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Please consider maintaining (y)our own fork of Prettify.

I just tried to add new keywords for Swift¹ but

  1. they wanted me to sign a CLA with all kinds of personal information and
  2. the project does not seem to be maintained actively; there are many outstanding issues (140 as of now) and pull requests (26) and the last activity on language support was 11 months ago.

In other words, Google Prettify is not actively maintained and their policy discourages community contributions (compared to other projects).

I'm confident that an SE-fork of Prettify, maintained by the community, would be much more active and current. For keeping both forks in sync, SE could act as a single contributor towards Google Prettify.


  1. Swift exists in the repository, by the way, but not in our list -- so SE is even behind Google!
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  • 1
    I am currently working on a syntax highlighting module for x86 assembly language, and was also worried about the lack of activity on Prettify. I don't think I mind signing a CLA, but if no one is around to handle my pull request, that's a real problem.
    – Cody Gray
    Jan 11 '17 at 10:59
  • 1
    I strongly support this, but I don't think SE has any desire at all to do anything with Prettify, given their general reluctance to exert effort in that direction. The fact that SE's copy of Prettify is outdated despite the relative inactivity of the project is symptomatic. Jan 11 '17 at 12:33
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    @NathanTuggy Huh. I was assuming that decent syntax highlighting is pretty central to a platform that trades primarily in code.
    – Raphael
    Jan 11 '17 at 12:34
  • That said, after reading this I think it's plausible that SE leaves out many languages by choice, not by laziness. Keeping the size of the delivered JS file small seems to be of high priority.
    – Raphael
    Jan 11 '17 at 12:36
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    @Raphael: You'd think, but quite a few requests to support this, that, or the other language have been met with "get it in Prettify, then we'll talk", but since SE isn't even keeping up to date on that… it really seems to me that that's just the use of "pull requests welcome" as a brush-off. Jan 11 '17 at 12:52
  • "all kinds of personal information" - this is the typical Google CLA, which includes your name, address, and phone number. I think they explain pretty well why they need it, to clarify IP rights. I think you're overreacting a bit to that; they have to have a CLA to protect both themselves and you.
    – hichris123
    Jan 11 '17 at 22:20
  • @hichris123 They can ask for whatever they want -- I'm not taking it personally -- but I sure as hell can decide whom to give my personal data to. I certainly did not do my best to ensure Google does not get my home address and phone number over the last couple of years (no idea if that worked) only to give up over some syntax highlighting keywords. But yes, that's an individual issue. (Sadly so. I wish more people cared about data privacy.)
    – Raphael
    Jan 12 '17 at 8:58
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    Other than being basically abandonware, are there fixes that we should be looking at as critical? (Bringing this up with our engineering managers, I don't think we're willing to fork it, but if good patches are dying out in the wild ... well ... )
    – Tim Post
    Jan 12 '17 at 20:29
  • @TimPost I don't know about the delta between the SE version and the state of Prettify master, but the current pull requests are mostly about adding language support or features to individual languages, as far as I can tell.
    – Raphael
    Jan 12 '17 at 20:51
  • @TimPost Thanks for pushing this upstream! If they say no to an SE fork, can you ask if they would be willing to pull from any fork of Prettify, say one maintained by SO users? (It's not as if there weren't almost 400 forks on Github alone... no telling how many of them are active; many are just pull requests.)
    – Raphael
    Jan 12 '17 at 20:52
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    @Raphael It's not the only third-party thing that we use which is either in permanent maintenance mode or essentially dead; I'm going to bring up the bigger conversation of how to deal with that once we're alerted to it, and this more specifically.
    – Tim Post
    Jan 12 '17 at 20:56
  • @TimPost How did that go? It seems that Prettify has been officially abandoned by now.
    – Raphael
    Jun 2 '20 at 7:06
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We've officially switched to highlight.js network-wide. See the announcement post for more details.

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