The skylighting package

[Tags:benchmark, gpl]

Skylighting is a syntax highlighting library with support for over one hundred languages. It derives its tokenizers from XML syntax definitions used by KDE's KSyntaxHighlighting framework, so any syntax supported by that framework can be added. An optional command-line program is provided. Skylighting is intended to be the successor to highlighting-kate.

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Versions,, 0.1.1,,,,,, 0.2, 0.3, 0.3.1, 0.3.2, 0.3.3
Change log
Dependencies aeson, attoparsec, base (>=4.7 && <5.0), binary, blaze-html (>=0.5), bytestring, case-insensitive, containers, directory, filepath, hxt, mtl, pretty-show, regex-pcre, regex-pcre-builtin, safe, skylighting, text, utf8-string [details]
License GPL-2
Copyright (C) 2016 John MacFarlane
Author John MacFarlane
Category Text
Home page
Source repository head: git clone
Uploaded Sat Apr 22 08:53:02 UTC 2017 by JohnMacFarlane
Distributions Arch:, LTSHaskell:, NixOS:0.3.2, Stackage:, Tumbleweed:
Downloads 1391 total (959 in the last 30 days)
0 []
Status Docs available [build log]
Last success reported on 2017-04-22 [all 1 reports]




bootstrapOnly build skylighting-extractDisabledAutomatic
executableBuild skylighting CLI toolDisabledAutomatic
system-pcreUse regex-pcre instead of regex-pcre-builtinDisabledAutomatic

Use -f <flag> to enable a flag, or -f -<flag> to disable that flag. More info


Maintainer's Corner

For package maintainers and hackage trustees

Readme for skylighting

Readme for skylighting-0.3.3


license travis build status

A Haskell syntax highlighting library with tokenizers derived from KDE XML syntax highlighting descriptions.

A command-line highlighter, skylighting, is also provided.


This library is the successor to highlighting-kate, which had some problems that were difficult to resolve given its architecture.

In highlighting-kate, the XML syntax descriptions were converted into individual parsec parsers, which were then compiled. This made it difficult to handle IncludeRules properly without circular imports. There was also no way to load a syntax description dynamically.

Skylighting, by contrast, parses the XML syntax descriptions into Haskell data structures, which are then interpreted by a "tokenize" function. IncludeRules can now be handled properly, and users can add new syntax descriptions dynamically. It is also now possible to convert .theme files directly into styles.

Skylighting is also faster than highlighting-kate, by a factor of 3 in some cases.


To install the latest release from Hackage, do

stack install skylighting


cabal install skylighting

If you want the command-line tool, set the executable flag using --flag "skylighting:executable" in stack or -fexecutable in cabal.

The release tarballs include generated files not present in this repository. Building from this repository is a two-step process. In the first step we build a program, skylighting-extract, which reads XML syntax highlighting definitions from the xml directory and writes Haskell source files. In the second we actually build the library.

Using stack:

make bootstrap

Using cabal:

cabal install -fbootstrap --disable-optimizations
cabal run skylighting-extract -- xml/*.xml
cabal install -f-bootstrap --disable-optimizations

Command-line tool

A command-line executable, skylighting, is installed if the executable cabal flag is set in building.

For help, skylighting --help.

Adding new syntaxes

To compile with additional syntaxes, simply add the syntax definition (XML) file to the xml directory and repeat the bootstrap build described above.

Note that both the library and the executable can dynamically load syntax definitions, so you may not need to compile them in.


Skylighting is licensed under the GPL, because some of the xml syntax descriptions from which its tokenizers are generated are GPL-licensed.


Kate syntax highlighting documentation:

Kate highlighting definitions: