A logicless streaming templating system and language for Node.js
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Talisman is a logicless streaming templating system and language for Node.js, created by Digital Design Labs.


npm install talismanjs --save

Streams FTW

Streams are awesome, and so Talisman is built to be used as a streaming template system. This means Talisman renders templates to a stream, which you can then pipe to a writable stream, like process.stdout or http.ServerResponse.

Why Streaming?

Templating systems will often wait to compute last byte of a page before sending the first one. This manifests for users as a blank white screen, while they wait for our application to query the database and perform other required IO, before generating HTML for the page.

By contrast, Talisman sends as much data as it can as soon as it can; so the user gets something up on their screen quickly. This improves the perceived performance of your application, and also means their browser can start fetching external resources sooner. This reduces overall page load time, as JavaScript, CSS, and images can be downloaded on the client in parallel with the database work being done on the server.


Talisman uses a simple syntax, based around two concepts: blocks and variables.


Talisman allows you to define variable placeholders which will be later populated with data. They are enclosed by {{double}} {{curly}} {{braces}}. Variables can be strings, streams, Buffers, or Promises for any of these.

// This will output:
// Hello World!
const view = await talisman.createFromString("Hello {{name}}!");
view.set({name: "World"}).toStream().pipe(process.stdout);

Variables are automatically HTML escaped before they are displayed. You can request a variable be displayed raw by using a triple-brace instead of a double-brace, e.g. {{{varName}}}.

// This will output:
// Your name is <strong>World</strong>.
// The markup was &lt;strong>World&lt;/strong>.
const view = await talisman.createFromString("Your name is {{{name}}}.\nThe markup was {{name}}.");
view.set({name: "<strong>World</strong>"}).toStream().pipe(process.stdout);


A block defines a section of template text. Blocks can used as loops (by assigning iterators to them); as condtionals (by removing them when some condition is met) or simply as a way of defining a scope. A block is inherently none of these; its behaviour depends on how you treat it. Like HTML, blocks may nest, but may not overlap.

// This will output:
// <h1>Shopping List<h1>
// <ul>
// <li>Celery</li>
// <li>Apples</li>
// <li>Walnuts</li>
// <li>Grapes</li>
// </ul>
const template = "<h1>Shopping List</h1>\n<ul>\n"
    + "{#row}<li>{{item}}</li>\n{/row}"
    + "{#norows}<li>I think we're just out of waldorfs...</li>\n{/norows}"
    + "</ul>";

const data = [
    {item: "Celery"},
    {item: "Apples"},
    {item: "Walnuts"},
    {item: "Grapes"}

const view = await talisman.createFromString(template);

if (data.length > 0) {
    view.remove("norows").setIterator(data, "row");
} else {


Other Markers

There are two other markers supported, though you are unlikely to need to use them.

  • {/* */} defines a comment. Anything placed between these markers will be removed by Talisman during rendering.
  • {{CDATA[ ]}} defines a block of non-template text. Anything between the square brackets will be ignored by Talisman, and rendered as-is.


Variables can have masks applied to them. Masks are small synchronous functions which transform the content in some way during rendering.

// This will output:
// <h1>Price List<h1>
// <ul>
// <li>Celery: $1.00</li>
// <li>Apples: $1.50</li>
// <li>Walnuts: $1.25</li>
// <li>Grapes: $0.75</li>
// </ul>
const template = "<h1>Price List</h1>\n<ul>\n"
    + "{#row}<li>{{item}}: {{price|format}}</li>\n{/row}"
    + "</ul>";

const data = [
    {item: "Celery", price: 1},
    {item: "Apples", price: 1.5},
    {item: "Walnuts", price: 1.25},
    {item: "Grapes", price: .75}

const view = await talisman.createFromString(template);
view.addMask("format", n => "$" + n.toFixed(2)).setIterator(data, "row");

Masks may also be chained, e.g. {{name|parseAsMarkdown|lowercase}}

Loading templates from files

In the examples so far, we have used createFromString(), but usually you would load templates files from disk.

const view = await talisman.create("template.html");

You can also load templates into variables on another templates.

<!doctype html>
<!-- main.html -->
<!-- article.html -->
<h2>Posted: {{date|dateFormat}}</h2>
const view = await talisman.create("main.html");

// Second argument tells talisman which variable this content replaces
await view.load("article.html", "content");

view.set({pageTitle: "Talisman is awesome!"})
    .set({date: article.date, bodyContent: article.body}, "content")
    .addMask("dateFormat", dt => new Date(dt).toISOString())
    .addMask("makeParagraphs", text => "<p>" + text.replace(/\n/g, "</p>\n<p>") + "</p>\n")

This would render:

<!doctype html>
<!-- main.html -->
<title>Talisman is awesome!</title>
<!-- article.html -->
<h1>Talisman is awesome!</h1>
<h2>Posted: 2016-06-20T10:23:00.000Z</h2>
<p>My article body</p>
<p>Has multiple lines</p>


Simple Demos

git clone https://github.com/digitaldesignlabs/talisman.git
cd talisman
npm i
npm run demo console

There is also a browser-based demo

npm run demo browser


Published under the MIT License.