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Change Log of the Standard Themes

This document contains the release notes for each tagged commit on the project's main git repository: https://git.sr.ht/~protesilaos/standard-themes.

The newest release is at the top. For further details, please consult the manual: https://protesilaos.com/emacs/standard-themes.

Version 1.2.0 on 2023-02-16

Support for palette overrides

It is now possible to override the palette of each Standard theme. This is the same feature that I implemented for the modus-themes, except it is a bit more limited in scope (the Modus themes are maximalist due to their accessibility target).

Overrides allow the user to tweak the presentation of either or both themes, such as to change the colour value of individual entries and/or remap how named colours are applied to semantic code constructs.

For example, the user can change what the exact value of blue-warmer is and then, say, make comments use a shade of green instead of red.

There are three user options to this end:

  • standard-themes-common-palette-overrides which covers both themes.
  • standard-dark-palette-overrides which concerns the dark theme.
  • standard-light-palette-overrides which is for the light theme.

The theme-specific overrides take precedence over the "common" ones.

The theme's palette with named colors can be previewed with the commands standard-themes-preview-colors and standard-themes-preview-colors-current. When called with a universal prefix argument (C-u with default key bindings) these commands produce a preview of the semantic colour mappings (e.g. what colour applies to level 2 headings).

Use the preview as a reference to find entries to override. And consult the manual for the technicalities.

Thanks to Clemens Radermacher for fixing a mistake I made in the code that produces the palette previews.

Added the function standard-themes-get-color-value

It returns the colour value of named COLOR for the current Standard theme.

COLOR is a symbol that represents a named colour entry in the palette.

If the value is the name of another colour entry in the palette (so a mapping), recur until you find the underlying colour value.

With optional OVERRIDES as a non-nil value, account for palette overrides. Else use the default palette.

With optional THEME as a symbol among standard-themes-items, use the palette of that item. Else use the current Standard theme.

If COLOR is not present in the palette, return the unspecified symbol, which is safe when used as a face attribute's value.

The manual provides this information and also links to relevant entries. The example it uses, with the standard-light as current:

;; Here we show the recursion of palette mappings.  In general, it is
;; better for the user to specify named colors to avoid possible
;; confusion with their configuration, though those still work as
;; expected.
(setq standard-themes-common-palette-overrides
      '((cursor red)
        (prompt cursor)
        (variable prompt)))

;; Ignore the overrides and get the original value.
(standard-themes-get-color-value 'variable)
;; => "#a0522d"

;; Read from the overrides and deal with any recursion to find the
;; underlying value.
(standard-themes-get-color-value 'variable :overrides)
;; => "#b3303a"

New user option standard-themes-disable-other-themes

This user option is set to t by default. This means that loading a Standard theme with the command standard-themes-toggle or the functions standard-theme-load-dark, standard-theme-load-light will disable all custom-enabled-themes.

When the value of this user option is nil, themes are loaded without disabling other entries outside their family. This retains the original (and in my opinion bad for most users) behaviour of Emacs where it blithely blends multiple enabled themes.

I consider the blending a bad default because it undoes the work of the designer and often leads to highly inaccessible and unpredictable combinations. Sure, experts can blend themes which is an argument in favour of making that behaviour opt-in.

Other changes


Thanks to Fritz Grabo who provided feedback via a private channel. With it, I was able to better understand the underlying patterns of the out-of-the-box Emacs faces and thus design the standard-themes accordingly. This information is shared with permission.

As a reminder, the Standard themes are an interpretation of the default Emacs faces (which technically are not a "theme"). I have expanded the effective palette with harmonious entries, made mappings that are consistent with the patterns found in some base faces, and extended support for lots of packages. At first sight, the Standard themes look like what you get with an unconfigured Emacs. Though make no mistake: they are far more detail-oriented.

Version 1.1.0 on 2022-12-06

The standard-themes-headings now covers the Org agenda

The user option standard-themes-headings lets the user control the height, weight, and use of proportionately spaced fonts (variable-pitch) on a per-heading basis. Different combinations are possible, as explained in the option's doc string on the corresponding entry in the manual.

I have now made it possible to specify the agenda-date and agenda-structure keys. Both pertain to the Org agenda. The former applies to date headings, while the latter styles the headings of each "block" of content. In a generic agenda buffer, that block heading is the first line which reads Week-agenda (W49): or something like that, though we find such headings in more places as well.

Here is a sample with various stylistic variants per heading:

(setq standard-themes-headings ; read the manual's entry or the doc string
      '((0 . (variable-pitch light 1.9))
        (1 . (variable-pitch light 1.8))
        (2 . (semilight 1.7))
        (3 . (semilight 1.6))
        (4 . (1.5)) ; absence of weight means "regular"
        (5 . (1.4))
        (6 . (bold 1.3))
        (7 . (bold 1.2))
        (agenda-date . (semilight 1.5))
        (agenda-structure . (variable-pitch light 1.9))
        (t . (variable-pitch 1.1))))

Note that Org re-uses heading levels past 8. This means that level 9 will look the same as level 1. This is not the theme's doing. Check the user options org-level-faces, org-n-level-faces for ways to change this.

M-x theme-choose-variant works as expected

Users of Emacs 29 have access to the command theme-choose-variant: it toggles between two themes of the same family. If the family has more members, it uses minibuffer completion instead.

I registered the appropriate theme properties to make this work as intended. However, it is still possible to use the command standard-themes-toggle.

Stylistic refinements

  • Simplified the Magit blame faces to avoid exaggerations.
  • Revised the colours of day headings in the M-x calendar buffer. Weekends stand out, as is the case with physical calendars and many established apps.
  • Made the edmacro-label face stand out in its context. Otherwise it was difficult to spot. This is for Emacs 29 and applies to headings in the keyboard macro editing buffer (e.g. with C-x C-k C-e (kmacro-edit-macro-repeat)).
  • Added support for the powerline package.