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CONTRIBUTING: Ahmad Awais on Shades of Purple

Leading up to (and during) the month of October, we want to help you discover open source projects to work on, and put your Hacktoberfest contributions to excellent use. Meet Ahmad Awais, award-winning "Open Sourcer", GDE, and Node.js Outreach Champion on the OpenJS Foundation. Ahmad created ~100 open source projects around automation, like his Corona CLI project, and Shades of Purple.

Check out this page regularly for more interviews with contributors & maintainers

What can you tell us about your project?
If you know me, you know I love the color purple. When programming with VS Code I found out that I didn't really like any of the purple themes available in the marketplace. Dogfooding my own need I ended up creating my own theme. It grew to become this giant campaign where in the first year we had 2 million downloads. The Shades of Purple core team ended up writing themes for ~10 different software projects like zsh, Chrome browser, ...

About 3 million developers worldwide use Shades of Purple. It uses yellow on purple for contrast, and syntax colors are based on the old COBOL theme. It might take a while to get used to the color scheme, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it too.

What contributions are you welcoming?
I look forward to any kind of contribution. Upon frequent request we're now looking into a Shades of Purple theme for Visual Studio, Sublime, Notepad - if you use any of these editors and want to add a theme that is more context aware and uses consistent syntax highlighting across 30+ languages, we would love to have you on the team. The idea is to create hundreds of themes across different editors and terminals (like Vim).

You're going to be interfacing with the editor you love, the browser you use, things you enjoy working with.

What skills do people need to contribute?
You don't need any specific skillset in order to contribute. A running joke in the community of theme-makers is you're going to have a poor experience with software you're creating a theme for, with the exception maybe of VS Code and Firefox. So you'll need to be frustration-free, tolerant of poor or bad documentation, and you'll need to familiarize yourself with our design guidelines. Use the Issues to discuss, or join the Purplers Discord, and we can hack together.

How do folks get started?
To get started, go to and in the Shades of Purple syntax section find all the colors listed that you can use with corresponding HEX values. Many other themes throw around colors that are just good for contrast, we only show red color when there's an error. Guidance for this you can find on the repository's README page. So, have a look at that, tell us what software is missing this type of theme, and let's start hacking together a theme for your use case!

Check regularly for more interviews with contributors & maintainers, as well as online events to help you get involved in open source.

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