Itemizers group syntax zones into hierarchical blocks and allow Espresso to provide code folding and a hierarchical representation of the document in the Navigator.

XML syntax

The XML files in your Itemizers folder define your plug-in's itemizer definitions. Files can be named anything you like, although by convention they are usually named after the syntax they are itemizing (PHP.xml, CSS.xml, etc.).

Itemizers define what syntax zones make up which items:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<itemizer language-context="js">
	<!-- Targeting a single zone is the simplest type of itemizer possible -->
	<item name="js.comment">
		<zone>js comment</zone>

	<!-- You can also construct more complicated itemizers with start and end zones -->
	<item name="js.function.anonymous">
		<start-zone>js function.definition.anonymous + ~ brace.round.close +</start-zone>
		<end-zone>js brace.curly.close</end-zone>


Defining a language-context attribute on your root-level itemizer element is typically a good idea, as it vastly improves performance by limiting the itemizers Espresso has to parse for a given language.

The <class> element is optional, and specifies the name of the compiled code classname that will control how your item is displayed in the Navigator (see below).

For a simple item, the <zone> element is where you specify the syntax zone that represents the item's content.

For more complicated recipes, <start-zone> and <end-zone> specify the syntax zones that delimit the item. This allows you to construct itemizer definitions for things like groups, tag hierarchies, and similar.

Code folding automatically folds everything except for the start-zone and end-zone to continue to provide context in the code about what is folded.

The <subitems> element specifies what items will be interpreted inside of this item. The special <include-root-itemizers/> element will include all items or you can define additional item elements here that will only be active inside of this item.

Selectors within items

You can use :has-child() and other niceties of selectors to get very fine-grained control over your items.

Additionally, itemizers provide a special ~(balanced) selector that can be used within a <start-zones> tag to ensure that braces are balanced properly (otherwise you sometimes get itemizers that will improperly capture most of the document). For instance:

<item name="js.function.named">
	<start-zones>function.definition:has-child(name:capture(name)) + ~(balanced) brace.round.close +</start-zones>

There are some important caveats for the ~(balanced) combinator, however:

Built-in Itemizer classes

Espresso includes the following classes:

Item name keywords

There are certain keywords that when included in your item name will trigger specific icons in the Navigator automatically. For instance, the following item will be styled like a function definition:

<item name="php.function">
	<start-zones>function.definition:has-child(name:capture(name)) + ~ brace.round.close +</start-zones>

Keywords include:

Non-generic classes

These classes are available, but are rarely useful for third-party plug-ins: