Read TextMate syntax files and parse text with them
Latest commit a6562a6 Jan 12, 2015 @grosser grosser v1.4.0
Failed to load latest commit information.
bin Initial import Feb 11, 2010
examples add a simpler accessor for syntax files Oct 7, 2011
spec do not downcase file names + nice warning for invalid files Feb 17, 2013
.travis.yml travis Jan 12, 2015
Gemfile https Aug 29, 2013
Gemfile.lock v1.4.0 Jan 12, 2015
History.rdoc prep for release Aug 19, 2012
MIT-LICENSE.txt more readme cleanup Oct 5, 2011
README.rdoc fix link and travis badge Aug 19, 2012
Rakefile bump Feb 17, 2013
textpow.gemspec bump requirement Jan 12, 2015


Read TextMate syntax files and parse text with them.


gem install textpow

Ruby 1.8

Install oniguruma

# Ubuntu
sudo apt-get -y install libonig-dev

# OSX via brew or port
brew install onigumura
port install oniguruma5

# Then
gem install oniguruma



  1. Load a Syntax File list of included syntax

require 'textpow'
syntax = Textpow.syntax('ruby') # or 'source.ruby' or 'lib/textpow/syntax/source.ruby.syntax'
  1. Initialize a processor:

processor =
  1. Parse some text:

syntax.parse(text,  processor)


Syntax files are written with Textmate grammer. They are written in text/binary/xml/yaml format (all can be translated into each other). Textpow can understand the yaml form (ending in .syntax) and the xml form (ending in .tmSyntax or .plist or tmLanguage) via plist library, but not the text or binary form. All syntax files shipped with textpow are in the yaml form, since its easiest to read and less verbose.

Adding a new syntax:

  • add download location and scopeName to update_syntax task in Rakefile

  • rake update_syntax

  • run tests rake to see if the syntax is parseable


A processors is a hook that is called while parsing a text. It must implement these methods:

class MyProcessor
  def open_tag(tag_name, position_in_current_line); end
  def close_tag(tag_name, position_in_current_line); end

  # called before processing a line
  def new_line(line_content); end

  # called before parsing anything
  def start_parsing(scope_name); end

  # called before parsing everything
  def end_parsing(scope_name); end

Textpow ensures that the methods are called in parsing order. If there are two subsequent calls to open_tag, the first having name="text.string", position=10 and the second having name="markup.string", position=10, it means that the "markup.string" tag is inside the "text.string" tag.


  • smart + mel + applescript have some invalid utf8 characters that are currently ignored (search for INVALID_UTF8))

  • fix markdown and php syntax

  • parse text plist files example

  • update more languages via github urls