I am strongly visual person, yet choice of colors is something I am no good at. While I can appreciate it, the process of going from nothing to working ensemble of colors falls on overly artistic side for me. That is why I am always charmed even more by color combinations, that are not only pleasant, but functional in design and mathematical in nature.
Colorbrewer is my constant reference for graphs and now I have discovered Solarized - color scheme aimed at presentation of code and rich text.
Solarized includes sixteen colors, split into content (main text), background and accents. The most impressive trick as that it includes both light and dark backgrounds which work with same text colors. Accent colors can be used to put together common schemes (analogous, complementary and so on), but amazingly they don’t fall apart even in more wild combinations.
While Solarized as scheme is essentially set of colors (and provided as such in more color systems that I know) it was engineered to work well with code highlight.
It is provided as ready-made color schemes for number of code editors, terminal apps, color palettes for graphical editors and build instructions for custom implementations.
Since it caught my attention in context of PhpStorm it was no-brainer to try it with. Color schemes for PhpStorm are available, only bit hidden under umbrella platform name IntelliJ IDEA.
While native color scheme in PhpStorm is perfectly functional, I found Solarized considerably better experience. It is more pleasant to look at and it handles multiple colors better - noting jumps out at you, while legibility and contrast are perfectly noticeable.
Solarized might look a little washed out and not overly flashy, but it has a lot of amazing aspects and great color scheme for code. Also I am already itching to bend and apply it for other purposes. :)