What is the word describing the process of converting source code, such as a C file or Java file, to a format appropriate for publishing on WWW site (usually HTML format with syntax highlighting, but also wiki format etc.)? An example would be how github stores raw source files, but displays (to the browser) an HTML representation of the code with the syntax highlighted, and line numbers, and other improvements for readability.

I have problem finding correct and understandable word.

  • formatting is used to describe the process of improving the format of the source code, not converting to other format
  • prettification is usually associated with processing the source code to make it more human-readable
  • beautification - I've met with using that term as synonym to prettification

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  • 1
    converting it from what? I write HTML as HTML, so it's always ready to go. – Matt E. Эллен Jan 11 '13 at 17:21
  • converting it from source code – Danubian Sailor Jan 11 '13 at 17:41
  • That doesn't make sense to me. One doesn't convert source code into HTML. At least not in my experience. Do you mean when people write code but put it in a web page, like on Stack Overflow? – Matt E. Эллен Jan 11 '13 at 17:43
  • You outsource it? :| – coleopterist Jan 11 '13 at 17:45
  • Yes, one make so to publish on their blog etc., Stack Overflow has own formatter, but blog engines usually have not... I'm looking the correct way for the tool that makes something like that – Danubian Sailor Jan 11 '13 at 17:45

The term for making code look like it does in an IDE or on Stack Overflow is code highlighting or syntax highlighting.


As a programmer I can tell you that source code can be on the server and when a browser requests it, the code is converted client-side. When I say converted I mean it is decrypted by the computer to display the results of the code.

Markup, mentioned in another answer, is just a form of editing.

Syntax-highlighting, mentioned in another answer, is what code-writing software does when you type your code it changes the color of certain functions so that you know what group they are in. Programmer-notes are usually green, software-objects can be purple depending on the language-editor. It's very similar to italicizing a word or bolding a word. This is not the correct word you are looking for either.

I'd go with conversion.


You mark up the code using a markup language.





The term I am familiar with is pretty-printing, which is where a source file is transformed for visual display such as on a web page or for a physical printout.

This typically involves several transformations (but not necessarily all of them)

  • Formatting - adjustment of whitespace and other optional characters to make the structure of the code more uniform and readable (if the code is deemed to need formatting)
  • Syntax highlighting - marking up of the source with font styles and colours (if the output medium supports it)
  • Special formatting for the output, such as pagination for printed pages

Colloquially, the word formatting is also sometimes used to refer to the overall pretty-printing process.

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