As a DevOps Engineer, I use several applications on a daily basis, on different operating systems. The ones I use most are vim, Gnome Terminal, Sublime Text, and Cygwin. For a long time, I’ve been having different themes on these applications and frankly, it was driving me crazy. Not only did my eyes need to get used to a different theme all the time; even while using the same theme on some of these applications there were still minor differences in appearance, as none of the themes were identical for all these applications. Being lazy and not willing to fix this myself by designing all the themes by hand, I went to look for some proper ones that could be used in all these applications.

I’ve had a bit of a hit-and-miss relationship with Solarized over the past few years, so I wasn’t necessarily looking for that. Gnome Terminal (or Cygwin for that matter) has always been a bit problematic with Solarized, as the colors weren’t always perfect (especially in htop). With Gnome Terminal being the more problematic application theme availability-wise, I decided to use that applications as a basis for my search. After doing some duckduckgoing (I say: word of the year 2014) for nice themes, I found the base16 project.

Enter the party zone

I was like a kid in a candy store! This project does not only contain quote some themes that have been specified properly; it also has them for a wide range of applications. On top of that, there is a project called base16-builder. This project contains all the color schemes of all the themes included in the bas16 project and lets you generate theme files for a long list of applications. So even if the templates aren’t in the base16 project, you can either generate them with base16-builder or add the theme templates yourself and then generate them!

Right now, I am still impressed with the amount of different color schemes the project includes and how properly they have been specified. It even includes a version of Solarized that doesn’t hurt my eyes in htop. But frankly, due to what’s available in the project, I haven’t been using Solarized anymore. I’m currently hung up on Base16 Default Dark, which I now use as my default theme for all the applications I mentioned before.

Give it a shot and give back

Everybody should try out these themes, as the project has something for everone. If you find a theme template that isn’t complete or not present yet, please add it to base16-builder and add a pull request in GitHub.  The more people contribute, the better this project will be.