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2.8.1 • Public • Published

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Handlebars precompiler plugin for Browserify without magic.

Compiles Handlebars templates to plain Javascript. The compiled templates only have one copy of the Handlebars runtime so they are lightweight and fast!


Install hbsfy locally to your project:

npm install --save-dev hbsfy

You will also need Handlebars installed. Handlebars 1, 2, 3, and 4 are supported for now (use 4 for best results):

npm install --save-dev handlebars

Then use it as Browserify transform module with -t:

browserify -t hbsfy main.js > bundle.js

where main.js can be like:

var template = require("./template.hbs");
document.body.innerHTML = template({ name: "Epeli" });

and template.hbs:

<h1>Hello {{name}}!</h1>


Custom Extension

You can use --extensions or -e subarg option to configure custom extensions for the transform:

browserify -t [ hbsfy -e html,htm ] main.js > bundle.js

Alternate Precompiler/Compiler

You can specify how the templates are precompiled by using -p or --precompiler, which might also be used with the -c or --compiler option, like so:

browserify -t [ hbsfy -p ember-template-compiler -c Ember.Handlebars ] main.js > bundle.js

By default the precompiler is the handlebars node module and the compiler is "require('hbsfy/runtime')".

Options for the precompiler can be passed using a precompilerOptions key.


Enable myUltimateHelper only

browserify -t [ hbsfy --precompilerOptions [ --knownHelpersOnly --knownHelpers [ --myUltimateHelper ] ] ]  main.js > bundle.js

See Handlebars API reference for details.

Common JS Partial Resolution

Using the --traverse or -t option will cause partials to be resolved using node's module resolution algorithm. Be sure to prefix relative paths with ./ or ../ as needed. Otherwise the algorithm assumes a node_module is being referenced.


browserify -t [ hbsfy -t ] main.js > bundle.js
<!-- main.hbs -->
<div>{{> ./path/to/partial.hbs }}</div>
<!-- path/to/partial.hbs -->
<p>I'm a partial</p>

Inline Partials

If you are using Common JS partial resolution (setting the --traverse flag) and you are using Handlebars 4.0.0 or later, you can still use inline partials. Make sure to not use inline partial names that conflict with node_module dependencies. The inline partial will be used over a dependency reference.


Transform can be configured from the package.json too.

  "browserify": {
    "transform": [
          "extensions": [
          "precompilerOptions": {
            "knownHelpersOnly": true,
            "knownHelpers": {
              "myUltimateHelper": true

The precompiler and compiler keys are naturally available too.

See module-deps documentation for more information as this feature is implemented there (it's a part of Browserify itself).

Programmatic usage

The configure method of the transform can be used to create new transforms with different defaults.

var hbsfy = require("hbsfy").configure({
  extensions: ["html"]
var browserify = require("browserify");
var b = browserify("./index.js");


To register custom helpers, require the runtime and run registerHelper to create helper:

var Handlebars = require("hbsfy/runtime");
Handlebars.registerHelper("upcase", function(s) {
  return s.toUpperCase();


Partials can be created by giving precompiled template to the registerPartial function.

Handlebars.registerPartial('link', require("./partial.hbs"));

Checkout the example folder for details.

Note: if using the --traverse option, partial registration is automatic.


This synchronous method can be used to enable all hsbfy functionality in another environment, such as node or a test runner (such as mocha).

// mocha-hbs.js
var fs = require("fs");
var hbsfy = require("hbsfy");
require.extensions['.hbs'] = function (module, filename) {
  var file = fs.readFileSync(filename, "utf8");
  var opts = { traverse: true };
  return module._compile(hbsfy.compile(file, opts), filename);
$ mocha -r hbs:./mocha-hbs.js tests/

Remember to register your custom helpers as well! Ideally your templates themselves require your helpers and runtime, and call registerHelper. But if they don't, all helpers can be loaded at once as part of the require hook above:

// mocha-hbs.js
var fs = require("fs");
var hbsfy = require("hbsfy");
var runtime = require("hbsfy/runtime");
var helpers = require("./path/to/my/exported/helpers");
Object.keys(helpers).forEach(function (key) {
  runtime.registerHelper(key, helpers[key]);
require.extensions['.hbs'] = function (module, filename) {
  var file = fs.readFileSync(filename, "utf8");
  var opts = { traverse: true };
  return module._compile(hbsfy.compile(file, opts), filename);

Process output HTML string

This option accepts a function which takes one argument (the template file content) and returns a string which will be used as the source for the precompiled template object. The example below removes leading and trailing spaces to shorten templates.

  processContent: function(content) {
    content = content.replace(/^[\x20\t]+/mg, '').replace(/[\x20\t]+$/mg, '');
    content = content.replace(/^[\r\n]+/, '').replace(/[\r\n]*$/, '\n');
    return content;



  • Support block partials, ignoring templates with @ prefix. #60


  • Allow inline partials when using --traverse. #54


  • Add processContent option. #50


  • Export findPartials and compile for use in utilities / test frameworks #49.



  • support handlebars 2, 3, 4


  • Handle null nodes when traversing Handlebars AST.


  • Allow resolving / requiring partials using node's module resolution algorithm (--traverse). #47


  • Emit compile errors instead of crashing. #38


  • Support for compiler options #29


  • Subargs options for alternate precompilers and compilers #31


  • Support Browserify subargs
  • The configure method does not mutate the inner state of the module anymore
    • Instead it returns a new transform function.
  • Handlebars is not a peerDependency anymore
    • It must be manually installed
    • This relaxes completely the version binding of Handlebars - it is now possible to try Handlebars 2.0 alpha


  • Support Handlebars 1.3
  • Now uses the official runtime api


  • Remove handlebars-runtime dependency and depend directly on the handlebars module as a peer dependency.
    • Runtime must be now required with require("hbsfy/runtime") instead of require("handlebars-runtime").
    • Thanks to @kamicane for teaching me how to do this.
  • Option to configure template extensions

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