Font locking the Shell Prompt

This simple-sounding feature is involved and perhaps worth a post all its own.

I'm not sure if any shells besides python implement this feature. For example, type (let ...) in ielm and the let won't be highlighted.

Buffers taking from comint-mode will not highlight the current prompt. Once entered, the prompt output will switch to the comint-highlight-input face.

We can't enable font-lock-mode for inferior-hy-mode as otherwise the highlight input face will be overwritten, output will be colored (undesirable), and colors outputted by the shell (like for errors) will be overwritten.

Due to font-lock internals, turning on font-lock just for an ever-changing marker range is also not possible.

The solution, adapted from python-mode, is to capture the prompt while it's being entered through the low-level post-command-hook. This implementation is not a copy of Python's - compare the two and you will see the extra difficulty and complexity in the original implementation.

Two macros are core:

(defmacro hy--shell-with-shell-buffer (&rest forms)
  "Execute FORMS in the shell buffer."
  (-let [shell-process
    `(-let [,shell-process
       (with-current-buffer (process-buffer ,shell-process)

(defmacro hy--shell-with-font-locked-shell-buffer (&rest forms)
  "Execute FORMS in the shell buffer with font-lock turned on."
      (unless (hy--shell-buffer?)
        (setq hy-shell-buffer (hy--shell-get-or-create-buffer)))
      (set-buffer hy-shell-buffer)

      (unless (font-lock-mode) (font-lock-mode 1))
      (unless (derived-mode-p 'hy-mode) (hy-mode))


It is easier to see the point of this macro in the command hook.

If the situation calls for it, we extract the current prompt input from the end of the last prompt via comint-last-prompt. We do some basic buffer management and startup the shell-font-lock macro.

The font lock is applied and the deleted region is replaced with the extracted text with its face property moved to the font-lock-face property.

(defun hy--shell-faces-to-font-lock-faces (text &optional start-pos)
  "Set all 'face in TEXT to 'font-lock-face optionally starting at START-POS."
  (let ((pos 0)
        (start-pos (or start-pos 0)))
    (while (and (/= pos (length text))
                (setq next (next-single-property-change pos 'face text)))
      (let* ((plist (text-properties-at pos text))
             (plist (-if-let (face (plist-get plist 'face))
                        (progn (plist-put plist 'face nil)  ; Swap face
                               (plist-put plist 'font-lock-face face))
        (set-text-properties (+ start-pos pos) (+ start-pos next) plist)
        (setq pos next)))))

(defun hy--shell-fontify-prompt-post-command-hook ()
  "Fontify just the current line in `hy-shell-buffer' for `post-command-hook'.

Constantly extracts current prompt text and executes and manages applying
`hy--shell-faces-to-font-lock-faces' to the text."
  (-when-let* (((_ . prompt-end) comint-last-prompt)
               (_ (and prompt-end
                       (> (point) prompt-end)  ; new command is being entered
                       (hy--shell-current-buffer-a-process?))))  ; process alive?
      (let* ((input (buffer-substring-no-properties prompt-end (point-max)))
             (deactivate-mark nil)
             (buffer-undo-list t)
             (font-lock-buffer-pos nil)
             (text (hy--shell-with-font-locked-shell-buffer
                    (delete-region (line-beginning-position) (point-max))
                    (setq font-lock-buffer-pos (point))
                    (insert input)
                    (buffer-substring font-lock-buffer-pos (point-max)))))
        (hy--shell-faces-to-font-lock-faces text prompt-end))))

(defun hy--shell-font-lock-turn-on ()
  "Turn on fontification of current line for hy shell."

   (setq-local hy-shell-buffer nil)

   (add-hook 'post-command-hook
             'hy--shell-fontify-prompt-post-command-hook nil 'local)
   (add-hook 'kill-buffer-hook
             'hy--shell-kill-buffer nil 'local)))
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