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?
Find out for yourself in the following article….
💡 WARNING I don’t recommend any more to install the ‘Darkest Dark’ into Eclipse. The problem is that it is a massive change of the underlying plugins, and this could cause many kind of issues up to problems that standard things crash or do not work. For vendor provided IDEs I recommend the built-in Themes, e.g. in MCUXpresso IDE there is a ‘dark’ them pre-installed: Tweaking MCUXpresso IDE Black Theme
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) 126.96.36.199805291134 (com.genuitec.eclipse.theming.feature.feature.group 188.8.131.52805291134) Missing requirement: Webclipse Common Core Platform Utilities 184.108.40.206805291134 (com.genuitec.eclipse.core.common.platform 220.127.116.11805291134) requires 'package org.apache.commons.httpclient 3.1.0' but it could not be found Cannot satisfy dependency: From: Genuitec Base 18.104.22.168805291134 (com.genuitec.eclipse.common.core.base.feature.feature.group 22.214.171.124805291134) To: com.genuitec.eclipse.core.common.platform [126.96.36.199805291134] Cannot satisfy dependency: From: DevStyle (includes Darkest Dark Theme) 188.8.131.52805291134 (com.genuitec.eclipse.theming.feature.feature.group 184.108.40.206805291134) To: com.genuitec.eclipse.common.core.base.feature.feature.group [220.127.116.11805291134]
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:
With these installed, the above error message will not show up in the next step when installing DevStyle:
Installation of DevStyle
To install the Darkest Dark Theme, I use the following Eclipse update site (Help > Install New Software):
and install the following plugin:
This should now install without issues :-).
With the new plugin installed, I have now new workspace themes, the ability to do inline search and a new Eclipse startup experience:
It asks me for my style preference which I can change anytime later:
The plugin comes with a nice Eclipse Launch experience:
With the Darkest Dark theme, things are really looking ‘dark’ 🙂 :
Debugging with the disassembly view in ‘black’:
A nice feature is the ‘inline search‘ which avoids the usual modal dialog:
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:
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.
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 🙂
- NXP MCUXpresso IDE: http://mcuxpresso.nxp.com/ide/
- MCUXpresso IDE article: Overview of MCUXpresso IDE v10.2.0
- Genuitec web site: https://www.genuitec.com/
- Mylyn downloads: https://www.eclipse.org/mylyn/downloads/
- Inline Search: https://www.genuitec.com/docs/power-ups/using-inline-search/