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StupidLittleTemplate is a really dumb templating "system" currently clocking in under 20 lines. It has no dependencies and is probably horribly dangerous to use under any circumstances.


require 'stupid_little_template'
include StupidLittleTemplate

# sltmpl takes a template string and "compiles" it into a Proc. The second
# parameter must be a Binding object.
tmpl = sltmpl 'I like to eat :food in :city.', binding

food = 'pizza'
city = 'Chicago'

# Call yield on the Proc and the resulting text is returned.
tmpl.yield  # => I like to eat pizza in Chicago.

# Change variables in the local scope...
food = 'spaghetti'
city = 'Rome'

# ...and call yield again and the new values come out in the text.
tmpl.yield  # => I like to eat spaghetti in Rome.

Yep, it plucks variables right out of the local scope. You can do it with all kinds of variables:

Constant    = 'My'
$global_var = 'name'

class Klass
  include StupidLittleTemplate

  @instance_var = 'is'
  @@class_var   = 'StupidLittleTemplate'

  def foo
    sltmpl ':Constant :$global_var :@instance_var :@@class_var', binding

k = # => My name is StupidLittleTemplate

Hilariously reckless!

You can do some interesting(ish) things with binding, though:

class Klass
  def initialize name, age
    @name = name
    @age  = age

  def my_binding

k = 'Alice', 29

sltmpl("My name is :@name and I'm :@age years old.", k.my_binding).yield
# => My name is Alice and I'm 29 years old.


  • Q: Can you do anything neat with logic in the templates?

    A: Nope.

  • Q: Is this just a stupid toy?

    A: Yep.

  • Q: What happens if I do this:

    stupid = sltmpl ':fooquux:bar', binding
    foo = 'FOO'; bar = 'BAR'

    A: You get :fooquuxBAR. There's a failing test for this.

  • Q: Can I pass in a Hash of values instead of exposing all the locals?

    A: If it could do that I might not have named it StupidLittleTemplate. If you really want, though:

    class Hash
      def my_binding; binding; end
      def method_missing meth, *args
        self[meth] || super
      def respond_to? meth; self[meth] || super; end
    params = { food: 'cheese', city: 'Milwaukee' }
    sltmpl 'I eat :food in :city.', params.my_binding
    # => I eat cheese in Milwaukee.
    But that's just ridiculous.


The regular expression for extracting template variables is adapted from this StackOverflow answer by rjk.