Twig templating in Clojure. A wrapper for Jtwig (
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Twig templates in Clojure, provided by Jtwig. clj-jtwig is a simple Clojure wrapper around Jtwig to make using it in Clojure applications simple. It also provides some extra functions on top of the standard library that Jtwig provides. As well, it adds a simple template caching layer that works out-of-the-box when rendering templates from files.

For more information on Twig templates, you can refer to the Twig documentation and the Jtwig documentation. Please note that Jtwig is not yet a full implementation of Twig, so some things you see on the Twig documentation might not yet be available in Jtwig, and as a result, not available in clj-jtwig.


WARNING: This library is still in early development. May not be ready for production use!


See Clojars for the up to date project.clj dependency line

Java 6

Jtwig targets Java 7 so you can't use it on Java 6. If you are deploying applications into a Java 6 environment and want to still use clj-jtwig, you can use the version maintained in this branch. It makes use of an otherwise vanilla Jtwig library that has been very slightly modified so that it compiles for Java 6. No other changes have been made and this fork is only being maintained by me purely for use with clj-jtwig. It is not supported by the Jtwig developers.

See Clojars for the up to date project.clj dependency line

Rendering Templates

Getting up and running with clj-jtwig is easy:

(use 'clj-jtwig.core)

(render "Hello {{name}}!" {:name "Gered"})   ; returns "Hello Gered!

You can also render templates from files:

(render-file "/Users/gered/say-hello.twig" {:name "Gered"})

; 'say-hello.twig' in this case would be located at '[your-app]/resources/say-hello.twig'
(render-resource "say-hello.twig" {:name "Gered"})

As we can see above, there are 3 main template rendering functions, render, render-file and render-resource. render-resource is probably what you will use most often. The file path you provide to this function is relative to the classpath, and so is ideal for rendering templates bundled with your application.

All three "render" functions take a second parameter which is a map that contains the values to pass to the template which can then be referred to in the template by name. This map is also referred to as the "model map."

Nested variables can be referred to using "dot" syntax like in Java:

(render "Hello {{}}!" {:person {:name "Gered"}})   ; returns "Hello Gered!

You can only use "dot" syntax like in the above example when your variable names do not include any special characters in them. For Clojure programmers, this also includes the use of hyphens in variable names. To get around this you can use "subscript" syntax instead:

(render "Hello {{person['first-name']}}!" {:person {:first-name "Gered"}})   ; returns "Hello Gered!

If your root-level variables in the model map contain special characters, you can still access them by using the same "subscript" syntax off of the automatically added model variable that is passed to all templates:

(render "Hello {{model['first-name']}}!" {:first-name "Gered"})   ; returns "Hello Gered!

Web Apps

For web apps built on Ring and Compojure, you can do something like:

(ns yourwebapp.views
  (:require [clj-jtwig.core :refer [render-resource]]
            [ring.util.response :refer [content-type response]]
            [compojure.response :refer [Renderable]]))

(deftype JtwigRenderable [template-filename params]
  (render [this request]
    (-> (render-resource template-filename params)
        (content-type "text/html; charset=utf-8"))))

; params is an optional map that will get passed to clj-jtwig.core/render-resource. this is will
; need to contain any variables you want to use in 'template-filename'
(defn render [template-filename & [params]]
  (JtwigRenderable. template-filename params))

And then in your routes:

(ns yourwebapp.routes
  (:use compojure.core)
  (:require [yourwebapp.views :refer [render]]))

(defn home-page []
  ; in this case, 'home.html' would be located at '[yourwebapp]/resources/views/home.html'
  (render "views/home.html" {:name "Gered"}))

(defroutes yourwebapp-routes
  (GET "/" [] (home-page)))

You will also probably want to add clj-jtwig.web.middleware/wrap-servlet-context-path to your Ring middleware so that template functions such as path, javascript and stylesheet can automatically prepend the servlet context path to urls you provide to your web app's resources.

If you need to output the servlet context path in one of your templates (e.g. for use with Javascript code that performs AJAX requests), then you can either update the render function example provided above to assoc the value of clj-jtwig.web.middleware/*servlet-context-path* to the params map. Then you can refer to this value in your templates the same way as any other value you pass in. Or you can do something like this in one of your templates:

<script type="text/javascript">
  var context = "{{ path('/') }}";

Which will make a global variable context available to your Javascript code which will have the value of the servlet context path.


Adding custom functions is easy:

(use 'clj-jtwig.functions)

(deftwigfn "sayHello" [name]
  (str "Hello " name "!"))

Then your functions can be used in your templates:

(render "{{ sayHello(name) }}" {:name "Gered"})         ; "Hello Gered!"

; or you can call it using the 'pipe' (filter) syntax
(render "{{ name|sayHello }}" {:name "Gered"})          ; "Hello Gered!"

; you can also nest functions and/or chain filters together
(render "{{ name|upper|sayHello }}" {:name "Gered"})    ; "Hello GERED!"
(render "{{ sayHello(upper(name)) }}" {:name "Gered"})  ; "Hello GERED!"

For convenience, you can also define one or more aliases for functions:

(defaliasedtwigfn "sayHello" [name]
  (str "Hello " name "!"))
(render "{{ sayHello(name) }}" {:name "Gered"})         ; "Hello Gered!"
(render "{{ sayHi(name) }}" {:name "Gered"})            ; "Hello Gered!"

The deftwigfn and defaliasedtwigfn are macros that call clj-jtwig.functions/add-function! under the hood. If you prefer, that function can be used directly. Those macros are simply a convenience so you can write template functions in a 'defn'-style syntax.

Standard Library Functions

A number of functions are provided out of the box by Jtwig. A few more are provided by clj-jtwig to fill in some gaps. The following is a list of all the functions available with clj-jtwig.

Function Description
abs abs(number)
Returns the absolute value of a number.
batch batch(items, batch_size)
batch(items, batch_size, filler_item)
"Batches" items by returning a list of lists with the given number of items. If you provide a second parameter, it is used to fill missing items.
blank_if_null blank_if_null(value)
If the value given is null, returns a blank string instead of "null".
butlast butlast(collection)
butlast(values, ...)
Returns all items except for the last one from a collection, series of values, or a string. If a string is passed, it will be treated as a collection of chars.
capitalize capitalize(string)
Capitalizes a value. The first character will be uppercase, all others lowercase.
center center(string, max_width)
center(string, max_width, padding_string)
Pads a string with whitespace on the left and right as necessary to 'center' the given value. If the padding_string argument is provided, that string will be used to pad instead of whitespace.
concat concat(values, ...)
Concatenates any number of values together as strings.
contains contains(map, key)
contains(collection, value)
contains(string, substring)
If a map is specified, checks if it contains the given key. If a collection or string is specified, checks if the value/substring is present. Returns true if found.
convert_encoding convert_encoding(string, output_charset, input_charset)
Converts a string from one encoding to another. The first argument is the expected output charset and the second one is the input charset.
date_format date_format(date)
date_format(date, format)
Formats a date to a given format. The format specifier is the same as supported by SimpleDateFormat. If the format argument is not specified, the format used will be yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss. The date argument should be an instance of java.util.Date.
date_modify date_modify(date, modifier)
Modifies a date with a given modifier string. The modifier string can be things like "+1 day" or "+30 minutes". Recognized modifiers are 'seconds', 'minutes', 'hours', 'days', 'months' or 'years'. The date argument should be an instance of java.util.Date. A new instance of java.util.Date is returned.
default default(value, default_value)
Returns the passed default value if the value is undefined or empty, otherwise the value of the variable.
dump dump(value)
Uses clojure.pprint/pprint to dump the entire value of a variable to a string and returns that string.
dump_table dump_table(collection_of_maps)
Uses clojure.pprint/print-table to dump the entire value of a collection of maps to a string and returns that string.
escape escape(string)
escape(string, strategy)
Escapes a string for safe insertion into the final output. The optional strategy parameter specifies the escape strategy: 'html' (default), 'js' or 'xml'.
first first(collection)
first(values, ...)
Returns the first "element" of a collection, series of values, or a string (in which case the first character is returned).
format format(format_string, values, ...)
Formats a given string by replacing the placeholders (placeholders follow the String.format notation). The values provided will be used in order for each placeholder in the string.
index_of index_of(collection, value)
index_of(string, substring)
Returns the first index of a value in a collection or the start of a substring in a string. Returns -1 if not found.
javascript javascript(url)
Returns a <script> tag for a Javascript source file. The Javascript source file's modification timestamp will be appended to the URL if the url given is a relative one to help avoid browser caching issues.
join join(sequence)
join(sequence, separator)
Returns a string which is the concatenation of the items of a sequence. The separator argument specifies a string to use to place in between each joined item. If not specified, a blank string is used as the separator.
json_encode json_encode(string)
Returns the JSON representation of the given value.
keys keys(map)
Returns the keys of a map as a collection. It is useful when you want to iterate over the keys of a map.
last last(collection)
last(values, ...)
Returns the last "element" of a collection, series of values, or a string (in which case, the last character is returned).
last_index_of last_index_of(collection, value)
last_index_of(string, substring)
Returns the last index of a value in a collection or the start of a substring in a string. Returns -1 if not found.
length length(collection)
length(values, ...)
Returns the number of items in a collection, series of values, or the length of a string.
lower lower(string)
Converts a string to lowercase.
max max(collection)
max(values, ...)
Returns the biggest value in a collection or a set of values.
merge merge(first_collection, second_collection)
Merges a collection with another collection.
min min(collection)
min(values, ...)
Returns the lowest value in a collection or a set of values.
nl2br nl2br(string)
Inserts HTML line breaks before all newlines in a string
normalize_space normalize_space(string)
Trims leading and trailing whitespace and replaces all remaining whitespace with a single space.
nth nth(collection, index)
nth(collection, index, value_if_not_found)
Returns a value from a list corresponding with the index specified. If the value_if_not_found argument is not specified and the index provided is out of bounds, an exception will be thrown.
number_format number_format(number)
number_format(number, num_decimals)
number_format(number, num_decimals, decimal_point_char)
number_format(number, num_decimals, decimal_point_char, thousand_sep_char)
Formats numbers. You can control the number of decimal places, decimal point, and thousands separator using the arguments. The default values for the second, third and fourth values are '0', '.' and ',', respectively.
path path(url)
Returns a path with the current servlet context prepended. Requires the use of the clj-jtwig.web.middleware/wrap-servlet-context-path Ring middleware to work properly.
pad_left pad_left(string, max_width)
pad_left(string, max_width, padding_string)
Pads a string with leading whitespace as necessary until the string and whitespace combined are max_width characters in length. If the padding_string argument is specified, it will be used to pad the string instead of whitespace.
pad_right pad_right(string, max_width)
pad_right(string, max_width, padding_string)
Pads a string with trailing whitespace as necessary until the string and whitespace combined are max_width characters in length. If the padding_string argument is specified, it will be used to pad the string instead of whitespace.
random random(collection)
random(values, ...)
Returns a random item from a collection or set of values. If an single number argument is provided, returns a random number from 0 to the number specified. If a string is specified, a random character from that string is returned.
range range(low, high)
range(low, high, step)
Returns a list containing an arithmetic progression of integers. The step argument specifies how to count from low to high, which by default is 1.
repeat repeat(string, count)
Returns a string with the given string repeated count times.
replace replace(string, placeholder_and_replacements_map)
Formats a given string by replacing the placeholders (placeholders are free-form).
rest rest(collection)
rest(values, ...)
Returns all the items except for the first one from a collection, series of values, or a string. If a string is passed, it will be treated as a collection of chars.
reverse reverse(collection)
reverse(values, ...)
Reverses the items in a collection, series of values, or a string.
round round(number)
round(number, rounding_method)
Rounds a number to using the rounding method specified. Allowed rounding methods are 'common', 'ceil' and 'floor' with the default being 'common'.
second second(collection)
second(values, ...)
Returns the second item of a collection, series of values, or a string.
slice slice(collection, start, length)
slice(string, start, length)
Extracts a slice of a collection, or a string where the 2 last arguments specify the start and end indices respectively.
sort sort(collection)
sort(values, ...)
Sorts a collection or a set of values in ascending order. Note that this differs in behaviour from Jtwig 2.2.0 in that the sorted collection returned from this is a new collection. The input collection is not modified at all by this function.
sort_descending sort_descending(collection)
sort_descending(values, ...)
Sorts a collection or a set of values in descending order.
sort_by sort_by(collection_of_maps, sort_key)
Sorts a collection of maps in ascending order. The second argument specifies the key who's value in each map is to be used for sorting comparisons.
sort_descending_by sort_descending_by(collection_of_maps, sort_key)
Sorts a collection of maps in descending order. The second argument specifies the key who's value in each map is to be used for sorting comparisons.
split split(string, delimiter)
Splits a string by the given delimiter and returns a list of strings.
striptags striptags(string)
Strips HTML/XML tags and replaces adjacent whitespace with one space.
stylesheet stylesheet(url)
stylesheet(url, media)
Returns a <link> tag for a CSS stylesheet with an optional 'media' attribute value. The CSS file's modification timestamp will be appended to the URL if the url given is a relative one to help avoid browser caching issues.
title title(string)
Returns a titlecased version of the value. Words will start with uppercase letters, all remaining characters are lowercase.
to_double to_double(string)
Converts the string to a double value.
to_float to_float(string)
Converts the string to a float value.
to_int to_int(string)
Converts the string to an integer value.
to_keyword to_keyword(string)
Converts the string to a Clojure keyword.
to_long to_long(string)
Converts the string to a long value.
to_string to_string(value)
Converts the value to a string representation. This walks over all values in a collection, causing lazy sequences to be fully evaluated.
trim trim(string)
Strips whitespace (or other characters) from the beginning and end of a string.
upper upper(string)
Converts a value to uppercase.
url_encode url_encode(string)
Percent encodes a given string as a URL segment or a map of key/values as a query string (e.g. in a key=value&key=value ... format).
wrap wrap(string, max_width)
wrap(string, max_width, wrap_long_words)
wrap(string, max_width, wrap_long_words, new_line_string)
Wraps the given text to the maximum width specified. If wrap_long_words is true, then long words/text such as URLs will also be cut and wrapped as necessary. new_line_string can be specified to use a different character/string as the new line separator (by default it will be the system new line character(s)).


clj-jtwig has a few global options that affect template parsing and rendering behaviour. You can adjust the options by calling clj-jtwig.core/set-options! and passing in only the keys/values you want to change.


Default is ON.

Whether or not to cache compiled templates. Caching is discussed in the next section.


Default is OFF.

Whether or not to continue checking file modification times each time a template file is rendered after the first time it is compiled and cached. This option can be turned on to avoid extra file I/O (which is likely to be very minor anyway), but it means that after templates are first cached, any subsequent updates to the template files will not trigger the cached copy to be updated. If caching is disabled, this option is ignored.


Default is ON.

If turned on, the stylesheet and javascript template functions will automatically check for an equivalent similarly named .css/.js file with a .min.css/.min.js file extension and if found, render a link/script html tag with that filename instead. This option is intended to be turned off during development and only turned on in production builds to help simplify automatic switching between minified and development copies of css/js resources.


Default is ON.

If turned on, the model map passed to any of the "render" functions will have any keyword keys converted to strings. As well, custom template function parameters and return values that are maps containing keyword keys will also have their keys converted to strings and vice-versa as necessary. This is an "all or nothing" type of option, so you should probably turn this off if the maps you need to pass to templates will need to contain a mix of keyword and string keys. This option is intended to make writing more idiomatic Clojure code against clj-jtwig easier to do given that Jtwig is a Java library that has no concept of Clojure keywords. This option is discussed in more detail below.


Jtwig provides support for compiling templates so that subsequent renders can be performed faster. clj-jtwig builds on this support by providing a very simple caching mechanism when rendering templates from files. Template files are compiled the first time they are rendered and then the compiled result cached. From then on, each time that same template file is rendered, the source file on disk is checked to see if it has been modified since it was last cached. If it has been we re-load, compile and cache it before rendering it again. As long as the file has not been modified the previously compiled result is re-used.

Caching is turned on by default, but can be turned off if necessary via the :cache-compiled-templates option.

An important thing to be aware of when using templates that extend others, or include others is that only the template who's filename is passed to one of the render functions is checked to see if it has been updated. If your templates include other template files but those included files are never directly rendered themselves, then they will not get recompiled and cached unless the parent template is updated as well. This can be a problem during development of an application, so you may want to turn caching off during development.

Jtwig is a Java library. What does that mean for Clojure?

Jtwig is written in Java. Model maps in Jtwig are represented by a HashMap<String, Object> as can be seen here. Right away, this has an important implication for idiomatic Clojure code: Keywords are typically used as the keys for maps, and obviously you can't directly add a clojure.lang.Keyword as the key to a HashMap<String, Object>. Just calling .toString isn't good enough here either.

There are two immediate options to get around this problem:

  • Automatically convert the keys in all maps passed to Jtwig to use strings instead of keywords. And then do this again when map values are passed by Jtwig to custom template functions and then back again when map values are returned from custom template functions. We use the Clojure name and keyword functions for this to/back conversion.
  • Do nothing and force the application to use strings for all map keys.

There are pros and cons to each approach. Unfortunately there is no 100% perfect solution.

Out of the box, clj-jtwig is configured for the first approach, but that comes with certain assumptions about the maps that you will be using with Jtwig. Specifically, if your application uses maps that contain a mix of key types (both keywords and strings), then the automatic conversions will likely cause problems for you. You can toggle this automatic conversion on/off via the :auto-convert-map-keywords option.

To demonstrate the problem:

(use 'clj-jtwig.core)

(set-options! :auto-convert-map-keywords false)

(render "Hello {{name}}!" {:name "Gered"})                      ; throws a ClassCastException
(render "Hello {{name}}!" {"name" "Gered"})                     ; "Hello Gered!"
(render "Hello {{}}!" {"person" {:name "Gered"}})    ; "Hello null!"

; this is the default setting
(set-options! :auto-convert-map-keywords true)

(render "Hello {{name}}!" {:name "Gered"})                      ; "Hello Gered!"
(render "Hello {{name}}!" {"name" "Gered"})                     ; "Hello Gered!"
(render "Hello {{}}!" {"person" {:name "Gered"}})    ; "Hello Gered!"

This same type of problem also applies to variables passed to custom template functions. A trivial example:

(use 'clj-jtwig.core)
(use 'clj-jtwig.functions)

(deftwigfn "get_map" [name]
  {:name name})

(set-options! :auto-convert-map-keywords false)

(render "Hello {{get_map(name).name}}!" {"name" "Gered"})       ; "Hello null!"

; this is the default setting
(set-options! :auto-convert-map-keywords true)

(render "Hello {{get_map(name).name}}!" {:name "Gered"})        ; "Hello Gered!"

The decision was made to have :auto-convert-map-keywords on by default as usually in Clojure code you will be using keywords in all your maps while strings for keys are rarely used (if ever) in a typical Clojure application.

Debugging Tips

You can dump all of the values passed to the template by using the dump function, passing it the automatically added model variable:


For any tabular values, you can also use dump_table to get a nice ASCII table display of each row of data.

Jtwig's error reporting (e.g. in the case of a parser error) is poor right now unfortunately. There's not much that can be done except for making sure you frequently test your templates as you write them. Error reporting is expected to be greatly improved in the next major release.


Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.