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When working in shells, it’s very useful to have syntax highlighting. In vim it’s just ‘:sy on’ and you’re done. For those of you using GNU Nano, I’ll show you how to enable syntax highlighting as well.

To start, we’ll need some files which tell nano what to display in what color. Here is an example of such a file for PHP:

nano /usr/share/nano/php.nanorc

syntax "php" "\.php|\.inc$"
color white start="<\?(php)?" end="\?>"
color magenta start="<[^\?]" end="[^\?]>"
color magenta "\$[a-zA-Z_0-9]*"
color brightblue "\->[a-zA-Z_0-9]*"
color cyan "(\[)|(\])"
color brightyellow "(var|class|function|echo|case|break|default|exit|switch|if|else|elseif|@|while|return|public|private|proteted|static)\s"
color brightyellow "\<(try|throw|catch|operator|new)\>"
color white "="
color green "[,{}()]"
color green "=="
color brightgreen "('[^']*')|(\"[^"]*\")"
color yellow start=""
color yellow start="/\*" end="\*/"
color yellow start="#" end="$"
color yellow "//.*"

Then we tell nano where this file is to be found:

nano /etc/nanorc

And add this line:

## PHP
include "/usr/share/nano/php.nanorc"

You then should see this when editing a PHP file with nano:

You can do the same for Bash files. Here’s the config file:

nano /usr/share/nano/sh.nanorc

syntax "sh" "\.sh$"
icolor brightgreen "^[0-9A-Z_]+\(\)"
color green "\<(case|do|done|elif|else|esac|exit|fi|for|function|if|in|local|read|return|select|shift|then|time|until|while)\>"
color green "(\{|\}|\(|\)|\;|\]|\[|`|\\|\$|<|>|!|=|&|\|)"
color green "-[Ldefgruwx]\>"
color green "-(eq|ne|gt|lt|ge|le|s|n|z)\>"
color brightblue "\<(cat|cd|chmod|chown|cp|echo|env|export|grep|install|let|ln|make|mkdir|mv|rm|sed|set|tar|touch|umask|unset)\>"
icolor brightred "\$\{?[0-9A-Z_!@#$*?-]+\}?"
color cyan "(^|[[:space:]])#.*$"
color brightyellow ""(\\.|[^"])*"" "'(\\.|[^'])*'"
color ,green "[[:space:]]+$"

It’s pretty easy to customize if you want. So now you never have to edit scripts without syntax highlighting again!

Today I came across a nice post by Tod Werth, who created a nice theme for the OSX Terminal program called IR_Black.

All you have to do is download his schema and open in it Terminal. Then tweak the colors a bit to fully meet our needs.

Last step: enable colors in your profile:

vim ~/.bash_profile

Add this line:

export CLICOLOR=1;

When you open a  new window and enter a simple ‘ls’ command, it looks like this:

So that is pretty cool 🙂 Thanks Todd!

Update:
I found that using these setting brought some trouble when working in vim and nano. Changing the terminal from “xterm-256color” to “xterm-color” fixed that for me.