Intelli/J IDEA SimpleSyntax Highlighter Plugin

Alright, this pet project became quite serious now and is consuming more and more evenings..

I’m now thinking about making it officially available. It’s become quite useful. It probably needs a small UI to make configuration easier. Apart from that it’s really nice to have proper highlighting for Ruby, etc.

Well, for now I simply attached the latest version of the plugin. If you should stumble upon this blog, please give this plugin a try and give me your feedback!

Extract the IDEA SimpleSyntax Plugin zip file into your IDEA config/plugins/ folder. After (re)starting IDEA, you should see two new entries in your Tools menu. Use the “Init SimpleSyntax” to install the default Ruby configuration in your IDEA settings. You can then use ‘Reload SimpleSyntax’ to activate Ruby syntax highlighting.

Update: Gizmo of fame pointed me to the syntax configuration of Adie. The functionality offered by the ‘configuration language’ is actually quite similiar. Very interesting to see their more formal approach using a configuration grammar..

Anyway, the really interesting question is this: Should IDEA provide a simpler way of configuring syntax highlighting? The XML filetypes based approach doesn’t work properly. (Or does it? And I’m just to stupid.. :) Implementing a full IDEA plugin just to get highlighting for a small (and/or own) little language seems to be overkill..

Update: I’ve made the plugin available through the IDEA Plugin Manager. Of course I found quite a few annoying problems after uploading it.. :) I’m working on fixes right now.. The important part is this: You should now be able to download the latest version of the plugin from inside IDEA.


6 Responses to “Intelli/J IDEA SimpleSyntax Highlighter Plugin”

  1. gizmo
    May 4th, 2006 | 9:32 am

    could you put the plugin into the plugin registry at ?

  2. Jay
    May 4th, 2006 | 3:38 pm

    It’s a good start. Obie Fernandez ( is looking to do the same thing, I’ll point him at this entry. If you are looking for help he may be interested.

    As far as replacing my hack with your plug in, I need a bit more syntax highlighting first…

  3. Jay
    May 4th, 2006 | 10:17 pm

    okay, I lied, I hadn’t looked in ‘colors’ yet.

    nice work.

  4. Jay
    May 5th, 2006 | 5:47 pm

    Really nice work, I played with your config some. I added:
    regex SYMBOLS => \s:[a-z][A-Za-z]*\w+
    descriptions[ SYMBOLS ] = Symbols
    because I like my symbols colored also.
    And, I updated your keywords to be:
    KEYWORDS = [“alias”, “and”, “BEGIN”, “begin”, “break”, “case”, “class”, “def”, “defined”, “do”, “else”, “elsif”, “END”, “end”, “ensure”, “false”, “for”, “if”,
    “in”, “module”, “next”, “nil”, “not”, “or”, “redo”, “rescue”, “retry”, “return”, “self”, “super”, “then”, “true”, “undef”, “unless”, “until”, “when”,
    “while”, “yield”]

  5. Brian
    June 14th, 2006 | 7:44 pm

    It seems that anything that involves ruby for the syntax configuration does not work.
    Im running Ruby 1.8.2 and Idea 5.1.1

  6. June 19th, 2006 | 1:33 pm

    Not entirely sure what you mean by this. Do you define ‘ruby’ rules in the configuration? And these don’t work? It will use an included ‘JRuby’ distribution. But I guess that’s not what causes your problems. If you like, send me the configuration you have created and I’ll have a look at it!


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