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.

v2 has been released. See the changelog for breaking changes.

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 
  __dirname + '/templates',
  __dirname + '/output.js',
  options, // Optional 
  function (errtemplates) { console.log(err || 'Success!') }

So a folder like this


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

var jade = require('jade-runtime') // This is a peerDependency 
var templates = {};
// a function built from the `user.jade` file 
// that takes your data and returns a string. 
templates.user = function () {}
// built from the `app.jade` file 
templates.app = function () {} // the function 
// folders become nested objects so 
// myfolder/nestedTemplate.jade becomes 
templates.myFolder = {};
templates.myfolder.nestedTemplate = function () {} // the template function 
module.exports = templates;

The awesome thing is... they're just functions at this point. Crazy fast, SO MUCH WIN!!!!

templatizer has jade-runtime as a peerDependency. In npm 3.x.x peerDependencies will no longer be installed by default.

When this happens, you'll want to run the following npm install jade-runtime to install it yourself.

Note: the currently published jade-runtime only works with the upcoming jade@2.x.y release. For now templatizer uses an npm publically scoped module that is a copy of the current runtime @lukekarrys/jade-runtime. This will be changed once jade@2.x.y is released.

  function (errtemplates) {}

A string or an array of paths to look for templates.

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

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

Optionally build the compiled templates to a file. The output will be a CommonJS module. If you don't build to a file, you'll want to supply a callback to do something else with the compiled templates.

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.

Set this to true to turn on mixin AST transformations.

Jade has a feature called mixins which when compiled get treated as function declarations within the compiled function. Templatizer can pull these out of the compiled function and place 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.

If the last parameter is a function, it will be treated as a callback. The callback will always have the signature function (err, templates) {}. Use this to respond to errors or to do something else with the source of the compiled templates file.

This can be helpful if you don't want to write the compiled templates directly to a file, and you want to make modifications first.

Both the outputFile string and options object are optional.

// Use just the callback to do something else with your templates 
// besides write them to a file 
templatizer(templatesDir, function (errtemplates) { });
// Build to a file and do something in the callback 
templatizer(templatesDir, outputFile, function (errtemplates) { });
// Use only with options 
templatizer(templatesDir, { /* options */ }, function (errtemplates) { });
// Use with options and outputFile 
templatizer(templatesDir, outputFile, { /* options */ }, function (errtemplates) { });

Simply pass in data objects to make those variables available within the template:

templatizer.Template({ title: ..., description: ...});

Using jade's &attributes(attributes) syntax:

templatizer.Template.call({ attributes:{ class: ..., value: ...}} , data);
templatizer.Template.apply({ attributes:{ class: ..., value: ...}} , [data]);

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 start and going to http://localhost:3003.

  • 2.0.3

  • 2.0.2

  • 2.0.0 Breaking Changes:

    • Async API Pass a callback as the last parameter with the signature function (err, templates) {} to know when compilation is complete.
    • Compiled templates are no longer UMD. The compiled templates are now only a CommonJS module. Global and AMD support have been removed. If you want to consume this file as an AMD module or global, you'll need to do that as part of a build step in your project. Try the require.js conversion tool or amd-wrap for AMD compatibility or creating a standalone build with browserify for global builds.
    • jade-runtime is no longer inlined. jade-runtime is now installed as a peerDependency and required from the compiled templates file.
    • namespace options have been removed. Since the compiled templates no longer have the option to attach to a global variable, the namespace options are no longer relevant.
    • Mixin transformation is now off by default. Mixin transformation can be turned back on by using the option transformMixins: true. Also, the dynamic mixin compiler is no automatically turned on if opting-in to mixin transformation.


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