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Add code block language name into CSS classes in Pelican Markdown

I used Pelican and its Markdown plugin to render blog post.

Recently I was playing with the Python Official Documentation, which has a decent code syntax highlighter powered by Pygments.

What’s more, the output of code examples can be toggled. That is, a code example:

>>> print('Hello World')
Hello World
>>> 6 * 7

can be toggled to:

print('Hello World')

6 * 7

which is very convenient for code copy-pasting.

However, the functionality is currently failed on the official Python doc (given by copybutton.js) because the jQuery updates break previous API behavior. I’ve filed issue 26246 on the Python issue tracker for this problem. (EDIT 2016-02-27: the patch has been merged.)

Code output toggle in Pelican

After I fixed the copybutton.js, I wished to add this functionality to my blog.

Code highlighting in Pelican markdown files is handled by its CodeHilite extension. To my surprise, I found CodeHilite does not express the language name specified for each code block.

What I expected was

<div class="highlight-python3">
    <div class="highlight">
            <!-- ... -->

but the actual output was

<div class="highlight">
        <!-- ... -->

So no way to find the language name the code block used, nor the lexer aliases Pygments guessed when no language name was specified.

A quick dig into the source code showed that it is relatively easy to fix. Here is the diff:

diff --git a/extensions/ b/extensions/
index 0657c37..4fad7c5 100644
--- a/extensions/
+++ b/extensions/
@@ -75,7 +75,8 @@ class CodeHilite(object):

     def __init__(self, src=None, linenums=None, guess_lang=True,
                  css_class="codehilite", lang=None, style='default',
-                 noclasses=False, tab_length=4, hl_lines=None, use_pygments=True):
+                 noclasses=False, tab_length=4, hl_lines=None, use_pygments=True, 
+                 wrap_by_lang=True):
         self.src = src
         self.lang = lang
         self.linenums = linenums
@@ -86,6 +87,7 @@ class CodeHilite(object):
         self.tab_length = tab_length
         self.hl_lines = hl_lines or []
         self.use_pygments = use_pygments
+        self.wrap_by_lang = wrap_by_lang

     def hilite(self):
@@ -114,13 +116,22 @@ class CodeHilite(object):
                         lexer = get_lexer_by_name('text')
                 except ValueError:
                     lexer = get_lexer_by_name('text')
+            lang = lexer.aliases[0]
             formatter = get_formatter_by_name('html',
-            return highlight(self.src, lexer, formatter)
+            hilited_html = highlight(self.src, lexer, formatter)
+            if self.wrap_by_lang and self.lang:
+                return '<div class="%(class)s-%(lang)s">%(html)s</div>\n' % {
+                    'class': self.css_class,
+                    'lang': lang.replace('+', '-'),
+                    'html': hilited_html,
+                }
+            else:
+                return hilited_html
             # just escape and build markup usable by JS highlighting libs
             txt = self.src.replace('&', '&amp;')

I’m happy with the patched codehilite output. I am now able to give code toggle function to specific code languages.

However it’s quite busy these days, so it may take a while to submit a proper pull request (e.g. fix any broken unit tests, write new tests, and tune the API as well as the new behavior). Moerover, currently my site does not use jQuery so I am missing a huge dependency. Rewriting it using vanilla JS seems to require considerable work, and the very thing I don’t have at hand is time :(

I’ve decided to leave this improvement in future development. But if your site use Pelican Markdown and imports jQuery, the diff will add the code language back.