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Why Dust? Why another templating engine when there are so many alternatives? Dust is based on the philosophy that an ideal templating environment should be:

  • Markup-like: A templating syntax should not encompass operations that are better left to a programming language. Templates should make it easy to format content for presentation while keeping application logic where it belongs: in the application.
  • Asynchronous: Template helpers should be callable asynchronously and in parallel so that expensive operations (caching, deferred loading, filtering) can run as the template is being rendered.
  • Streaming: Templates should allow (but not require) data to be flushed to the output in user-defined chunks.
  • Browser and server compatible: Templates should render in both server and browser environments without hacks or extensive configuration.
  • Storage agnostic: The templating engine should not impose a particular loading scheme. Developers should be free to load templates via the filesystem, a database or an army of carrier pigeons.
  • Composable: Designers should be able to break presentation markup into manageable components and combine these components at runtime. It should not be necessary to statically link templates or manually assemble 'layouts' inside application code.
  • Format agnostic: While HTML generation and DOM manipulation are useful in specific instances, a general-purpose template system should not be tied to a particular output format.
  • Precise: The parser should be accurate enough that designers rarely have to use escape sequences to achieve the desired result. Similarly, templates shouldn't mysteriously generate or eliminate whitespace.
  • Safe(r): At the very least, the engine should be configurable such that it is reasonably safe to render untrusted templates in a server environment.
  • Fast: Server-side templates cannot always be cached. Browser-side templates may be rendered on devices with limited system resources. A template engine should be fast enough to render in real time without bottlenecking its environment.

If this list leaves you nodding your head in agreement you should give Dust a try.

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