Installing Darkest Theme with MCUXpresso IDE 10.2

Is BLACK the color of the season? My students really seem to love these ‘dark’ Eclipse themes. Well, I tried ‘dark’ themes in the past, but I have not been vey excited about it. Somehow I preferred more the ‘black on white background’ thing. But: I have now managed to install the ‘Darkest Dark’ Eclipse theme into the NXP MCUXpresso 10.2 IDE for my daily work, and I feel it hurts my eyes less? Maybe I’m getting older? Or could it really be that ‘dark’ look and feel?

Darkest Dark Theme with MCUXpresso IDE

Darkest Dark Theme with MCUXpresso IDE

Find out for yourself in the following article….

Outline

I have described in this article how to install the ‘Darkest Dark’ theme from Genuitec into the Eclipse based MCUXpresso IDE 10.2. That theme installs fine into ‘stock’ Eclipse Oxygen, but because a few plugins are missing in MCUXpresso IDE, I describe the necessary steps to have it installed.

Installation of Mylyn

Plugins should usually find and resolve their dependencies. At least at the time of writing this article, the Genuitec plugin somehow fails in case Mylyn is not installed (this might happen for other Eclipse distributions too).

For reference, the error I have received with no Mylyn installed is:

Cannot complete the install because one or more required items could not be found.
  Software being installed: DevStyle (includes Darkest Dark Theme) 
1.11.0.201805291134 (com.genuitec.eclipse.theming.feature.feature.group 
1.11.0.201805291134)
  Missing requirement: Webclipse Common Core Platform Utilities 
13.0.2.201805291134 (com.genuitec.eclipse.core.common.platform 
13.0.2.201805291134) requires 'package org.apache.commons.httpclient 
3.1.0' but it could not be found
  Cannot satisfy dependency:
    From: Genuitec Base 1.11.0.201805291134 (com.genuitec.eclipse.common.core.base.feature.feature.group 1.11.0.201805291134)
    To: com.genuitec.eclipse.core.common.platform [13.0.2.201805291134]
  Cannot satisfy dependency:
    From: DevStyle (includes Darkest Dark Theme) 1.11.0.201805291134 
(com.genuitec.eclipse.theming.feature.feature.group 1.11.0.201805291134)
    To: com.genuitec.eclipse.common.core.base.feature.feature.group [1.11.0.201805291134]

To solve such a problem, you need to install at least a portion of Mylyn. What I did is installing the part of Mylyn which comes with stock Eclipse Oxygen.

From https://www.eclipse.org/mylyn/downloads/ I have downloaded the latest release and used it with Help > Install New Software:

Installing Mylyn Plugins

Installing Mylyn Plugins

With these installed, the above error message will not show up in the next step when installing DevStyle:

Mylyn Plugins

Mylyn Plugins

Installation of DevStyle

To install the Darkest Dark Theme, I use the following Eclipse update site (Help > Install New Software):

http://www.genuitec.com/updates/webclipse/oxygen

and install the following plugin:

Installation of DevStyle

Installation of DevStyle

This should now install without issues :-).

DevStyle

With the new plugin installed, I have now new workspace themes, the ability to do inline search and a new Eclipse startup experience:

Hello

Hello

It asks me for my style preference which I can change anytime later:

Style

Style

The plugin comes with a nice Eclipse Launch experience:

Launch

Launch

With the Darkest Dark theme, things are really looking ‘dark’ 🙂 :

Darkest Dark Theme with MCUXpresso IDE

Darkest Dark Theme with MCUXpresso IDE

Debugging with the disassembly view in ‘black’:

Disassembly View

Disassembly View

A nice feature is the ‘inline search‘ which avoids the usual modal dialog:

Inline Search

Inline Search

Switching Themes

The Dark Theme looks great for all the ‘standard’ Eclipse views and plugins, because the Darkest Dark Theme replaces icons/etc to make them work very well. This is not the case for any non-standard or custom plugins. As a result, the dark theme might not work well for some views (e.g. the MCUXPresso Config Tools). What I do in this case I temporarily switch from the ‘DevStyle’ theme to the ‘classic’ Eclipse theme in the workspace settings:

Switching Theme

Switching Theme

It will ask me to restart the IDE, but I have found that for such a temporary switch this is not necessary. To make a clean switch, I recommend to restart the IDE.

Summary

If installing the Darkest Dark plugin fails, it might be because some parts of Mylyn are missing. Using the theme is very handy especially if you feel that such a dark theme does hurt your eyes less. So it can make working long hours with Eclipse even more comfortable. I might be that not every Eclipse plugin has been tuned the details for using it with a dark theme, but for sure core Eclipse features and editing looks really nice with the Darkest Dark theme.

What do you think about these ‘dark’ themes? How important are they for you? Post a comment and let us know.

Happy Darking 🙂

Links

 

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18 thoughts on “Installing Darkest Theme with MCUXpresso IDE 10.2

  1. Darkest Dark was one of the first things I tried with MCUX. I had some trouble with project property page layouts that I think might have had more to do with the GNU ARM Eclipse plug-in, but I’m not certain. Ended up removing it to have one less thing to muddy the waters.

    Make sure you give us an update in a few weeks! If it’s working out well for you I’ll give it a try again myself. Borland Turbo C++’s white-on-blue background was probably the darkest I’ve worked with before (and looking back on it now it’s kind of glaring) but dark is trendy now, and these modern displays do get a little overly bright.

    Also we’re getting old.

    Like

    • Hi Scott,
      the theme replaces or overlays the stock eclipse icons and view settings of the common CDT/JDT plugins. From what I can tell is that the views for anything ‘non-standard’ do not look as clean and nice.
      Resulting in some icon artifacts or not-so-easy-to-read views. But it looks fine for the standard views. So for the GNU ARM (ähm: MCU) Eclipse plugins the same issue exists: they have not been tuned or optimized for the dark theme.
      I think if there is enough demand, this might change. Or if users contribute back better settings?

      Like

      • Installed without a hitch here – didn’t need to install any extra plugins. And now I remember that one thing I don’t like about it is the tiny scroll bars. I’d swear I found a way to change them but I don’t remember what it was now.

        One thing that helps offset that is the Overview plugin. It gives you a zoomed-out preview like the one in VS Code. And the latest version no longer crashes on map files!

        Like

        • I tried this with the original 10.2 setup, and I had to add the extra Mylyn plugins. Maybe you have it installed from another plugin?

          Like

  2. I’ve tested Darkest Dark + DevStyle on Eclipse Oxygen with Liviu Ionescu’s MCU plugin.
    The same small problems with dark themes emerged. In debug mode, in disassembly view, colors are not right and op codes are not visible. In New Project window, compiler names are not rendered properly (again because of background color being the same as foreground color). I can’t also change the editor colors (why comments are yellow?)
    Have you tested this on Oxygen also?

    Like

  3. I have testet Darkest Dark + DevStyle on MCUXpresso 10.2 and I liked it. Better for my eyes! But unfortunately some perspective does not work well at all : Especially MCUXpresso ‘s own extensions like pin tool and clock tool. Colors are horrible, and it is no longer possible to select from some dropdown menus (blank content) like Routed Pins table view. I had to uninstall it. Hope it will be fixed in the future.

    Like

    • Yes, I noticed as well that the configuration tools are not really usable with that dark theme, and haver reported it to NXP, hopefully they can improve this in the future. I did not uninstall the theme, as I can switch to the normal theme whenever I want to use the config tools. I spend more time in editing and debugging, so it is still worthwile for me to use the dark theme.

      Like

      • Thanks! Where can I switch between dark theme and normal theme ? I was looking for it, but didn’t find it. That would make me install it again!

        Like

  4. Easier way to install it on MCUXPresso 10.2.0 through the market place:

    1. Open the IDE and go to Window > Preferences > Install/Update > Available Software Sites. Click ‘Add’ and enter the update site url for Neon in the Location field : http://download.eclipse.org/releases/oxygen/

    2. Once done, go to the Eclipse Marketplace and install the Darkest Dark plugin.

    Like

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