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Templating Engines For JavaScript

Top 10 Templating Engines for JavaScript To Improve and Simplify Your Workflow 2017

JavaScript has had a big year, the number of web development frameworks and plugins has expanded beyond comprehension of an average developer, and we also saw — highly anticipated — the release of ECMAScript 6; the new JavaScript standard. Frankly, ES6 was already on the way, all that needed to be done is for it to be finalized, but make sure to check out the full spec if you haven’t done so already. ECMAScript 6 improvements include better syntax for classes, along with new methods for strings and Arrays, Promises, Maps and Sets.

We keep seeing huge growth with Node.js, and frameworks such as Meteor.js, Angular.js and React.js have also made their way into the global JavaScript ecosphere, and needless to say that these have been some truly revolutionary additions to an already established system of development. The next few years for JavaScript are going to be all about native integration.

Back to the topic of templating engines, JavaScript has quite a few of them! A templating engine is basically a way for developers to interpole strings into more effective ways. If you’re a heavy front-end JavaScript developer, using a templating engine will save you countless hours of unnecessary work by giving you a pathway towards building websites and apps on the go, without having to worry about rewriting and reanalyzing your code. And because of the vast array of templating engines available today, it can be tough to make the right choice at the right time, which is why we will take a look at the most popular and dubbed best (by community) templating engines for JavaScript today.

Mustache

mustache

Mustache is one of the most widely known templating systems that works for a number of programming languages, including JavaScript, Node.js, PHP, and many others. Because Mustache is a logic-less templating engine, it can be literally used for any kind of development work. It works by expanding tags in a template using values provided in a hash or object. The name logic-less comes from the fact that Mustache works purely by using tags, all values are set and executed according to tags, so you end up saving yourself hours of ‘nasty’ development work.

Handlebars

Handlebars

Handlebars is a close successor to Mustache, and both can actually be used at the same time, with the ability to swap out tags where necessary. The only difference is that Handlebars is more focused on helping developers to create semantic templates, without having to involve all the confusion and time consumption. You can easily try out Handlebars yourself (there’s also an option to try Mustache on the same page) and see for yourself whether this is the type of templating engine you’re looking for.

doT

doT

doT.js is small, efficient, fast and lightweight templating engine that supports itself (no dependancies), and works great with Node.js and native Browser integration.

Dust

Dust.js by LinkedIn

Dust.js comes from LinkedIn — a fully asynchronous Javascript templating system/engine for the browser and server. Dust, while not completely logic-less, does involve a lot less logic than your average templating system. With Dust you’re moving all your logical parts of the code towards a simple data model, at which point you’re able to execute functions within that model and call it forth by using the template system itself, which then grants you full control over how your templates react in different situations.

EJS

EJS

The last of the most popular JavaScript template engines on our list is going to be Embedded JavaScript Templates (EJS) — a lightweight solution towards creating HTML markup with simple JavaScript code. Worry not about organizing your stuff in the right manner, it’s just straight JavaScript all the way. Fast code execution, ease of debugging makes this the perfect templating engine for those who want to do HTML work with their favorite language, presumably JavaScript.

Underscore

Underscore.js

Underscore, another highly reputable templating engine, is an external JavaScript library that enables developers to take advantage of functional helpers that keep the code base intact. Underscore solves the problem of having to open your code editor and not knowing where to start. Underscore provides over 100 functions that support both your favorite workaday functional helpers: map, filter, invoke — as well as more specialized goodies: function binding, javascript templating, creating quick indexes, deep equality testing, and so on.

Pug

When people say Python is like writing in English, they underestimate the magnitude of that statement when it comes to Pug syntax programming. The Pug template engine (for Node.js) is literally enabling developers to write code that looks like paragraphs straight out of a book. Not only does this improve the overall code productivity, it can help to streamline the work on a project that consists of multiple team members.

ECT

ECT Fastest JavaScript template engine with CoffeeScript syntax

CoffeeScript is a widely used language transpiler for JavaScript, and template engines like ECT make it very easy for CoffeeScript developers to have their own little templating engine syntax. With outstanding performance and features like caching, auto-reloading, and integrated Node.js support — ECT stands out with speed, efficiency and reliability. It works out of the box with frameworks like Express and Require.

Template7

Template7 Mobile first JavaScript Template Engine

Template7 is the first ever mobile-first templating engine for JavaScript which is built upon the foundation of Handlebars, making it easy and convenient for developers to use this templating system when it comes to building mobile apps and websites.

jTemplates

jTemplates template engine in JavaScript

jTemplates is a simple and friendly template syntax for JavaScript, it’s written purely in native JavaScript and supports JSON and AJAX integration. You can use jTemplates to execute JavaScript code inside of the actual templates you’re building, as well as to define individual parameters within the templates themselves. Real-time updates means that you can update content->server live.

Choosing the Best Templating Engine for JavaScript

When choosing the right templating engine for our projects, we should take into consideration the exact type of work we are looking to do, and how much of the project is actually going to have to be templated, and what kind of solution would work out for you individually in both long-term and short-term.

Which templating engines for JavaScript do you prefer and why you are choosing it over others?

Alex Ivanovs

Alex is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience in design, development, and small business. His work has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, TheNextWeb, and others.

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. Most of the js template engines are a bit old-fashioned but have a charm on their own. A new player has arrived on the market that makes an use of the new ES6 syntax and is as twice as fast as Pug One of the great things about it is the attempt to mitigate the learning curve of learning new syntax that have scared many developers (like me) away. Have a loot at it here: https://github.com/dondido/express-es6-template-engine

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