Fast HTML templates in Clojure.
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Fast HTML templates in Clojure


A Clojure library for expanding expressive markup templates into efficient code,
drawing on the functional interface and markup syntax of compojure’s html
and the compilation
approach of cl-who.


A simple template:

  [:body [:div#content "Hello World"]])

; expands to:
(let* [html-builder (StringBuilder.)]
(.append html-builder “”content\“>Hello World”)
(.toString html-builder))

;evaluates to:
“”content\“>Hello World”

A template with non-literal values:
<pre> (html [:body [:div#content [:h1.greeting greeting] [:p.message message]]]))

; expands to:
(let* [html-builder (StringBuilder.)]
(.append html-builder “”content\“>”greeting\“>”)
(if-let [content__148 greeting] (.append html-builder content__148))
(.append html-builder “”message\“>”)
(if-let [content__148 message] (.append html-builder content__148))
(.append html-builder “

(.toString html-builder))

; evaluates to (with greeting bound to “Hello” and message to “from clj-html”):
“”content\“> \
”greeting\“>Hello \
”message\">from clj-html



A more involved template:

      [:p.string "foo"]
      [:p.literal 3]
      [:p.expression (str "clj" "-" "html")]
        (domap-str [char '(a b c)]
          (html [:li char]))]]])

; expansion omitted, evaluation as expected.

Details – Core

The primary entry point into the clj-html.core library is the macro html, which expands into code that will render the given template, returning a string. html accepts a vararg list of forms,each of which will be expanded according to the following rules:

Any atom (string, number, etc.) or list (code) will be evaluated as-is. If it logically false then nothing is added to the html, otherwise the result is coerced to a string and added to the html output.

A vector with a keyword as its first element will be treated as markup tag syntax. A tag can use CSS syntax to declare id and/or classes (:div#myid.myclass).

The second element in the vector is an optional literal map of additional attributes to add to the tag ([:link {:rel "stylesheet" :href "style.css"}]). The keys must be literal keywords, though the values can be either literal values or expressions to be computed during evaluation. If the value for a key is logically false, no text is added for that key/value pair. If the value is equal to true then the "attrname=\"attrname\"" convention is used.

The remaining values in the tag vector are considered the inner content of the
tag and are expanded recursively.

If no inner forms are given ([:br]]) then the tag that is created
is self-closing (<br />). Otherwise a wrapping tag is created.

clj-html.core also includes the htmli, accepts very similar arguments to html but operates as an interpreter instead of a compiler. For a discussion of the tradeoffs between these two, see this Gist.

Details – Utils

clj-html.utils provides general helper methods that are useful for a variety of templating tasks, mostly for use with the html macro.

The function map-str is the usual map with a call to (apply str ...) in front. This is useful for rendering a sub-template for each element of a collection:

(defn person-template [person]
    [:div.person {:id (:id person)}
      [ (:name person)]
      [ (:city person)]]))

    (map-str person-template people)])

The macro domap-str is useful for rendering an inline snippet for
each element of a collection. domap-str has semantics like
map-str and a syntax like doseq. Note that since the
html macro does not reach within code, if you need to use the
literal vector syntax within a domap-str body you will need to use
html again.

    (domap-str [person people]
      (html [:div.person {:id (:uid person)}
              [ (:name person)]
              [ (:city person)]]))])

Also included are several methods of the form *-html*. These are designed to reduce the need for eg:

    (when urgent 
        [:h3 "Urgent!"]))])

; with when-html becomes
(when-html urgent
[:h3 “Urgent!”])])

Currently we have if-html, when-html, when-let-html, and for-html.

Finally, you can use defhtml to define methods that are html templates without needing to include the outer html manually:

(defhtml message [text]
    [:p.text text]])


Include recent versions of Clojure and Clojure Contrib in your classpath.

The test suite uses clj-unit, though you won’t need to use the library in general.

Copyright 2009 Mark McGranaghan and released under an MIT license.