Creating Syntax Highlighting Parsers for HomeSite 4.5

By B. Collier Jones (bcjones AT

One of the best features of Allaire's HomeSite is its robust syntax highlighting. This highlighting is accomplished through the use of individual parsers, written in a language specific to HomeSite's editor component, for various types of files. Many have inquired about creating their own parsers to meet specific needs. Unfortunately, this task is not trivial and the documentation is severely lacking. This tutorial is an attempt to make the task of creating custom parsers a little less daunting for those brave enough to try.


  • These tutorials are for the implementation of TSyntaxMemo in HomeSite 4.5 or later only. I have no knowledge of the implementation of TSyntaxMemo in other editor products, so I cannot document those. While these tutorials may be helpful for other products, I cannot guarantee all features discussed will work with other products.
  • The parsers that come with HomeSite are the property of Allaire and the source is not available. This tutorial is for those that want to create their own parsers for languages that HomeSite doesn't support out of the box. If you have feature requests for the parsers that come with HomeSite, send me a note and I'll evaluate the request for inclusion in the next version.
  • About Me

    I started creating parsers two years ago when I began learning ASP and noticed that the parsers that came with HomeSite were severely lacking. After spending many, many hours reading documentation, studying examples, and e-mailing the author of HomeSite's editor component I created an ASP parser for HomeSite called HTML+. The parser was a vast improvement over HomeSite's and Allaire contacted me about buying my parser for inclusion in the next version of HomeSite. Since then I have been writing the parsers for Allaire's editor software.

    Special Thanks

    I want to extend a special thanks to Jeff Wilkinson who has provided moral/editorial support and a few good kicks in the butt to get these tutorials written. If you really want to thank someone thank him. Without his frequent nudging, these things never would have been written.

    He has a site at It's worth a look if you develop ASP in HomeSite.

    last updated: Friday, January 05, 2001 11:54:06 AM

    Note: This tutorial copy is posted on with permission of the author, B.Collier Jones.
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    A downloadable Zip of this tutorial is also available.