to new things: Atom. My first impression of Atom was that it was a reskinned Sublime built with Electron. I still stand by it. Anyways, although the different theme appeased me for a while, it didn’t last long. I soon found myself searching for the exact theme I had used in Sublime. If I find a good theme, I’ll always keep it in mind since they seem to be so hard to come by. But wait, where is this all going you ask? Bear with me, I’m almost done reminiscing about my painful aesthetic urges.

Again, I was introduced to a new text editor: vim. Using it felt awesome but looking at it made me want to cry. It was horrible. So naturally I spent hours searching for a theme but unable to find one I actually liked I half heartedly picked one that looked decent. I even found out that you can theme your shell when I switched over to zsh - the joy! So what? Well these are tools that I use everyday to get work done. I’d argue that this is different as it was a tool more than entertainment or whatever else. It was a tool for work, so the effort and time spent on it can be justified. Design is more than aesthetics, it’s about functionality as well. I’m sure no one wants to use something that looks terrible everyday as a tool, we grow tired of it. Not only does it aggravate our innate desire of beauty it also interferes with work. In fact the current theme I’m using in vim is much more intuitive and easier on the eye than what I had first seen when I opened vim. Working with nicer tools just makes me feel better so I don’t mind investing in that.

On another note, people want change after periods of consistency. But changing text editors isn’t ideal - especially when it’s usually at a whim. Customization allows me to put a new theme on an old editor and breathe new life into it. Suddenly I feel as if I had opened it for the first time ever. It’s all a time of firsts once again. So yeah, I can’t justify the time spent on my phone and devices but on the shell and editor I don’t feel as bad about. I mean I still do because it’s so hard choosing one that I like. I’ve considered designing my own, trust me. However, with the tendency at which I like to switch I’d say it’s better for me to just find new ones. Besides, I couldn’t even tell you what I want. To wrap that up: I came up with this idea to write about because I just switched my neovim theme (to one) and I am liking it… so far.