Peter Flynn edited this page Jul 31, 2014 · 8 revisions

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The Themes feature shipped in Brackets 0.42 (accessed via View > Themes menu). See Creating Themes for how to create your own theme.

See the Trello card for the implementation of editor themes

Miguel Castillo's Brackets-Themes extension is built in a way that would allow its code to be refactored and slimmed down and moved into core. Themes needs to be a core feature so that they can be packaged and shipped as independent extensions.

Here's a quick rundown of features that we'd want:

  • Themes are extensions
  • Themes are registered with a theme manager
  • Perhaps themes would be allowed to be JS-less extensions? (Some mechanism other than calling an addTheme call?)
  • We ship with a couple of themes out of the box (default extensions)
  • Themes should style inline editors nicely (and the default themes should serve as great examples for theme creators)
  • Should use the new prefs system
  • Custom settings screen is okay at this point
  • Settings should use whatever technology we’re using for views (plain jQuery)
  • (optional) it would be beautiful to have custom extension manager UI for themes to show off screenshots and to separate themes from other extensions
  • (optional) layered settings for stuff like font (theme can provide default user override)
  • (optional) ability to change shell color

And here are changes required to Brackets-Themes in order for it to meet our needs:

  1. ThemeManager goes into core. ExtensionLoader has special logic for themes extensions that don’t have JS
  2. Settings pared down to just your “General” screen
  3. All of the other loading/scanning code can go away
  4. Use jQuery promises, sorry :*(
  5. Settings screen should not use Knockout
  6. Use new prefs API
  7. Unit tests for theme loading and the customizations (scrollbars, etc.)


The ThemeManager will live in src/view/ThemeManager.js with its matching tests in test/spec/ThemeManager-test.js. It will have an API to add a theme, but generally themes will be built as JavaScript-less extensions (see below). The ExtensionLoader will use this new API to register themes.

Theme Extensions

ExtensionLoader will be modified to handle theme extensions. Theme Extensions will have a package.json file that looks something like this:

    "name": "super-cool-theme",
    "title": "Super Cool Theme",
    "version": "1.0.0",
    "theme": "superCoolStyles.css",
    "screenshot": "http://foobar.baz/bop.gif"

The theme property of the package.json file points to the CSS (or LESS) file that will be loaded. screenshot is new and could possibly be used in the extension manager to display a screenshot.

If there is a theme property in package.json, no JavaScript is loaded.


The View menu will have a new "Theme..." menu item. It will open up a dialog that has the settings from the Brackets-Themes "General" dialog as well as a selector for the theme itself.

It would be cool if there was a place for the screenshot near the theme selector to act as a preview for the change.

Ideally, the Extension Manager will have a new tab for themes which would not be displayed in the main extension listing. The new screenshot property should be displayed for any extension.

Default Themes

  • Need to handle inline editors well

Feedback from Jacob Lauritzen:

Look over the default css. There are multiple places where rules are declared explicitly when they could just be inherited. On the top of my head, I remember some background rules that were the same as the parent element. It would be easier for themes to override these if they were inherited or simply not declared instead.


It would be nice if the shell color could change in some fashion to suit the theme.


Themes in Brackets core PR

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