I started using the TextMate Theme for Visual Studio a week ago. This afternoon I switched back to the default VS theme and nearly threw up. It’s really flipping plain to the point of being ugly. All the same, I looked at the white screen for less than a minute and I reinstalled TextMate. I didn’t even strike a key. I just rolled back. I guess the default theme is no longer my default theme.
I have never used an alternate theme before. In fact, not too long ago, I used to resent looking at code which wasn’t being shown under the default (read: most common) theme. I have gone as far as to ask developers to read their code to me (you know who you are) because their theme was too busy and/or simply didn’t agree with me. Unfamiliar themes are a distraction — at least they are to me. In my opinion, all presentations (code reviews included) should be done using the default theme as to not take away from the information being presented.
Coincidentally, it took me a couple of hours to get used to the TextMate theme. I suppose having watched all of the MVC Storefront presentations which use TextMate rather than the default theme (oh, the irony) instigated and most likely helped me with the transition.
It is quick and easy to switch between themes (Tools > Import and Export Settings…). Even if you are sharing your code or presenting often, I would encourage you to sample something new. If you are like me, you may find an alternate theme gives your code some personality, possibly provides a little creative inspiration or simply lessens the strain on your eyes (I know the default white background can get a little blurry for me at the end of the day.)
Give an alternate theme a try and let me know what you think.