The original maintainer of this project no longer uses nano and hence has very little motivation to continue working on it. It remains available on GitHub for archival purposes only.
I highly recommend using dte as a simple but much more capable editor.
The syntax highlighting definitions that come bundled with nano are of pretty poor quality. This is an attempt at providing a good set of accurate syntax definitions to replace and expand the defaults.
make install will install the syntax definitions to the
To enable highlighting for all languages after installation, add the
following command to your
To enable only a subset of languages,
include them individually:
include ~/.nano/syntax/c.nanorc include ~/.nano/syntax/python.nanorc include ~/.nano/syntax/sh.nanorc # ...
If you prefer to install to a location that all users can access, using
sudo make install-global will install to
Syntax files installed under this directory can then be
/etc/nanorc or any user's personal
Note: If your terminal text color isn't black, you'll need to
specify it when installing, using
make install TEXT=color, where
color must be one of:
After installation, the various source code samples in the
directory can be used to check that highlighting is working correctly.
If it doesn't work as expected, see the FAQ below.
For example, the following named rule:
color green "int|bool|string"
and the following "mixin":
color brightcyan "\<(true|false)\>"
This system helps to keep colors uniform across different languages and also to keep the definitions clear and maintainable, which is something that becomes quite awkward using only plain nanorc files.
~/.nanotheme exists it will be used as a custom theme, in
place of theme.sed. A custom theme may also be specified by installing
make THEME=your-custom-theme.sed. Themes must be valid sed scripts,
defining all color codes found in theme.sed in order to work correctly.
Why does syntax highlighting only work for a subset of supported files?
There appears to be a bug in older versions of nano that causes
highlighting to fail when
~/.nanorc both contain
syntax rules. The usual workaround is to remove all
commands from one file or the other, or to use a newer version of nano.
Why do I get weird errors when running nano < 2.1.5 on *BSD systems?
In order to reliably highlight keywords, this projects makes heavy use of
the GNU regex word boundary extensions (
\>). BSD implementations
also have these extensions but use a different, incompatible syntax
[[:>:]]). Since version 2.1.5, nano can automatically
translate the GNU syntax to BSD syntax at run-time, but for the benefit of
people running a pre-2.1.5 version of nano on OS X or *BSD, the
file itself can be translated by installing with
Why not use
\s instead of the verbose
Because nano compiles against the platform's native regex library and some
platforms don't support
\s (as it's not required by POSIX ERE).
This is free and unencumbered software released into the public domain.
Anyone is free to copy, modify, publish, use, compile, sell, or distribute this software, either in source code form or as a compiled binary, for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and by any means.
In jurisdictions that recognize copyright laws, the author or authors of this software dedicate any and all copyright interest in the software to the public domain. We make this dedication for the benefit of the public at large and to the detriment of our heirs and successors. We intend this dedication to be an overt act of relinquishment in perpetuity of all present and future rights to this software under copyright law.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
For more information, please refer to http://unlicense.org/