Lets say I have a REPL ./repl, which reads a line from the user, evaluates it, prints it and then repeats.

I have a .vim file that does syntax highlighting for this language in my .vim/syntax directory and I want to use this file to highlight the repl input (and if possible output).

How can I do this using vim or a other programming knowing vim syntax files?

  • I think that would be a very convoluted way to add colors to your input/output. Perhaps, if you run some form of shell inside vim/gvim/neovim, and run your repl from there, while at the same time setting the Vim syntax of the buffer running the shell to your REPL language ?
    – VanLaser
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


As an interactive editor, Vim takes over the entire [terminal] screen. It is therefore not well suited to be used as a highlighting component (though there are ways inside Vim to access the rendered syntax highlighting, cp. the :help 2html script that renders a Vim buffer as HTML).

In my opinion, going this route isn't worth the effort. Rather, I'd suggest you have a look at alternative syntax parsers; many are just as powerful (and designed to be integrated). Though I haven't used it myself, the GNU Source-highlight might be worth looking into.

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