I've created a JavaScript application to highlight the syntax of HTML and PHP. I know a lot of syntax highlighter are available nowadays, I just created to extend my knowledge in JS and regular expressions. I only wanted to know if its the right way to do this. (The code below works fine.)


function codeHighlighter(){
    var obj=document.getElementsByTagName("code");
    for(var i=0;i<obj.length;i++){
        var data=obj[i].innerHTML;
        data=data.replace(/&lt;(.*?)&gt;/g,"<span class='html-tag'>&lt;$1&gt;</span>");
        data=data.replace(/"(.*?)"/g,"<span class='string-value'>&quot;$1&quot;</span>");
        data=data.replace(/&lt;\?(.*?)\s/g,"<span class='php-tag'>&lt;?$1</span>");
        data=data.replace(/\s\?&gt;/g,"<span class='php-tag'>?&gt;</span>");
        data=data.replace(/\/\* (.*?) \*\//g,"<span class='comment'>/* $1 */</span>");                   
        data=data.replace(/(new|echo|print|while|for|foreach|class|public|function|static|protected|private|return|required|required_once|include|include_once)[^=]/g,"<span class='reserved'> $1 </span>");


        <title>Code Highlighter</title>
        <meta charset="UTF-8">
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
        <script src="js/codeHighlighter.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
            window.addEventListener("load", codeHighlighter);
              font-family: arial;
        <div>This application highlights `php` and `html` code.</div>
            /* A sample code. */\n
            &lt;div class="code" &gt;\n
            \t Hello!\n
            class Anish(){\n
            \t public function __construct(){\n
            \t\t return "Hello";\n
            \t }\n
            $anish=new Anish();\n
            echo $anish;\n
  • \$\begingroup\$ what is yakk or antlr? can you give a url refrence to this? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6 '16 at 19:17
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Why don't you just use PHP's built-in syntax highlighting function? \$\endgroup\$
    – r3mainer
    Feb 6 '16 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like there are some parser generators for JavaScript. PEG.js being one of them. I'm sure a bit of searching would produce grammars for both PHP & HTML. \$\endgroup\$
    – RubberDuck
    Feb 6 '16 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, check out prism if you want a client-side solution. \$\endgroup\$
    – r3mainer
    Feb 6 '16 at 21:51

Really accurate highlghting is a big challenge, and even if your implementation is not totally falsy it's very incomplete.

First some obvious points, easy to correct:

  • your PHP reserved words list lacks a number of words, such as (not exhaustively) global, const, if, else, switch, case, default, do, exit, break, continue try, catch, finally, ...
  • you look for PHP multiline comments like /*...*/ but not for simple line ones like //..., nor for HTML comments <!--...-->.
  • you look for double-quoted strings "..." but not for single-quoted ones '...'.

Now some harder issues:

  • you currently don't take care of escaped (single or double) quotes in a quoted string: "quote \" inside quoted string" breaks the highlighting.
  • you don't look for numbers (integer or float)

Lastly, not a lack but might be improved: you don't distinct between HTML tags and their attributes.

Please note that this is not to criticize your work! At the opposite, since you said it is:

to extend my knowledge in JS and regular expressions

I hope it encourages you to rise to the challenge :)

EDIT. Two points I forgot to mention above.

The first one comes from a preliminary general advice: try to follow best practices, notably in that, instead of:

for(var i=0;i<obj.length;i++){

you should write:

for (var i = 0; i < obj.length; i++) {

and so on evrywhere...

So here is the point since when looking for reserved words you wrote this:

data = data.replace(/(new|echo|...|include|include_once)[^=]/g, ...

There you added [^=] to avoid selecting something like $new=....
Right but regarding the above advice you must realize that one may have written $new = ... instead. Then you'll select new as a reserved word, while it's not!

So actually you'd better looking for a prepended $ rather than an appended =:

data = data.replace(/[^\$(new|echo|...|include|include_once)/g, ...

The other point is only for convenience: currently you force tab to be arbitrarily replaced by 4 spaces, which may sometimes be undesired. So you might merely write something like this:

function codeHighlighter(tab) {
  tab = tab ? tab : 4;
  for (var i = 0; i < obj.length; i++) {
    data=data.replace(/\\t/g, repeat("&nbsp;", tab);
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks very much! I'll try to overcome those problem.... \$\endgroup\$ Feb 8 '16 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnishSilwal Glad to help. BTW, I remembered I'd forgotten something important: look at my edit. \$\endgroup\$
    – cFreed
    Feb 8 '16 at 19:59

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