Bluish Coder

Programming Languages, Martials Arts and Computers. The Weblog of Chris Double.


2006-06-20

HTML Template Languages

There's a discussion going on in the Erlang mailing list about HTML template engines. This is JSP-style definition of HTML pages with portions replaced dynamically with data from an application.

I've leaned towards building HTML pages in code using Lisp style S-expressions for HTML, or Seaside style building of pages. This is also the approach I took in building the Factor continuation based web server and examples.

For the recent Factor program I built I wanted to use a template engine though. It was a bigger program and it was easier to modify templates and see the change automatically. For that I used an engine that another contributer had provided which allowed embedded Factor code.

The mailing list post pointed to a paper called 'Enforcing Strict Model-View Separation in Template Engines' which describes limiting the power of a template engine to prevent developers from embedding to much application logic in the template page. I was dubious but the paper is quite convincing.

It mentions 'StringTemplate', an engine built on these ideas. I'm still looking for a good way of doing templates in Factor, Erlang, and other languages, so this might be a good source of ideas.

If anyone has pointers to other articles or ideas on the topics please feel free to leave a comment or email me.

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