Syntax Highlighting

The TypeScript language service has a few functions for syntax highlighting. Here they are in increasing order of complexity :

  • getLexicalClassifications: Uses a trimmed down version of the always correct TypeScript scanner. Trim in the sense that it goes line by line, and for each line it returns a state, from this state the next line can be classified. However the state value is just a pure enum, (not a stack) so it cannot be 100% reliable. E.g.
  • getSyntacticClassifications: Uses the full TypeScript scanner. However in order to use the full scanner you need to give it a file path + file contents. Also these file contents need to be kept up to date. This can be done using a LanguageServiceHost that supports ScriptInfo (a class that provides super fast change tracking + versioning).
  • getSemanticClassifications: Use the full TypeScript program. This provides semantic meanings to stuff e.g. is this variable actually a class as well. This requires whole program analysis. Doing semantic classifications is a slow process (100ms) and cannot be done efficiently without degrading user interaction. So this is done in the background. Only IDE is know that does it is the full Visual Studio.

Which one to use

getLexicalClassifications is insufficient for accurate colorization for stuff like ES6 template strings or JSX/TSX.

getSemanticClassifications is too slow to do in the UI thread.

getSyntacticClassifications is the function that provides a nice middle ground. So now we need to figure out a way to have a language service in the UI thread that provides efficient real-time editing of files and then query this language service from Monaco.

Classifier Cache

The file classifierCache.ts in our codebase provides a hot language service that is maintained and kept up to sync by docCache. This classifierCache (with its language service) can then be queried for tokens from the language mode.

Language Mode

We have a tokenization.ts that just follows the Monaco mode API. This maintains its knowledge about the position and the filePath that is being rendered by Monaco and just queries the tokens for this line from the classifierCache. Additionally based on the contents of the line being tokenized it provides high level semantic classifications using heuristics (e.g. if a variable is after : and CamelCased its probably a type).

Keeping the ClassifierCache in sync

We need to do it on change of linked docs (using the docCache.ts).


You don't need to read any of this. But I wanted to reference it here for record:

results matching ""

    No results matching ""