Custom Syntax Coloring

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There are two ways to configure syntax highlighting in Wing: Minor adjustments can be made in preferences, and comprehensive configuration can be achieved by creating a syntax color specification file.

Minor Adjustments

For minor tweaks to syntax coloring in the editor, use Syntax Formatting in the Edit > Syntax Coloring preference group. For each supported file type, and each lexical state for the file type, it is possible to set the foreground and background colors, to use bold or italic font, and to fill the end of line character so it appears as a solid block of color.

Comprehensive Changes

For more comprehensive changes to syntax coloring, textual syntax coloring specifications can be placed into a directory called syntax within the User Settings Directory. This directory must be created if it is not already present.

Your custom syntax coloring configuration files can be modeled on the system-wide defaults, which are stored in resources/syntax within the install directory listed in Wing's About box. Copy only the files you intend to edit. Any values missing from these files cause Wing to fall back to the system-wide defaults.

Wing must be restarted to pick up changes made in these files. To make this easier to do while working on syntax color configurations, bind a key to the command restart-wing or right-click on the toolbar to add an icon for this command.

Overriding Preferences

Note that any non-default syntax coloring preferences will take precedence over syntax files found in the user settings directory or system-wide. So if you have previously set syntax colors in preferences, you will need to undo those settings. One way to do this is to edit the preferences file in your User Settings Directory and remove the value for edit.syntax-formatting. You'll need to do this when Wing is not running, or edit a copy of the file in Wing and move it into place while Wing is not running.

Color Palette-Specific Configuration

To override syntax colors only for one particular Color Palette, place the syntax file in a sub-directory of the syntax directory whose name matches the palette specification file name. For example, use syntax/black-background/python.stx to specify colors to use in Python files only with the Black Background color palette.

Print-Only Colors

To override syntax colors for printing only, place the syntax file in a print sub-directory of the syntax directory. For example, use syntax/print/python.stx to specify colors to use in Python files when printing.

Automatic Color Adjustment

If the currently selected Color Palette uses a non-white background for the editor, or if the Background Color in the Editor > Syntax Coloring preference group is set to a color other than white, then Wing will automatically adjust all configured foreground colors when necessary to ensure that the text remains visible. This avoids the need to create completely new color configurations for different editor background colors.

This feature applies both to colors set in preferences and colors in a *.stx file. However, automatic color adjustment is disabled when using a palette-specific syntax configuration file, as describe above, since in that case the colors are being designed for a specific background color.

Color Names for Python

The syntax color names shown in preferences and the *.stx files vary by file type. For Python they are defined as follows:

  • default -- any text that is not covered by the following
  • commentline -- a comment starting with a single #
  • number -- any integer, float, binary, octal, or hexadecimal number
  • string -- a string with double quotes "like this"
  • character -- a string with single quotes 'like this'
  • word -- any Python keyword, like if, else, for, try, etc.
  • triple -- a triple quoted string with single quotes '''like this'''
  • tripledouble -- a triple quoted string with double quotes """like this"""
  • classname -- the name of a class when just after the keyword class
  • defname -- the name of a function or method when just after the keyword def
  • operator -- any operator, like +, -, /, ==, and so forth
  • identifier -- any variable including function or class names if not at point of definition
  • commentblock -- a comment starting with ##
  • stringeol -- indicates an unterminated string
  • word2 -- any Python builtin like open, file, ord, int, isinstance, and so forth
  • decorator -- a function, method, or class decorator starting with @
  • fstring -- a double-quoted f-string f"like this"
  • fcharacter -- a single-quoted f-string f'like this'
  • ftriple -- a triple quoted f-string with single quotes f'''like this'''
  • ftripledouble -- a triple quoted f-string with double quotes f"""like this"""