Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

A C++ to HTML conversion utility

, 24 May 2004
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
A utility which converts your C++ code to HTML.


Cpphtml is a utility to convert your C++ code to HTML. If you have a C++ file, say myprogram.cpp, and you want to put it on your website, you can run it through Cpphtml which will convert the code to HTML with all comments, keywords and preprocessor directives highlighted. Cpphtml will send all output to cout, so you have to redirect the output to a file if you want to create a HTML file:

C:\>cpphtml myprogram.cpp >myprogram.htm

Cpphtml will convert all tabs to 4 spaces. If you want the tab size to be 8 spaces, you can specify the tab size on the command line:

C:\>cpphtml myprogram.cpp 8 >myprogram.htm

The HTML code contains a <style> element which contains style rules for comments, keywords and preprocessor directives. So, you don't have to do a search-and-replace if you want to change, say, the color of keywords. For example, if you want all keywords in bold, just change the .keyword style rule: .keyword{color:rgb(0,0,255);font-weight:bold}. It's that easy.

I don't claim Cpphtml works perfectly. I tested it on the Dinkumware STL files, the source of Cpphtml, and a large Microsoft CPP file. The results are great. Cpphtml was compiled with the Borland C++ 5.5 command line compiler: bcc32 cpphtml.cpp.

A walk through the code


Cpphtml will replace all tabs by 4 spaces if no tab size is specified. Change _TABSIZE to 8 if you want the default tab size to be 8.

#define _TABSIZE    4

using namespace std;

int tabsize = _TABSIZE;

Token is a class which represents chunks of code. A token can have the type comment, pp (preprocessor directive), keyword or code. Code is everything which is not a comment, pp or keyword. Note that there are no getter and setter methods: because operator>> and operator<< are friends of class token, we don't need any.

class token {
    token() : _what(code) {}
    enum type {code, comment, pp, keyword};
    string _str;
    type _what;
    friend istream& operator>>(istream&, token&);
    friend ostream& operator<<(ostream&, const token&);

The function iskeyword() returns true if string s is a C++ keyword, false if not. It's possible you don't recognize some keywords, e.g. and. Those keywords can be used by programmers who don't have access to all ASCII characters. I've never seen code with such keywords though.

bool iskeyword(const string& s)
    static const char* keywords[] = {

    for (int i = 0; i < sizeof(keywords) / sizeof(char*); i++)
        if (string(keywords[i]) == s)
            return true;

    return false;

The function containspp() returns true if string s contains a substring which is a preprocessor directive. A token of type pp can contain a string of the form "#...define", therefore, we have to find a substring.

bool containspp(const string& s)
    static const char* pptokens[] = {

    for (int i = 0; i < sizeof(pptokens) / sizeof(char*); i++)
        if (s.find(pptokens[i]) != string::npos)
            return true;

    return false;

Operator>> extracts a token from an input stream. It recognizes "//" and "/*...*/" comments, preprocessor directives of the form "#...define", and keywords. String constants are also recognized to avoid keywords to be highlighted in strings.

istream& operator>>(istream& is, token& t)
    t._str = "", t._what = token::code;
    int c = is.get();
    switch (c) {
        case '/':
            c = is.get();
            if (c == '*') {
                t._str = "/*";
                t._what = token::comment;
                while (1) {
                    c = is.get();
                    if (c == EOF)
                        return is.unget(), is.clear(), is;
                    if (c == '/') {
                        if (t._str.length() > 2 &&
                            t._str[t._str.length() - 1] == '*') {
                            return t._str += '/', is;
                    t._str += (char)c;
            } else if (c == '/') {
                t._str = "//";
                t._what = token::comment;
                c = is.get();
                while (c != '\n' && c != EOF) {
                    t._str += (char)c;
                    c = is.get();
                if (c == '\n') {
                    t._str += '\n';
                return is;
            t._str = '/';
            return is.unget(), is.clear(), is;
        case '#':
            t._str = '#';
            c = is.get();
            while (strchr(" \r\n\t", c)) {
                t._str += (char)c;
                c = is.get();
            if (c == EOF)
                return is.unget(), is.clear(), is;
            while (strchr("abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz", c)) {
                t._str += (char)c;
                c = is.get();
            is.unget(), is.clear();
            if (containspp(t._str))
                t._what = token::pp;
            return is;
        case '\'':
        case '"': {
            char q = (char)c;
            t._str = q;
            while (1) {
                c = is.get();
                if (c == EOF)
                    return is.unget(), is.clear(), is;
                if (c == q) {
                    if (t._str.length() >= 2) {
                        if (!(t._str[t._str.length() - 1] == '\\' &&
                            t._str[t._str.length() - 2] != '\\'))
                            return t._str += q, is;
                    } else {
                        return t._str += q, is;
                t._str += (char)c;                
        case 'a':
        case 'b':
        case 'c':
        case 'd':
        case 'e':
        case 'f':
        case 'g':
        case 'i':
        case 'l':
        case 'm':
        case 'n':
        case 'o':
        case 'p':
        case 'r':
        case 's':
        case 't':
        case 'u':
        case 'v':
        case 'w':
        case 'x':
            t._str += (char)c;
            c = is.get();
            while (isalpha(c) || isdigit(c) || c == '_') {
                t._str += (char)c;
                c = is.get();
            is.unget(), is.clear();
            if (iskeyword(t._str))
                t._what = token::keyword;
            return is;
        case EOF:
            return is;
            t._str += (char)c;
            c = is.get();
            while (c != '/' && c != '#' && !strchr("abcdefgilmnoprstuvwx", c) &&
                c != '\'' && c != '"' && c != EOF) {
                t._str += (char)c;
                c = is.get();
            is.unget(), is.clear();
            return is;

The function html() replaces the characters '&', '<', '>' and '"' in string s by its HTML equivalents and replaces the tabs by spaces.

string html(const string& s)
    string s1;
    string::size_type i;
    for (i = 0; i < s.length(); i++) {
        switch (s[i]) {
            case '&':
                s1 += "&";
            case '<':
                s1 += "<";
            case '>':
                s1 += ">";
            case '"':
                s1 += """;
            case '\t':
                s1.append(tabsize, ' ');
                s1 += s[i];
    return s1;

Operator<< sends a token to an output stream. The code is straightforward.

ostream& operator<<(ostream& os, const token& t)
    if (t._what == token::code)
        cout << html(t._str);
    else if (t._what == token::comment)
        cout << "<span class=comment>" << html(t._str) << "</span>";
    else if (t._what == token::keyword)
        cout << "<span class=keyword>" << html(t._str) << "</span>";
    else if (t._what == token::pp)
        cout << "<span class=pp>" << html(t._str) << "</span>";
        cout << html(t._str);
    return os;

This is the entry point of Cpphtml. All code will be wrapped in a <pre> element. By overloading operator>> and operator<<, the while loop is very short and clean. All output is sent to cout.

int main(int argc, char **argv)
    if (argc != 2 && argc != 3) {
        cout << "usage: cpphtml file [tab size]" << endl;
        return 0;
    ifstream is(argv[1]);
    if (!is.good()) {
        cerr << "bad input file" << endl;
        return -1;
    if (argc == 3) {
        tabsize = atoi(argv[2]);
        if (tabsize <= 0)
            tabsize = _TABSIZE;
    cout << "<html>" << endl 
      << "<head>" << endl 
      << "<style>" << endl;
    cout << ".keyword{color:rgb(0,0,255);}" << endl;
    cout << ".comment{color:rgb(0,128,0);}" << endl;
    cout << ".pp{color:rgb(0,0,255);}" << endl;
    cout << "</style>" << endl << "<body>" << endl;
    cout << "<pre style=\"font-family:courier;font-size:10pt\">";
    token t;
    while (is >> t) {
        cout << t;
    cout << "</pre>" << "</body>" 
         << endl << "</html>" << endl;
    return 0;


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Mike Finnegan

Belgium Belgium
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

Questionnot working PinmemberMember 1133381024-Dec-14 16:43 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembermanoj kumar choubey26-Feb-12 22:24 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pinmemberr4start5-Apr-10 20:37 
GeneralWow. Thanks! PinmemberCaptainMorganRawks26-Aug-07 20:50 
GeneralHeader PinmemberFlame Alchemist20-Jul-07 2:50 
GeneralRe: Header Pinmemberq12345678921-Jul-07 23:56 
GeneralRe: Header PinmemberFlame Alchemist24-Jul-07 3:34 
GeneralN00b needs help with this program PinmemberHarrierfalcon2-May-06 18:39 
GeneralRe: N00b needs help with this program PinmemberWes Aday2-May-06 18:56 
GeneralRe: N00b needs help with this program PinmemberHarrierfalcon3-May-06 12:10 
GeneralRe: N00b needs help with this program PinmemberWes Aday3-May-06 12:19 
Generaldigrams/trigrams Pinmembertoxcct31-Jan-06 23:53 
GeneralRe: digrams/trigrams PinmemberJörgen Sigvardsson4-Feb-06 9:14 
GeneralI want Line Number Pinmemberonjo14-Nov-05 18:49 
GeneralRe: I want Line Number Pinmemberq12345678914-Nov-05 23:11 
GeneralAnother suggestion... not to the author Pinmembergcampbell14-Oct-05 15:26 
GeneralThank you (and suggestion) PinmemberPablo Aliskevicius1-May-05 5:29 
GeneralRe: Thank you (and suggestion) Pinmemberq1234567892-May-05 4:41 
GeneralThanks, It's very good Pinmemberlynhoo2-Jun-04 16:49 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web02 | 2.8.150331.1 | Last Updated 25 May 2004
Article Copyright 2004 by Mike Finnegan
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2015
Layout: fixed | fluid