5 Handy JS Libraries for Code Syntax Highlighting

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If you're looking to embed code snippets within your posts and articles, a syntax highlighting solution is a must for better readability. That's why specialized code syntax highlighting solutions are made for web publishers which comes in different flavors. I've compiled a list of some the best JavaScript libraries one can use for the same. All these solutions are optimized for speed and use very less system resources. The usage is also very simple allowing even non techies to take advantage of these syntax highlighting scripts. One can use them in different environments on different platforms without any issues. Depending on your requirements, you can also create custom minified scripts for best performance and for language specific highlighting. Some of the solutions mentioned below are used by popular and high traffic sites. Try out each one of them in a demo environment before using them on a production site. This way, you can easily assess which syntax highlighting script suits your site's need in the best possible way.

Highlight JS library for syntax highlighting
highlight.js - This code syntax highlighting library supports dozens of programming languages and styles making it one of the best solutions. It also has multilingual code highlighting support out-of-the-box making it an ideal solution for such type of websites. It can be used with almost any platform without any hassle. The script intelligently detects the web page language on an automated basis and highlights the code correctly. It's actively maintained by the developer hammering out issues, if any. I've extensively tested this script with a static HTML site and it worked seamlessly.

Rainbow JS library for highlighting code base
Rainbow - It's one of the tiniest syntax highlighting scripts one can use for better code readability. Power users can also customize the highlighting format with custom CSS rules. Before downloading it, you can customize the build to get only the required script and style rules used on your web pages. Its handy API methods allow you to fine tune the code highlighting behavior. You can also contribute to this project on GitHub. If you're familiar with regular expressions, you can easily customize the highlighting format on per language basis. I'd recommend this script for developers' blog.

SyntaxHighlighter code syntax highlighting tool
SyntaxHighlighter - This massively popular code syntax highlighting solution is used by well known services, products and websites. It has a powerful API for granular control over the highlighting process. It has a very active development cycle. Users can use the language specific scripts to get the best possible performance without including unused code. It can be integrated with several popular applications and blogging platforms in a seamless manner. I've thoroughly tested this script on WordPress, Blogger and Ghost platforms and found it amazingly simple to use. Do once give this handy script, a try.

Prism JS library for code highlighting
Prism - I'm using this syntax highlighting script on one of my production sites. Needless to say, this powerful script gives optimized performance and doesn't affect the speed of the page. Power users can extend it quite easily to add new languages for highlighting the custom code. Inherited language definition renders multiple same language code snippets in an optimized manner. One can also take advantage of hooks to easily customize and extend this framework. It can also highlight inline code apart from beautifying regular blocks of code. It can also show and highlight invisible characters.

SyntaxHighlight script for code highlighting
syntaxhighlight.in - This yet another powerful and flexible code syntax highlighting script with some impressive features. Unlike some other scripts, this one doesn't trigger flash of code text while the page loads. It also allows readers to open the code block in a separate pop up window with inbuilt support of printing the code snippet. One can even toggle between highlighted and raw form of code with a single click. If you're going to embed a long code snippet, take advantage of its expand and collapse feature. Site owners can also opt to selectively switch off the line numbers for each line of code.


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