Syntax highlighting

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If you would like to make use of syntax highlighting with ASCEND code, we have a number of options available. Contributions for other editors, or improvements for the ones already here, are always welcome!


gedit is the default text editor in GNOME (Linux: Ubuntu, Fedora, etc) and is also available on Windows and Mac. We have a syntax definition for gedit to support a4c/a4l files. This file, ascend.lang needs to be placed in /usr/share/gtksourceview-N.0/language-specs/ascend.lang. The exact location where you need to put the file may vary depending on your version of GNOME (check the version fo gtksourceview installed on your system). Note that unless you also follow the instructions in Desktop integration, you will still have to manually specify that you want to apply this syntax highlighting.


Notepad++ is a pretty nice free open-source text editor for Windows. We have an XML syntax definition file tools/notepad-plus/userDefineLang_ASCEND.xml which you can use to add highlighting for the ASCEND language. The syntax file was contributed by Wojciech Mandziuk. For instructions on how to use this file, see tools/notepad-plus/README.txt

If anyone would like to help improve this highlighting file, some problems are currently present with nested comments and also with ARE_THE_SAME when immediately followed by a semicolon. Also some ATOM types should be added. But it's still very useful as-is.


TextPad is a popular text editor on Windows


Andre Simon's highlight is a syntax highlighting utility that can be used to produce HTML, LaTeX and other forms of highlighted output. It can also be integrated with the scientific wordprocessor LyX as well as the online code viewer ViewVC.


Vim is a very popular Linux/Unix text editor with a history going back to 1976. Syntax file contributed by Edgar Simo.

GNU nano

GNU nano is the default console-based editor for several newer distributions of Linux including Fedora and Ubuntu. It includes support for syntax highlighting since about 2002. A ~/.nanorc for this editor has been contributed by Ondrej Krc-Jediny.

GNU Emacs

Previously, Emacs was used by a lot of the core ASCEND developers, and a special 'ASCEND mode' was developed. See tools/emacs. There is some question about whether this mode still works correctly, see the details.


Listings is a LaTeX package that performs syntax highlighting. You can extract the necessary code from the latex preamble of the file doc/book.lyx.