Getting syntax highlighting on (and other hosted static site generators)

The benefits of hosted static site generators include crazy ease of use, auto-deployment, hosting, etc.—but on the downside, you’re sometimes a bit more limited in the control you have over the site.

When starting out with trying, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of syntax highlighting. Pelican uses Pygments, but that runs on the server side in Python—so it’s fine for a personally hosted static site generator, but I wouldn’t be able to get a hosted solution like (or Github Pages, for that matter) to use it.

A solution I found was HighlightJS, which is a Javascript-based code syntax detection and highlighting platform. This is great, because being Javascript based, I can simply throw a link to the code into my Scriptogram (or whatever else) theme, and let the browser rather than the server (or static site generator) do the work.

I had a bit of difficulty getting it working, so I thought I’d post this here for those of you with the same issue so you can avoid the trouble.

Step 1: <head>

This is easy. They are nice enough to host a prebuilt version of HighlightJS, so you can simply link to it in your <head></head> tag. At the bottom, paste the following:

<!-- any other html stuff -->
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="">
    <script src=""></script>

For a different HighlightJS theme for the syntax highlighting, simply change the href attribute in the CSS <link> to your preferred theme stylesheet.

Step 2: Make sure HighlightJS is called last

The javascript you’re already loading is supposed to run HighlightJS after the page loads, but that wasn’t working for me with—I imagine because itself probably had some functions that run after the page fully loads that were overriding and coming after what I had specified.

The way to get this working is to add another function to the very bottom of your HTML:

<!-- above, the rest of your HTML file/theme -->

Step 3: Profit

Reload the page, and see if it works! All of the code in <pre><code> blocks should be automatically detected and highlighted.

If you need to make any changes or customization (e.g., your code isn’t in <pre><code> blocks), see the HighlightJS usage docs, which are very helpful.