~protesilaos/ef-themes

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Ef vs Modus themes

Saša Janiška <gour@atmarama.com>
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Hello,

at the moment I am using ef-day/ef-duo-light themes which I find 
very
beutiful! The doc says that "...are a collection of light and dark
themes for GNU Emacs that provide colourful (“pretty”) yet legible
options for users who want something with a bit more flair than 
the
modus-themes", while for Modus themes it is stated they're created
"...with ithe highest standard for colour contrast between 
background
and foreground values", so, a layman, I'm interested what would be 
some
pro/cons between the two besides between the two besides "pretty" 
look
of Ef-themes?

My main usage of Emacs is writing, note-taking (denote/org-roam), 
email
(mu4e) and I anticipate some light web coding (css/html/php)...


Sincerely,
Saša

-- 
One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control,
and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of
steady intelligence.
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> From: Saša Janiška <gour@atmarama.com>
> Date: Tue,  1 Nov 2022 09:00:27 +0100
>
> Hello,

Hello Saša,

> at the moment I am using ef-day/ef-duo-light themes which I find very
> beutiful! The doc says that "...are a collection of light and dark
> themes for GNU Emacs that provide colourful (“pretty”) yet legible
> options for users who want something with a bit more flair than the
> modus-themes", while for Modus themes it is stated they're created
> "...with ithe highest standard for colour contrast between background
> and foreground values", so, a layman, I'm interested what would be
> some pro/cons between the two besides between the two besides "pretty"
> look of Ef-themes?
>
> My main usage of Emacs is writing, note-taking (denote/org-roam),
> email (mu4e) and I anticipate some light web coding (css/html/php)...

The main difference between the two projects is that the modus-themes
are much more strict with maintaining the highest standard for contrast
(I won't delve into the technicalities).  Whereas the ef-themes do not
have such a commitment: they are legible, but might go a bit below the
desired target in certain cases.

As a lay person, your criterion should be the eye test.  If those themes
look good/usable to you, then that is all that matters.

Between the ef-themes and the modus-themes, I provide a broad range of
options for users who need varying degrees of legibility.  The
modus-themes are the ones with the highest contrast.

I have always maintained the view that (i) there is no such thing as a
one-size-fits-all for accessibility due to differences in colour
perception between individuals as well as hardware capabilities, and
(ii) no theme can handle accessibility on its own, as one needs to
consider typography as well as environmental factors.

[ For my preferred typography, check Iosevka Comfy:
  <https://protesilaos.com/emacs/iosevka-comfy-pictures>. ]

Technically, the very high contrast of the modus-themes demands that
they are not---and can never be---as colourful as the ef-themes.  Their
colours are less saturated.  In terms of presentation, this means that
the modus-themes may appear more minimalist (or "clean") once you get
used to their level of contrast.  In general: do not trust initial
impressions and give the themes a fair chance (if one is used to low
contrast settings, the modus-themes feel hard to get utsed to, though
this is natural as the eye adapts accordingly).

The ef-themes are more colourful, which can make them more/less pleasant
to work with, depending on one's subjectivity.  Within the ef-themes,
there is considerable diversity, as each of the 20 items has its own
character, expressed as a unique colour palette and colour mapping.  No
two themes are alike.  For example, for light themes ef-summer gives you
a completely different vibe than ef-frost, while for dark themes ef-bio
and ef-cherie each have their unique charm.

I cannot possibly say which the "best" is.  This is a subjective
evaluation.  For me personally, both projects are technically excellent
in terms of conforming with their stated ends.  Aesthetically, I like
them all, which is why I develop/maintain them (both projects had a new
release on 2022-10-28).  I am not prioritising one over the other.

Note that I am emphasising legibility, though this should not discount
the meticulous work that goes into thematic consistency.  I do not write
about this topic because it does not really matter to the average user.
Consistency is not something that should actively be calling for one's
attention, though it is "there" for those who wish to pay attention.  In
short: I am not picking random colours and implementing them on a
whimsy.  If only theme development were that easy!

All the best,
Prot

-- 
Protesilaos Stavrou
https://protesilaos.com
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