Light on Dark Eclipse 4.2 (Juno) Themes
Monday, September 17, 2012, Modified: Friday, October 26, 2012 Refs
As ugly and bright as Eclipse 4.2 is out of the box, it is easy to dim it down and invert it. It will be helpful if your system colour scheme is also light on dark before you start to customise Eclipse. Even after the GUI chrome and the editor contents are set following the steps below, some screen areas like dialog box backgrounds will show through the system theme. On Ubuntu 12.10 you could install Ubuntu Tweak and get a GTK 3 theme from Gnome-Look.org such as Think Correctly. At least on this platform, setting the system theme dark doesn't propagate into the chrome of Eclipse. It actually makes the GUI unusable as-is due to picking up the system's light text but giving the chrome a non-contrasting light background. Ignoring the technicalities of how theming works in Eclipse and assuming you just want to install something and quickly get a better look, there are two parts to the solution.

The first is to change the appearance of what is inside the editor windows. That can be done with the Eclipse Colour Theme plugin (http://eclipsecolorthemes.org/). My favourite editor theme is Vibrant Ink with the Monaco font. They explain how to install their themes very well (http://eclipsecolorthemes.org/?view=how-to-use), although you get a fine set of dark themes with the default plugin install and may not need to come back to their website for any more. Get the plugin here.

The second stage is darkening the chrome of the UI, which is all the widgets and menus and everything outside of the child window canvases. This plugin gives you a GUI editor for the chrome colour scheme: https://github.com/jeeeyul/eclipse-themes/. If you want a dark one, go ahead and click away until eclipse is dark. Once you are done, some GUI surface area will show through the system theme as mentioned at the top of this post. Rather than using that editor, you could install the pre-baked Dark Juno theme instead. The install is manual. Start by downloading it from here: https://github.com/eclipse-color-theme/eclipse-ui-themes.
It has to be copied into your eclipse dropins folder. This lives next to the eclipse executable, not in your workspace or someplace like that. In my case the command to do the copy was:

 
cp ./plugins/com.github.eclipsecolortheme.themes_1.0.0.201207121019.jar /usr/lib/eclipse/dropins/
You could be running eclipse from any directory though, so which eclipse will tell you where it should go.
Restart eclipse and you should find a Dark Juno option under Preferences::General::Appearance. It is a nice neutral grey with some gradients and is a very good option.

Further reading

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5053834/eclipse-ide-for-java-full-dark-theme
Create your Own: http://www.vogella.com/blog/2012/07/11/eclipse-4-is-beautiful-create-your-own-eclipse-4-theme/
Eclipse Css Styling Tutorial: http://www.vogella.com/articles/Eclipse4CSS/article.html


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