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font-lock-regression-suite - Test suite for font-lock

Author: Anders Lindgren
Version: 0.0.1

A collection of example source files for a large number of programming languages, with ERT tests to ensure that syntax highlighting does not accidentally change.

For each source file, font-lock reference files are provided for various Emacs versions. The reference files contains a plain-text representation of source file with syntax highlighting, using the format "faceup".

Of course, the collection source file can be used for other kinds of testing, not limited to font-lock regression testing.

Copyright note

The Copyright at the beginning of this file applies to the files that drive the regression suite. It does not apply to the source examples. See the individual source files for information regarding copyright and licensing terms.


Run M-x font-lock-regression-suite-add-testcases RET. This will add a number of ERT test cases to verify that source files are highlighted according to the reference files.

Run, for example, M-x ert RET t RET to run all tests.

You can bind font-lock-regression-suite-reference-version to another Emacs version, to see what the changes are compared to that version.

Reference files for several major Emacs versions are provided. You can compare the files to see how syntax highlighting has evolved over the years. If you find the "faceup" format hard to read, you can run M-x faceup-render-view-buffer RET to see how Emacs used to highlight the buffer (given that all relevant faces are defined).

See also

Using the source files in other contexts

The function font-lock-regression-suite-each-src-ref-file can be used to traverse all the files in the suite. It will accept one argument, a function that will be called with four arguments: A name, the source file name, the reference file name, and a mode.

Today the mode is a single symbol. However, to be future compatible, this can be a list of symbols, which should be called in order. (Think of this as a major mode and a number of minor modes.)


The following piece of code will traverse all source file and echo the source names:

     (lambda (name src-file ref-file mode)
       (message src-file)))

Real-world examples

This package is used to test the packages font-lock-profiler and font-lock-studio, to ensure that they behaves like the normal font-lock engine, for non-trivial examples.

Other Font Lock Tools

This package is part of a suite of font-lock tools. The other tools in the suite are:

Font Lock Studio

Interactive debugger for font-lock keywords (Emacs syntax highlighting rules).

Font Lock Studio lets you single-step Font Lock keywords -- matchers, highlights, and anchored rules, so that you can see what happens when a buffer is fontified. You can set breakpoints on or inside rules and run until one has been hit. When inside a rule, matches are visualized using a palette of background colors. The explainer can describe a rule in plain-text English. Tight integration with Edebug allows you to step into Lisp expressions that are part of the Font Lock keywords.

Font Lock Profiler

A profiler for font-lock keywords. This package measures time and counts the number of times each part of a font-lock keyword is used. For matchers, it counts the total number and the number of successful matches.

The result is presented in table that can be sorted by count or time. The table can be expanded to include each part of the font-lock keyword.

In addition, this package can generate a log of all font-lock events. This can be used to verify font-lock implementations, concretely, this is used for back-to-back tests of the real font-lock engine and Font Lock Studio, an interactive debugger for font-lock keywords.

Highlight Refontification

Minor mode that visualizes how font-lock refontifies a buffer. This is useful when developing or debugging font-lock keywords, especially for keywords that span multiple lines.

The background of the buffer is painted in a rainbow of colors, where each band in the rainbow represent a region of the buffer that has been refontified. When the buffer is modified, the rainbow is updated.


Emacs is capable of highlighting buffers based on language-specific font-lock rules. This package makes it possible to perform regression test for packages that provide font-lock rules.

The underlying idea is to convert text with highlights ("faces") into a plain text representation using the Faceup markup language. This language is semi-human readable, for example:

«k:this» is a keyword

By comparing the current highlight with a highlight performed with stable versions of a package, it's possible to automatically find problems that otherwise would have been hard to spot.

This package is designed to be used in conjunction with Ert, the standard Emacs regression test system.

The Faceup markup language is a generic markup language, regression testing is merely one way to use it.

Converted from font-lock-regression-suite.el by el2markdown.


Regression test suite for font-lock keywords of Emacs standard modes






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