Usually we’re used to white background screens in most Windows applications. This post Join the Dark Side of Visual Studio gives a different perspective of a dark background with white text on it. He compares a screen with a lightbulb and even has photographs to illustrate the point.

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. Another benefit someone pointed out to me once — if you’re on a laptop, it saves your battery life! Horray for an extra 20 minutes of mobile coding!

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. Don’t conform to the status quo! Plus, it just looks really cool… I think.

He also provides settings to enable a dark background to Visual Studio.NET which I’d tried and quite liked though with a few tweaks of my own. But I had to revert back to the original as it didn’t go very well with all fellow programmers during paired programming sessions. Another developer Gowri Kumar felt that browsing and programming aren’t the same, case in point being that google’s black version blackle isn’t an official page by google themselves. I find an occasional dark background easy on the eyes. Currently I’m working mostly on Eclipse and though its not as simple as changing a theme, there still happens to be a nice exported preference available for Eclipse as well including a link to a very readable Monaco font!