How to enable nano-like whitespace highlighting in vim?

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http://unix.stackexchange.com – nano has a useful bit of syntax highlighting that actually highlights whitespace (tabs and spaces), under two conditions: (1) the whitespace does not have a non-whitespace character between either the last character or the beginning of the line and it, and (2) that the file is source code and not plain, plain text (as in a shopping list). How can I emulate this kind of behavior in vim? (HowTos)