.scheme files

These define the fonts, colours, styles and keywords for languages that Programmer's Notepad (via Scintilla) has built-in support for. PN contains code that parses/lexes and understands a lot of languages already. These files surface and configure that support.

Scheme element

Document element for scheme.

Child elements:

style-classes element

Container element for style classes.

Child elements:

style-class element

Purpose unknown, probably defines style settings to be inherited by other style elements. A scheme can override predefined styles which can be found in master.scheme. All styles inherit the default style class, default style class inherits system defaults.

Attributes:

keyword-classes element

Container element for keyword classes.

Child elements:

keyword-class element

Defines named keyword group.

Attributes:

Child elements:

Text content:

include-class element

Adds a keyword class to this class.

Attributes:

base-language element

Defines language settings to be inherited by language elements.

language element

Defines language settings.

Attributes:

Child elements:

comments element

Defines comment delimiters. This doesn't affect how the lexer highlights comments, it only affects PN functions of commenting and uncommenting blocks of code.

Attributes:

lexer element

Assigns lexer for the language.

Attributes:

property element

Key-value pair for lexer property.

Attributes:

use-keywords element

Container element for keywords used by the language.

Child elements:

keyword element

Defines binding between keyword class and keyword list index.

Attributes:

use-styles element

Container element for styles used by the language.

Child elements:

style element

Defines style settings.

Attributes:

group element

Groups styles. Purpose unknown, probably defines common style settings for enclosed styles.

Attributes:

Child elements:

.schemedef files

These define the syntax for a language as well as the fonts, colours... The files are interpreted by a plugin for PN called customscheme.dll which provides code to tell PN how to interpret text according to the rules in the .schemedef. Scintilla built-in lexers (used by .scheme files) usually highlight text according to hardcoded syntax rules, customscheme lexer supports simple configuration of the language syntax.

key attribute

As PN scans the text in a file it assigns every character in the file a "style", represented by a key.
Unfortunately each different built-in language can and often does use the keys to mean different things. So in C++ style 5 is used for keywords whereas HTML uses style 5 for numbers. There is one definitive source of information mapping key numbers to meanings, and that's the .properties files shipped with the SciTE distribution - SciTE is the test editor developed alongside Scintilla.

One style number that is almost always unchanged is that 32 is the default text style - normally this means text with no specific meaning.

When using a .schemedef file, the style keys are fixed:

Keywords

The limitation to keyword sets is defined by two hard limits: The first is that Scintilla supports a fixed maximum number of keyword sets, currently 8. The second is that each language lexer only uses the keyword sets that the author thought were necessary - this means that often a language will support only one or two sets of keywords. The .schemedef lexer supports 5 as when it was developed that was the Scintilla limit.

User Configuration and Caches

The changes a user makes to fonts and colours are not stored in the original .scheme or .schemedef files, the configuration of these things is instead stored in a file called UserSettings.xml in the per-user PN application data directory. Unless you're using the portable edition of PN, this will likely be here:

Vista: c:\users[your username]\AppData\Roaming\Echo Software\PN2

XP: c:\documents and settings[your username]\Application Data\Echo Software\PN2

The configuration in usersettings.xml is applied to the schemes you have installed, and the result is cached in a binary format in the .cscheme files you'll find in that directory.