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In this article we’re going to give an overview of templating in JavaScript. We’ll first discuss what JavaScript templates are, when we should use them and how we implement them, before going into a bit more detail regarding some of the popular templating engines out there. We’re going to focus on mustache.js, Handlebars.js and jQuery Template.

What Are JavaScript Templates?

JavaScript templates are a method of separating HTML structure from the content contained within. Templating systems generally introduce some new syntax but are usually very simple to work with, especially if we’ve used templating systems elsewhere previously (eg. Twig in PHP). A fun point to note is that token replacement is usually symbolized by double curly brackets ({{ ... }}), which Mustache and Handlebars derive their names from (hint: turn them sideways to see the similarity).

When Should We Use JavaScript Templates?


As soon as we find ourselves including HTML inside JavaScript strings we should be starting to think about what benefits JavaScript templates could give us. Separation of concerns is of utmost importance when building a maintainable codebase, so anything which can help us achieve this should be explored. In front-end web development this is epitomized when separating HTML from JavaScript (this works both ways in that we shouldn’t include JavaScript inline in HTML).

Some common scenarios which could benefit from JavaScript templates are real-time web apps (for example a live streaming app for event commentary), or internationalization (i18n), which will quite often require that different content is displayed using the same formatting.

How Do We Implement JavaScript Templates?

We’ll go into more detail on this with specific library examples, but essentially it’s as simple as including our chosen library, fetching our template and rendering it alongside some data.

Most libraries support both inline and external templates. Inline templates are great for when we’ve got very few templates or we know that we’ll be using the included templates on each page load, but generally our templates should be external. External templates bring many benefits, chiefly that templates will never be downloaded to the client unless they are needed by the page.


Mustache is a multi-language, logic-less templating system. The mustache.js implementation is just one of many. So once we’re used to the (very simple) syntax, we can use it in a variety of programming languages.

Key Points

  • 9kb file size (small)
  • Simple
  • No dependencies
  • No logic
  • No precompiled templates
  • Programming language agnostic


<script id="template" type="x-tmpl-mustache">
  <p>Use the <strong>{{power}}</strong>, {{name}}!</p>

//Grab the inline template
var template = document.getElementById('template').innerHTML;

//Parse it (optional, only necessary if template is to be used again)

//Render the data into the template
var rendered = Mustache.render(template, {name: "Luke", power: "force"});

//Overwrite the contents of #target with the rendered HTML
document.getElementById('target').innerHTML = rendered;

See the Pen Mustache.js example by SitePoint (@SitePoint) on CodePen.

As you can see in this example, the Mustache.render function takes two parameters: the Mustache template, as well as a view object that contains the data and code needed to render the template. In this case we are replacing name and a power variables with simple strings, but it’s possible to do much more. For example loop over an array, or make use of a special rendering function that uses the current view as its view argument.

Continue reading %An Overview of JavaScript Templating Engines%

Source: SitePoint