A prototype in-situ laser-absorption sensor for the real-time composition measurement (CO, CH4, H2O and CO2) of synthesis gas products of coal gasification (called here syngas) was designed, tested in the laboratory, and demonstrated during field-measurement campaigns in a pilot-scale entrained flow gasifier at the University of Utah and in an engineering-scale, fluidized-bed transport gasifier at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC). The prototype design and operation were improved by the lessons learned from each field test. Laser-absorption measurements are problematic in syngas flows because efficient gasifiers operate at elevated pressures (10-50 atm) where absorption transitions are collision broadened and absorption transitions that are isolated at 1 atm become blended into complex features, and because syngas product streams can contain significant particulate, producing significant non-absorption scattering losses of the transmission of laser light. Thus, the prototype sensor used a new wavelength-scanned, wavelength-modulation spectroscopy strategy with 2f-detection and 1f-normalization (WMS-2f/1f) that can provide sensitive absorption measurements of species with spectra blended by collision broadening even in the presence of large non-absorption laser transmission losses (e.g., particulate scattering, beam steering, etc.). The design of the sensor for detection of CO, CH4, H2O and CO2 was optimized for the specific application of syngas monitoring at the output of large-scale gasifiers. Sensor strategies, results and lessons learned from these field measurement campaigns are discussed.