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JadeLessCoffee serves a very simple and single purpose: combine three rapid-development languages into one compiler. The hope in doing this is that the developer can use Jade, Lesscss, and CoffeeScript within whatever framework he or she chooses, then compile them down to the more standardized and accepted languages they represent.

Alpha State

This project is in its infancy. Many of the errors generated by the threads in LESS and CoffeeScript aren't being reported properly. That means that debugging output from this can be confusing at times. Errors in the console such as a non-descript "LessError" object or CoffeeScript throwing an error at line 3 about a mystery '{' can be pretty confusing. We're working on either capturing these errors more accurately or patching those errors to work better in the jlc output.


JadeLessCoffee is not meant for a production environment. Not at all. In order to deploy you should always make sure that there aren't any calls to jlc in your final product.

Just to make sure you understand why: It's slow. These tools are meant to make development faster, but with the added benefit of not slowing down the final product in the browser or on the server.

Also of importance: This system hasn't been tested on windows. It should work. But... I don't know.


The Node.js platform At least 0.6.0 (due to some fs methods being used). lesscss Version 1.3.0 is what this was built with, but older versions will likely compile fine. We only use the render method. Jade Version 0.25.0 We only use the compile method. CoffeeScript Version 1.3.1 We only use the compile method.


After installing node.js: $ sudo npm -g install git://


To work on a project that has no dynamic server-side technology (as in no django/rails/logic backend):

  • In the project folder make a src folder (if you haven't already).
  • Write all your jade, less, and coffee files there.
  • Make sure they have the .jade, .less, and .coffee extensions appropriately.
  • Either name a folder build or if you already have html files in a folder, serve it through nginx or apache
  • Compile the files out to html, css, and js by running jlc --incremental --output <./build> ./src
  • OR Watch the files so that any time there are changes they are output to the build folder: jlc --incremental --watch --output <./build> ./src

Some important notes: jlc output folder will mimic the src folder structure. So if you have a src/css/styles.less file, it will be output to build/css/styles.css. jlc overwrites files. If you have an existing file with the same name and folder structure in your output, then jlc will eat it. jlc creates folders in your output directory.


Static HTML Development / SimpleHTTPServer

If you're just doing static html development and want a quick and dirty way to build jade, less, and coffee, jlc-serve is an executable that will run a simple HTTP server that compiles on every request (within a 2 second timespan to decrease machine load.) The server works best with node-mime, but does not require it for basic functionality.

$ jlc-serve -O ./ ./src -p 8000

Example output:

Incremental compile started...
GET /lib/jadelesscoffee/fail 404 empty ./lib/jadelesscoffee/fail
GET /favicon.ico 404 empty ./favicon.ico
Incremental compile started...
GET /lib/jadelesscoffee 200 text/html ./lib/jadelesscoffee
GET /favicon.ico 404 empty ./favicon.ico
Incremental compile started...
GET /lib/jadelesscoffee 200 text/javascript ./lib/jadelesscoffee/index.js
GET /favicon.ico 404 empty ./favicon.ico

Control+C to quit.

To integrate with Django:

$ pip install git+

Then in your Django application, include this middleware: MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES = ( ... 'jadelesscoffee.django.middleware.JadeLessCoffeeMiddleware' )

Then add a 'src' folder in any of the TEMPLATE_DIRS and STATICFILES_DIRS entries you want to have .jade, .less, or .coffee files in.

The following commands will run at each request and will only compile files that have changed. jlc --quiet --incremental --output {{TEMPLATE_DIRS}}/src {{TEMPLATE_DIRS}} jlc --quiet --incremental --output {{STATICFILES_DIRS}}/src {{STATICFILES_DIRS}}

To integrate with php-based frameworks:

Put this into the index.php or any file that is included on every request: exec("jlc --incremental --output $buildDirectory $sourceDirectory");


JadeLessCoffee Sublime Build system (uses a Makefile)

Jade syntax highlighting

HTML2Jade bin is helpful sometimes too

LESS syntax highlighting

CoffeeScript syntax highlighting