Top 3 JavaScript Syntax Highlighting Libraries

JavaScript syntax highlighting libraries are tools used to display code with appropriate colors and styles to improve readability and understanding. These libraries are particularly useful in code editors, IDEs, blog posts, documentation, and other platforms where code needs to be presented clearly.

  1. Prism (12.1k ⭐) — A lightweight, robust, and elegant syntax highlighting library. Built with modern web standards in mind. It’s used in millions of websites, including some of those you visit daily. The core is 2KB minified & gzipped. Languages add 0.3-0.5KB each, themes are around 1KB.

  2. Shiki (8.9k ⭐) — A beautiful syntax highlighter based on TextMate grammar, same engine as your VS Code, accurate and powerful. Runs ahead of time, ship zero JavaScript while getting the perfect syntax highlighting. Fully tree-shakable ESM, runs on any JavaScript runtime, Browser, Node.js, Cloudflare Workers, etc.

  3. Highlight.js (23.2k ⭐) — A syntax highlighter written in JavaScript. It works in the browser as well as on the server. It can work with pretty much any markup, doesn’t depend on any other frameworks, and has automatic language detection.

Here are some common features that many syntax highlighting libraries offer:

  • Automatic language detection
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Customizable themes, CSS customization
  • Plug-in architecture for additional features

It’s important that you carefully consider factors like language support, customizability, performance, compatibility, community support, licensing, and accessibility to make a well-informed decision.