A drink from the fire hose

Just wanted to give thanks to the team behind http://asp.net. A thanks for selecting my Atlas: Smart Auto Completion article as an Article of the Day!

Just to give you a clue of what that was like from this side of the screen...

Guess when it started?

Yes, the asp.net site is a veritable fire hose of traffic, and I got to take a small, brief, drink. Alas, by now my article has fallen off the list of articles of the week. And so this is also a thanks to those of you who may be sticking around (you guys are represented by the blue bars) :) It's all the nice comments I've gotten from readers that keeps me going. So definitely stop by often, because I can guarantee you there is more content to come.

Perhaps plug into my atom feed.

See ya soon!


Join the Dark Side of Visual Studio

UPDATE: THIS POST HAS BEEN MOVED TO MY NEW BLOG! Please redirect your bookmarks here:


Visual Studio is without a doubt a powerful tool. With every iteration, it continues to improve upon itself. But as you happily hack away at all your applications, you are blistfully unaware of it's evil dark side that has been there since the beginning. It's true.

There are those of us who embrace the dark side. But we are out numbered...

You see, the dark side isn't how it comes by default. No... it comes all happy and bright and cheery by default, and like good little jedi programmers you accept those defaults. But the dark side is there, hidden away deep within the environment settings, reaching out and corrupting those programmers who are corruptible. Why some are corruptible and some are not is a mystery that may never be solved, but each and every programmer must give pause and consider the benefits it provides.

I know what you may be thinking. It's hard to read. Are you so sure about that? Lets compare it with the happy cheery default color scheme:

The key difference of course is the pervasive black background color. This is the environment I and many others work in every day. For me, it started way back when I used a Borland C++ IDE that had preset environment color schemes. One was called Twilight, and it looked similar to this. That color scheme was even my inspiration for this blog template (albeit it is only a variation on a standard blogspot theme, I'm ashamed to say).

Most people who see it for the first time are offended by it... but if you think about it, it really makes sense. It brings balance to the force.

The default scheme sports a bright white background color with dark text over it. But monitors these days are brighter than ever. You're presumably a programmer, so you've no doubt had those late but productive coding nights, nights that are lit by only the glow of your monitor. The glow is bright enough to light up the room and cast shadows. Not unlike... a light bulb.

So there you are, staring straight into a strong light source, looking for the few pixels on it which are not illuminated. Can you read the wattage and manufacturer letters on the head a light bulb while it's turned on? Ahhh... but what if the bulb were black, and only the letters on it were illuminated?

This bulb has no markings, but you'd bet they'd show up nice and bright and easy to read in the right image.

It seems to me the only reason a black-on-white background is so standard is because the GUI was invented to be an analogy to pen and paper. Paper is white. Your screen doesn't have to be.

Want to join the dark side? Click here to download my VS2005 environment settings. Just import them via the Tools->Import and Export Settings menu. Don't worry. If it doesn't suit you, just revert :)

If anyone is interested I can export VS2003 settings as well, but it requires an add-in since VS2003 doesn't have an import/export feature built in.

Happy coding!

UPDATE 06/19/2006

As requested... To enable exporting/importing styles in VS2003 you need an add-in called VSStyler, which you can download here:

VSStyler Add-In for VS2003

Once you have the add-in, download the dark side style export here:

The Dark Side for VS2003