Simple solution for compiling jade templates into vanilla JS functions for blazin' fast client-side use.


Simple solution for compiling jade templates into vanilla JS functions for blazin' fast client-side use.

Client-side templating is overly complicated, ultimately what you actually want is a function you can call from your JS that puts your data in a template. Why should I have to send a bunch of strings with Mustaches {{}} or other silly stuff for the client to parse? Ultimately, all I want is a function that I can call with some variable to render the string I want.

So, the question is, what's a sane way to get to that point? Enter jade. Simple, intuitive templating, and happens to be what I use on the server anyway. So... Jade has some awesome stuff for compiling templates into functions. I just built templatizer to make it easy to turn a folder full of jade templates into a CommonJS module that exports all the template functions by whatever their file name.

From my tests it's 6 to 10 times faster than mustache.js with ICanHaz.

  1. npm install templatizer
  2. Write all your templates as individual jade files in a folder in your project.
  3. Somewhere in your build process do this:
var templatizer = require('templatizer');
// pass in the template directory and what you want to 
// save the output file as. That's it! 
templatizer(__dirname + '/templates', __dirname + '/demo_output.js', options);

So a folder like this


Compiles down to a JS file that looks something like this:

// here's about 1.6k worth of utils that jade uses to DRY up the template code a bit. 
// Includes some basic shims for Object.keys, etc. 
var jade=function(exports){ ... }
// a function built from the `user.jade` file 
// that takes your data and returns a string. 
exports.user = function () {}
// built from the `app.jade` file 
exports.app = function () {} // the function 
// folders become nested objects so 
// myfolder/nestedTemplate.jade becomes 
exports.myfolder.nestedTemplate = function () {} // the template function 
// etc. etc 

The awesome thing is... there are no external dependencies because they're just functions at this point. Crazy fast, SO MUCH WIN!!!!

The directory path can also be a glob instead that can be used to match *.jade files across multiple directories. For example:

templatizer(__dirname + '/app/**/*.jade', __dirname + '/templates.js');

The third parameter passed to templatizer is an options object.

If you are using templatizer as a global in the browser (without requirejs, browserify, or something similar) by default your templates will be available at window.templatizer. Using namespace you can attach it to a different global object or rename the property it attaches to.

This is the name of the object where you want to attach your templates.

If this option is true and namespace.parent does not exist, it will be created. By default if namespace.parent does not exist, templatizer will throw an error like this: templatizer: window.app does not exist or is not an object.

This is the name of the property on namespace.parent where your templates will be attached.

If all you want is to attach the templatizer object to an already created global variable, then you can just make namespace the name of the object where it will attach:

templatizer(templatesDir, 'templates.js', {
    namespace: 'app'
<script>var app = {};</script> 
<script src="templates.js"></script>
  // Templates will be available on app.templatizer 
  document.body.innerHTML = app.templatizer.body();

By default jade will not compile any mixins which aren't being called from the file they were created in. This is usually a very good thing, since keeps file sizes down. But in some cases (especially when using the mixin support functionality), you may want to create mixins and call them from other places in your code or other files. Setting this option to true will keep all mixins in the compiled source.

By default the jade runtime will be included into the generated template javascript file. In order minimize the file size you can set this parameter to false. Instead a jade module is expected as amdDependency parameter. Otherwise an error will be thrown.

An array of AMD module dependencies you want to pass in to the generated templates javascript file.

jade is an object which will be passed directly to jade.compile(). See the Jade API documentation for what options are available.

Here's an example where we set the Jade compileDebug option to true.

templatizer(templatesDir, outputFile, {
    // Options 
    jade: {
        compileDebug: true

globOptions will be passed directly to node-glob. See the API docs for available options.

Jade has a feature called mixins which when compiled get treated as function declarations within the compiled function. Templatizer pulls these out of the compiled function and places them on the namespace of the parent function. For example:

// users.jade
    each user in users
        mixin user(user)
mixin user(user)
    // Jade mixin content

Templatizer will compile this as

// Compiled fn from file 
exports.users = function () {}
// Compiled mixin fn 
exports.users.user = function (user) {}

This is helpful as it allows you to call users() to create your list and then users.user() to render just a single item in the list.

Templatizer comes with a bin script to use from makefiles/package.json scripts/etc, it works like this:

$ templatizer -d path/to/templates -o /path/to/output/templates.js

Run npm test to run the tests (you'll need phantomjs installed). You can also run the tests in your browser with npm run browser-test and going to http://localhost:3003.

  • v0.2.9 diff - Adding path normalize to avoid issues if passing in paths like /thing/../otherfolder.


If you think this is cool, you should follow me on twitter: @HenrikJoreteg