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Converting BBCode into HTML using C#

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14 Sep 2012CPOL1 min read
A brief article into how to use a C# library that converts BBCode used by popular forums into HTML

Introduction

Although the dynamic content in the Cyotek website is written using Markdown syntax using the MarkdownSharp library, we decided to use the more commonly used BBCode tags for the forums.

Some of the source code on this site is also preformatted using the CSharpFormat library, and we wanted to provide access to this via forum tags too. 

A quick Google search brought up a post by Mike343 which had a BBCode parser that more or less worked, but didn't cover everything we wanted.

You can download below an updated version of this parser which has been modified to correct some problems with the original implementation and add some missing BBCode tags, including a set of custom tags for providing the syntax highlighting offered by CSharpFormat. Using the provided formatter classes, you can easily create additional tags to suit the needs of your application.

To transform a block of BBCode into HTML, call the static Format method of the BbCodeProcessor class, for example:

C#
string exampleBbcCode = "[b]this text is bold[/b]\n[i]this text is 
		italic[/i]\n[u]this text is underlined[/u]";
string html = BbCodeProcessor.Format(exampleBbcCode);

is transformed into:

HTML
<p>
<strong>this text is bold</strong><br>
<em>this text is italic</em><br>
<u>this text is underlined</u>
</p>

Much of the formatting is also customisable via CSS - several of the BBCode tags such as [code], [quote], [list] etc. are assigned a class which you can configure in your style sheets. Listed below are the default rules used by the Cyotek site as a starting point for your own:

CSS
.bbc-codetitle, .bbc-quotetitle { margin: 1em 1.5em 0; padding: 2px 4px; 
	background-color: #A0B3CA; font-weight: bold; }
.bbc-codecontent, .bbc-quotecontent { margin: 0 1.5em 1em; padding: 5px; 
	border: solid 1px #A0B3CA; background-color: #fff; }
.bbc-codecontent pre { margin: 0; padding: 0; }
.bbc-highlight { background-color: #FFFF00; color: #333399; }
.bbc-spoiler { color: #C0C0C0; background-color: #C0C0C0; }
.bbc-indent { padding: 0 1em; }
.bbc-list { margin: 1em; }  

Finally, if you are using MVC, you may find the following HTML Helper useful for transforming code from within your views.

C#
public static string FormatBbCode(this HtmlHelper helper, string text)
{
   return BbCodeProcessor.Format(helper.Encode(text));
}

If you create any additional formatting codes for use with this library, please let us know via either comments or the Contact Us link, and we'll integrate them into the library for others to use.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Richard James Moss
Software Developer (Senior)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionGetting rid of abundant &lt;br/&gt; tags Pin
wout de zeeuw1-Oct-12 5:51
Memberwout de zeeuw1-Oct-12 5:51 
AnswerRe: Getting rid of abundant tags Pin
Richard James Moss1-Oct-12 6:02
professionalRichard James Moss1-Oct-12 6:02 
Question[li] tag not converted correctly. Pin
wout de zeeuw14-Sep-12 4:13
Memberwout de zeeuw14-Sep-12 4:13 
AnswerRe: [li] tag not converted correctly. Pin
Richard James Moss14-Sep-12 5:32
professionalRichard James Moss14-Sep-12 5:32 
GeneralRe: [li] tag not converted correctly. Pin
wout de zeeuw14-Sep-12 5:50
Memberwout de zeeuw14-Sep-12 5:50 
GeneralRe: [li] tag not converted correctly. Pin
Richard James Moss14-Sep-12 6:06
professionalRichard James Moss14-Sep-12 6:06 

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