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Daniela Baron

Add a Language to gatsby-remark-vscode

Published 14 Jun 2021

This blog is built with Gatsby, and being an engineering blog, naturally requires a syntax higlighter. I'm using gatsby-remark-vscode for this, which is a Gatsby plugin that adds syntax highlighting using VS Code's highlighting engine. It comes with over 50 built-in languages.

Up until recently, the built-in language support from this plugin was more than enough for my needs on this blog, such as ruby, js, html, and yml.

But a recent post I wrote on A Postman Alternative required adding a new language that wasn't in the list the plugin comes with. This was http to specify a file of http requests, for example:

# Get all subscriptions
GET {{host}}/api/v1/subscriptions

Accept: application/vnd.api+json
Myapp-Tenant-Api-Key: {{apikey}}

###

# Create a new subscription
POST {{host}}/api/v1/subscriptions

Accept: application/vnd.api+json
Content-Type: application/vnd.api+json
Myapp-Tenant-Api-Key: {{apikey}}

{
  "data": {
    "type": "subscriptions",
    "attributes": {
      "status": "active",
      "customer-id": "some-customer",
      "plan-id": "some-plan"
    }
  }
}

In theory the gatsby-remark-vscode plugin can be customized to add other themes and languages, however, the docs only provide an example for how to add a new theme, not language.

A little investigation found it could be solved as follows:

First, find the project on Github that has the syntax definition file for the language you're looking to add. In my case, I was using the .http files as part of this VS Code REST Client extension, which also comes with the syntax highlighting. I found the corresponding project on Github at Huachao/vscode-restclient. This project has the syntax definition file for the http and rest file types at http.tmLanguage.json.

Here's just a few lines from this file - notice the supported fileTypes http and rest:

{
  "scopeName": "source.http",
  "fileTypes": [
    "http",
    "rest"
  ],
  // ...
}

Next, npm install this project from Github, into the Gatsby project:

npm install Huachao/vscode-restclient --save

Now, this is important, take a look at what this package got saved as in package.json, for example, this created an entry with key rest-client in the dependencies object:

// package.json

"dependencies": {
  // ...
  "rest-client": "github:Huachao/vscode-restclient",
  // ...
},

Configure the gatsby-remark-vscode extension in gatsby-config.js by adding the package key from package.json into the extensions list. I'm using this plugin for syntax highlighting in markdown files so it's nested under the gatsby-transformer-remark plugin:

// gatsby-config.js

module.exports = {
  plugins: [
    // other plugins...
    {
      resolve: `gatsby-transformer-remark`,
      options: {
        plugins: [
          {
            resolve: `gatsby-remark-vscode`,
            options: {
              theme: "Monokai", // Or install your favorite theme from GitHub
              extensions: ['rest-client'],
            },
          },
        ],
      },
    }
  ]
}

And now, you can created fenced code blocks in markdown using any of the supported file types, as specified in the http.tmLanguage.json file from the github package.

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