Simple Markdown extension that allows code highlighting in a Sinatra Application style
Latest commit 93e9044 Nov 24, 2009 Adam Elliot Version bump to 0.1.3



Easily add code a syntax highlighting system to Markdown to make your site's markdown a little more useful.


There is a wonderful gem that lets you syntax highlight based on TextMate sytle's (Ultraviolet). There's only one problem. The dependencies required to use it don't exist on Heroku. Aww no Heroku love? No. Just wrap you Markdown requests into a simple REST call to this little service and your set.

Server Setup

You'll need Onigurma to use ultraviolet which is used do do the highlighting in Brightly (hence the whole reason for the service).


OS X Installation (from source):

curl -O
tar xvf onig-5.9.1.tar.gz
cd onig-5.9.1
sudo make install

OS X Installation (from ports):

sudo port install oniguruma

Ubuntu Installation:

sudo aptitude install libonig-dev
sudo gem install oniguruma


sudo gem install brightly --source=

For development you can easily run brightly via the command line:


Will start a Sinatra server going.

To get things running with a webserver (passenger + apache, etc) using rack set your config up like:

  require 'brightly'
  require 'rubygems'
  require 'brightly'
run Brightly::Provider::Base

You can easily set up a brightly app for passenger with:

brightly -p brightly

Then just add the outputted config to your apache config.

Client Usage

The simplest way to use brighten in a rails application is to create a helper method that can make the requests. You could likely create an ActiveResource model for this, but the data is hardly representative of a model, so a simple method call makes more sense.

A simple method can be added to your model which makes the call to Brightly:

def brighten(markdown, theme = 'blackboard')
  Net::HTTP.post_form(URI.parse(""), {:markdown => markdown, :theme => theme}).body

Remember that you likely don't want to do this every hit to a page, markdown processing is done with RDiscount so it's fast, but code highlighting and markdown processing and the service call all adds up. Store the result, get better performance.


And in you Markdown

Here's some ruby:
<code language="ruby">
def candy
  puts "is sweet!"

Things of Interest

Making this I stumbled upon an interesting Rack Middleware which also does syntax highlighting. If you don't need to make the call to a service, it might be of use you you. Check it out:


Copyright © 2009 Adam Elliot. See LICENSE for details.