Ivan Homola, Author
Indie maker with a passion for SEO working on web projects. Ex-mobile dev-agency owner. Now, helping early stage founders turn their side projects into businesses.
You want your code snippets to look 'pretty,' but do you know how to display them properly in HTML and make them awesome?
Do you want to display formatted code on your custom or WordPress blogs but don't know the best resources, plugins, or libraries to do it?
In this tutorial, I will share with you the possible easiest ways to display code snippets in HTML, along with examples.
Why do you need to display code snippets in HTML?
Showcasing code in HTML can be beneficial if you want to share your programming knowledge with your audience in the shape of code snippets.
Let's say you have a blog and you're writing a technical guide with some code examples.
You want to demonstrate parts of this code in your article with the proper format and styling. In that case, you will need a way to present them.
Using <pre> and <code> tags in HTML
Normally, when you try to indent the text inside HTML tags. It ignores the line breaks and renders single lines.
But, in <pre> (preformatted) tag, spaces and line breaks aren't ignored.
Just look into the simple text example below:
You can easily print the code with the same approach. Just place it inside <pre> tag, and that's it.
There is another tag combined with <pre> tag, which gives more semantic meaning to search engines. The HTML code tag.
<code> tag is used for the piece of computer code. Usually, you include this tag inside of the <pre> tag to tell a browser, and Google that’s a block of code you want to display, not to render.
Here is an example:
Encode Reserved tags into HTML entities
What if you want to display the HTML code block using the <pre> tag?
Looking at the example below, you will see that the entered HTML code has been rendered but not displayed because of reserved characters.
To fix this issue, you will need to use HTML entities. Like this:
Now, don't get yourself confused.
There are tools available to convert HTML tags into HTML entities to make your life easier.
Syntax highlighting of code blocks
We don't usually color the code snippets through custom CSS styling. However, there are plenty of lightweight libraries available to do this job.
And if you're using WordPress, you can use the plugin Prismatic by Jeff Starr.
Using PrismJS to style your code block in 3 easy steps
- Use the pre-defined class names in <code> tag
Colors schemes vary on the style or theme you choose, like:
There are endless customizations that you can do to highlight your code blocks.
You can see the complete list of languages and plugins that PrismJS supports.
Some useful List of plugins are:
- Line Numbers
- Line Highlight
- Show Language
- Command Line
- Highlight Keywords
- and much more
PrismJS Plugin Examples:
By default, plugins are not included in downloaded files.
Before downloading the files, you must enable or select your desired plugins and languages.
Adding line numbers to code block:
Or copy to clipboard option:
So far, you've learned about sharing code snippets on a website by displaying them through preformatted <pre> and computer code <code> tags.
You have also learned about JS libraries and the WordPress plugin to integrate into your blog or website.
But now, what if you want to share useful code snippets with the team or friends in a more modern and smarter way?
Here comes the new code snippets manager by Codiga. It allows you to add, manage, and share code snippets within your chosen IDE. We provide plugins for VS Code, IntelliJ/Jetbrains and Google Chrome.
What is a code snippet?
In simple words, a code snippet is a block of code you can utilize in various programming projects. Code snippets are useful for reducing the time it takes to create software by allowing developers to reuse code.
Is it good approach to use <code> tag inside <pre> tag?
Yes, if you want to display the computer/programming code, then using <code> inside <pre> tag is recommended.
How to organize code snippets efficiently?
You can use smart code snippets to organize your code blocks; the best part is you can instantly share them with your team or the world!
Do you recommend to use 3rd party libraries for Syntax Highlighting?
Yes, using a 3rd party solution for syntax highlighting on your websites is beneficial. I prefer Prism, a feature-rich Syntax Highlighting JS library.