Shuhei Kagawa

Using highlight.js with marked

Sep 21, 2015 - JavaScript

I use marked to parse markdown files of posts and pages, and highlight.js to highlight code blocks in them for this site. Here are problems that I came across to make them work together and a workaround for them.

marked's README has an example on how to configure it to work with highlight.js but it doesn't add hljs classes on <code> tags that highlight.js uses to style code blocks. At the moment, you have to prepare your own renderer to achieve it.

Also, you need to check whether the language given by marked is a valid one for highlight.js. highlight.js seems to have had LANGUAGES property a few years ago but now getLanguage() method serves as a substitute for it.

Here's the outcome:

import marked, { Renderer } from "marked";
import highlightjs from "highlight.js";

const escapeMap = {
  "&": "&amp;",
  "<": "&lt;",
  ">": "&gt;",
  '"': "&quot;",
  "'": "&#39;"

function escapeForHTML(input) {
  return input.replace(/([&<>'"])/g, char => escapeMap[char]);

// Create your custom renderer.
const renderer = new Renderer();
renderer.code = (code, language) => {
  // Check whether the given language is valid for highlight.js.
  const validLang = !!(language && highlightjs.getLanguage(language));

  // Highlight only if the language is valid.
  // highlight.js escapes HTML in the code, but we need to escape by ourselves
  // when we don't use it.
  const highlighted = validLang
    ? highlightjs.highlight(language, code).value
    : escapeForHTML(code);

  // Render the highlighted code with `hljs` class.
  return `<pre><code class="hljs ${language}">${highlighted}</code></pre>`;

// Set the renderer to marked.
marked.setOptions({ renderer });

EDIT on Feb 24, 2019: The code snippet above was originally meant to be used for this blog and didn't have proper XSS protection for handling user inputs. Oleksii pointed out in a comment that it was vulnerable to XSS when language was not specified. I fixed the issue by escaping code for HTML. Thanks a lot, Oleksii!