How custom is your setup?

sujans profile image Sujan Sundareswaran ・1 min read

There are two kinds of devs— those who are completely oblivious of their UI setup(themes, fonts, IDE layout and so on.) and just use their editor or IDE out of the box and then there’s the other kind, those who spend hours tweaking anything that can be tweaked and get their hands on. I’m definitely the latter. Which side are you, and how much have you customised it?

EDIT: I did not mean beautification, I’m asking along the lines of productivity too. For example, using a high-contrast theme to aid your vision, rather than use the light theme that comes as default.

Many extensions too provide automation of mundane tasks, such as auto-close tag, etc. This speeds up your workflow, no?


Editor guide

In the past I used Vim as my main editor and "IDE", so I tweaked it a lot... eventually I got tired of "wasting" time with it and started using Atom which I tweak a lot less, just a few packages I need for the technologies I work with and that's all.


I have come to the conclusion that configurability is the death of productivity. If you spend the first week of a project tweaking your IDE, your IDE is obviously the wrong choice.

I have a sophisticated Emacs configuration stored in a VCS, but I find myself using Acme and sam more and more. Both have exactly zero configuration - because why? Sane defaults make your life so much easier.

I want to write code (and notes), not waste time choosing colors.


Most IDEs provide a function to import/export your settings. Tweaking your config for every project shouldn't happen that often.

I agree with your "sane defaults" statement. Their importance can't be understated, but they often get ignored, because "you can just change it".


To stick with the Emacs example: sometimes a new technology is added, and of course there is a new Emacs plugin for that...

You'll probably want a different configuration for HTML than for C++.


On themes:
I always try to use a dark theme on every program, it's easier on the eyes. If there's no standard supplied, I'll take the most popular dark theme on the repos.

On workflows/shortcuts:
I try to use the standard commands and only change "annoying" commands (I don't want to play a sonata just to open the options menu :D )

I keep customizing my IDE to a minimum because very often there are errors that occur because of incompatibilities due to my changes.


Actually, light themes are easier on the eyes.


You are right, light themes are easier on most peoples eyes.

I wear contact lenses and they made a little bit more light sensitive than I like. A mostly white screen makes me squint after a few hours.

Not exactly white - I usually have a light yellow background. But of course that might be different for you.


Recently got hooked up with a student license for Jetbrain products. So far (~3 days of usage), here's what I've customized in PHPStorm:

  1. Remap as much key bindings to mimic my VSCode workflow
  2. Grab a similar theme (Material UI) that I used with my previous text editor
  3. Installed only one plugin that allows for better Laravel intellisense.

That's pretty light in comparison to the tweaking that I did for VSCode. Though some of that speaks to the difference between a general purpose text editor vs a language-specific IDE.