Released Modus themes 0.8.0

I just published version 0.8.0 of the Modus themes. These are my highly-accessible themes for GNU Emacs. They conform with the WCAG AAA standard for colour contrast accessibility (a minimum contrast ratio of 7:1 between the foreground and background values). You can find the packages on ELPA, MELPA, MELPA stable:

  • modus-operandi-theme (light)
  • modus-vivendi-theme (dark)

Below are the release notes copied verbatim.

Modus Operandi and Modus Vivendi version 0.8.0

By Protesilaos Stavrou on 2020-04-28

This entry records the changes since version 0.7.0 (2020-03-30). The present release contains a little more than a hundred commits, covering one month of intense work.

All changes are aligned with the primary objective of this project, which is conformance with the WCAG AAA accessibility standard for colour contrast. This translates to a minimum contrast ratio of 7:1 between a given combination of foreground and background colours.

All customisation options mentioned herein are off (nil) by default. The project’s policy is to offer such features on an “opt-in” basis, while always respecting the principle of least surprise.

Refer to the README for further information.

Four new customisation options

The options in outline, with their detailed description below:

  • Rainbow headings
  • Section headings
  • 3D modeline
  • Subtle diffs
  1. “Rainbow headings” will apply more vivid colours to headings in org-mode and outline-mode. The gradation is similar to that of a rainbow’s colour spectrum.

    The default is to use colour values that are closer to the grey scale.

  2. “Section headings” also apply to org-mode and outline-mode. They will draw an overline over each heading and use a nuanced background colour that is appropriate for each level. For Org, this option has some additional effects, where it will render keywords and priority cookies in a box and add to them a subtle background. This is to make sure that everything feels consistent (to the extent possible).

    The default is to not use overlines, backgrounds, boxes in any of the relevant faces. This is consistent with the standard austere colouration of headings: to not deviate too much from a “plain text” aesthetic.

NOTE: “rainbow headings” and “section headings” can work on their own or be combined together.

  1. “3D modeline” will use a faux unpressed button style for the current window’s modeline (like the standard looks of emacs -Q). The colours used for the active and inactive modelines are tweaked accordingly to maximise the effect while retaining the visual distinction between them.

    The default is to draw the modelines in a two-dimensional style, with the active one having a more noticeable border around it.

  2. “Subtle diffs” will use colour-coded text for line-wise differences without applying any appropriately-coded background value or, where necessary, by using only a subtle greyscale background. This affects diff-mode, magit, ediff, and smerge-mode. For Magit an extra set of tweaks is implemented to account for the differentiation between the focused and unfocused diff hunks.

    Due to their unique requirements, word-wise or refined changes are always drawn with a colour-coded background, though it is less intense when this option is enabled.

    The default is to use a colour-coded background and foreground combination (e.g. light green text on a dark green backdrop) and to make appropriate adjustments for refined diffs and modes of interaction such as Magit’s focused/unfocused diff states.

Other major refinements

  • Thoroughly revise the colours of ediff and smerge-mode, so that they are aligned with those of diff-mode and magit. This is in addition to the “subtle diffs” options mentioned in the previous section.

  • Review the faces used by Flycheck and Flymake. A wavy/curly underline is now used in all terminals that support it. The underlined text is drawn with a more nuanced foreground than before. The previous design was exaggerating an already clear effect and could make things more difficult under certain circumstances.

  • All language checkers, including the aforementioned linter front-ends, now benefit from a new set of colours that are designed specifically for this particular purpose. Makes the affected faces feel more different than their context.

  • Use dedicated colours for escape sequences, regular expression constructs, and quoted characters. The goal is to better differentiate them from their surroundings.

  • Tweak the colours of hydra to improve the distinction between its various types of behaviour.

  • Reduce the overall luminance of the background colours used in the fringes by the likes of flycheck, flymake, diff-hl, etc. They should now not stand out more than they should, while retaining their intended role.

  • Implement more saturated colours in Elfeed. The previous choices could make it harder to differentiate the various parts of the presentation.

  • Make better use of the customisation options for bold and slanted constructs where that is allowed. If a face is not tied to the semantics of these styles then it is drawn without them, unless the user specifically opts for the relevant customisation options.

Added support for packages (A-Z)

  • ag
  • color-rg
  • ctrlf
  • debbugs
  • eglot
  • forge
  • helpful
  • highlight-symbol
  • ibuffer
  • icomplete
  • iflipb
  • magit-imerge
  • man
  • orderless
  • page-break-lines
  • parrot
  • phi-grep
  • phi-search
  • pomidor
  • rcirc
  • spell-fu
  • switch-window
  • swoop
  • tab-bar-mode
  • tab-line-mode
  • trashed
  • tomatinho
  • tuareg
  • vimish-fold
  • visible-mark
  • vterm
  • wcheck-mode
  • winum
  • woman

Miscellaneous changes and concluding remarks

  • Rewrote large parts of the README to make the customisation options easier to discover and understand.

  • Updated the screen shots and their description in the relevant Wiki page:

For more information, check the git repository of the modus-themes.