What are the pros and cons of white and dark IDE backgrounds?

There is a lot of speculation in the IT community of whether the white or black IDE background is more suitable for coders. Opinions may vary from one way to another. The truth is that programmers stare at code more intensely than perhaps anybody stares at anything and they are doing it on a daily basis. This makes the importance of the IDE background even more essential as we focus mainly on two aspects: health and productivity. Here are the Pros and Cons of both IDE backgrounds to help you make an informed decision, based on your personal preference.

White IDE backgrounds

PROS

  • Better short-term performance
  • More common choice
  • Enhances color, making it pop
  • Suitable in high-light conditions

Dark IDE backgrounds

PROS

  • Better long-term performance as it is helping to concentrate your eyes longer and helping your brain to keep more attention on the screen
  • Dark interface is much better on the eyes long-term and is perfect for coding
  • High contrast between text and background reduces eye strain
  • With darker IDE you don’t need adoption, your eyes are not spending that much energy
  • It is considered easier to write a code on dark screen with lighter text
  • Over 70% of software engineers are coding on a dark theme IDE’s
  • Can reduce eye strain in low-light conditions (night-time or dimmer workspaces)
  • People with visual impairments will do better with dark mode
  • Stylish and trendy

CONS

  • If used in long-term it may cause severe side effects such as the “digital eye strain” condition, blurred vision, burning eyes or headaches.
  • Not suitable during night or in dimmer workspaces

CONS

  • If used in short-term, light text on a dark background could strain the eyes
  • Not suitable in high-light conditions
  • Unpopular with older computer users

Joining the dark side?

If you are inclined to or already have joined the dark side, welcome! We developed the browser extension Night Eye that enables dark mode on nearly any website such as programming languages documentations like PHP, Java, Python and more. In the post Why do programmers work with dark backgrounds? we covered this and you can explore some of the previews of how smooth and easy to read programming languages docs are in dark mode.

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