Patterns of syntax theme customization for code editors

Mark Matthew Sterling, Aidarbek Suleimenov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Modern software development tools typically provide a syntax highlighting feature to enhance the readability of source code. Syntax highlighting means that different kinds of terms in the text of source code are rendered in visually distinct ways. A syntax theme is a collection of definitions that determine the look of a workspace. Editors and IDEs often let the user customize the syntax theme to their preference and can also provide services for users to share themes within the community. This paper presents a data mining study of a large collection of publicly available syntax themes (approximately 330) associated with a popular open-source text editor. For each theme we collected certain metadata as well as a cascading stylesheet definition. The metadata includes information such as the title of theme, a plain text description, and specific programming languages supported by the theme. For each syntax theme, a preprocessor script creates a feature vector that aggregates data from the theme definition and metadata. Themes are analyzed with both RGB and HSV color models. Analysis shows a variety of significant correlations in the dataset as well general patterns of syntax theme usage. We also discuss how our dataset bears on previously established models of code comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 IEEE 3rd International Conference on Communication and Information Systems, ICCIS 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages173-176
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781538692738
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 19 2019
Event3rd IEEE International Conference on Communication and Information Systems, ICCIS 2018 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: Dec 28 2018Dec 30 2018

Publication series

Name2018 IEEE 3rd International Conference on Communication and Information Systems, ICCIS 2018

Conference

Conference3rd IEEE International Conference on Communication and Information Systems, ICCIS 2018
CountrySingapore
CitySingapore
Period12/28/1812/30/18

Keywords

  • Data mining
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Text editors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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  • Cite this

    Matthew Sterling, M., & Suleimenov, A. (2019). Patterns of syntax theme customization for code editors. In 2018 IEEE 3rd International Conference on Communication and Information Systems, ICCIS 2018 (pp. 173-176). [8644882] (2018 IEEE 3rd International Conference on Communication and Information Systems, ICCIS 2018). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICOMIS.2018.8644882