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Ahmad Awais ⚡️ for

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🎨 Celebrating 1 Million+ Developer Users of My VSCode Shades of Purple Theme

This post is a part of my 2018 Year in Review: Open Source, Node.js, & Developer Relations. That's what you should read for the context.

That's right. Something incredibly amazing happened last year. After switching to VSCode, I struggled with finding a good theme that was actually built for VSCode and not just a theme migrated from another editor.

So, I built this suit of themes called 🦄 Shades of Purple for VSCode, iTerm2, Hyper Terminal, Slack, AlfredApp, HighlightJS, Prism React, Code Surfer, and even got community contributions in the form of the same theme being ported for Cygwin and Konsole. Proud of it, AH!

Shades Of Purple

✅ When you build something to solve your own problems and share it with others (especially as a Free & Open Source Software) chances are it can click well with them. This is exactly what happened here.

🤔 I was building the LMS platform to host my course. I would code the same logic as the video end event in JavaScript, PHP, Go-lang, CSS, and HTML. So, a variable like videoEnd had representation in all these languages. Interesting?!

❌ Guess what? Every programming language would color the variables different. At one time I had yellow, blue, pink, red, and green colors as the syntax highlighting for the same damn variable across different languages. That would mess my brain up.

🤯 So, I went ahead and built a theme that's consistent enough across 30+ languages and is inspired by many great themes. I got a couple of designer friends to review the theme's design and worked on its accessibility.

⚡️ This project quickly became my favorite side-project and has helped me become a better programmer. I know the data types by their color (so when things go wrong my brain can pick it up before a linter does). Amazing!

😮 What happened with the Shades of Purple project was beyond any kind of growth I have ever seen for my open source software. Maybe it's the awesome VSCode community or just maybe for once I created something really useful. Who knows. Check out the stats:

  • Over a million developer users of my theme — wow that puts things in perspective. I mean serious-f***-ly (pardon my french).
  • I've released over a hundred version updates for the entire suite of Shade of Purple themes. All that in one year. #TrueThat!
  • I feel like I connect with so many developers on a daily basis. A simple theme update can make their lives easier. They know I care.
  • An average developer spends several hours daily writing code. So, thousands of developers use my theme for several hours daily.
  • It feels like I've created sort of a Facebook (without creepy privacy issues of course) where all my users are my people (I mean developers). It feels good to keep improving it in an agile-manner.
  • Check out the small bit of sorcery I pulled off for potential time-travel using my Emoji-log git commit spec to build an automated Changelog that's actually worth a read (excuse the course ad, gotta support all this free and open source work to put food on the table).

WOW! OK, maybe that's too much. But hey, I love it. Shades of Purple theme has created the sort of a geeky #PurpleRevolution. Everyone knows I love the purple color. Purple is genius.

Peace! ✌️

Go ahead and install the 🦄 Shades of Purple VSCode theme →

Top comments (2)

aimerib profile image
Aimeri Baddouh

Oh, I love your extension! It is my primary theme for VS Code across all my computers!

ahmadawais profile image
Ahmad Awais ⚡️

So glad to hear that. 👌👋