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A C# implementation of Message Templates
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An implementation of named string replacements, which allows formatting, parsing, and capturing properties. MessageTemplates is compatible with the Message Templates Standard. The C# implementation was extracted from Serilog.

There is also a F# implementation, see the messagetemplates-fsharp repository.

Build status NuGet


Format a C# Class

class Chair {
    public string Back => "straight";
    public int[] Legs => new[] {1, 2, 3, 4};
    public override string ToString() => "a chair";

    "I sat at Chair { Back: \"straight\", Legs: [1, 2, 3, 4] }",
    MessageTemplate.Format("I sat at {@Chair}", new Chair()));

Message Template Syntax

Message templates are a superset of standard .NET format strings, so any format string acceptable to string.Format() will also be correctly processed by MessageTemplates.

  • Property names are written between { and } brackets
  • Brackets can be escaped by doubling them, e.g. {{ will be rendered as {
  • Formats that use numeric property names, like {0} and {1} exclusively, will be matched with the Format method's parameters by treating the property names as indexes; this is identical to string.Format()'s behaviour
  • If any of the property names are non-numeric, then all property names will be matched from left-to-right with the Format method's parameters
  • Property names may be prefixed with an optional operator, @ or $, to control how the property is serialised
    • The destructuring operator (@) in front of will serialize the object passed in, rather than convert it using ToString().
    • the stringification operator ($) will convert the property value to a string before any other processing takes place, regardless of its type or implemented interfaces.
  • Property names may be suffixed with an optional format, e.g. :000, to control how the property is rendered; these format strings behave exactly as their counterparts within the string.Format() syntax


Install dotnet core sdk 2.1.104 or compatible, and run build.cmd (windows) or (osx/linux).

Rendering JSON data

MessageTemplates can be used for offline rendering of log data. Often this is recorded in JSON format.

The example below shows how to take a message template and a JSON document, and render the template using values from the JSON.

JSON.NET is used for JSON parsing; to install dependencies:

Install-Package Newtonsoft.Json
Install-Package MessageTemplates -Pre

The example program prints the results of rendering the template out to the console:

public class Program
    public static void Main()
        var template = "Hello {Name}; see: {Data}";
        var json = @"{""Name"": ""Alice"", ""Data"": {""Counts"": [1, 2, 3]}}";

        var properties = (JObject) JsonConvert.DeserializeObject(json);

        var parser = new MessageTemplateParser();
        var parsed = parser.Parse(template);

        var templateProperties = new TemplatePropertyValueDictionary(new TemplatePropertyList(
            properties.Properties().Select(p => CreateProperty(p.Name, p.Value)).ToArray()));

        var rendered = parsed.Render(templateProperties);

    static TemplateProperty CreateProperty(string name, JToken value)
        return new TemplateProperty(name, CreatePropertyValue(value));

    static TemplatePropertyValue CreatePropertyValue(JToken value)
        if (value.Type == JTokenType.Null)
            return new ScalarValue(null);

        var obj = value as JObject;
        if (obj != null)
            var properties = obj.Properties()
                .Select(kvp => CreateProperty(kvp.Name, kvp.Value));

            return new StructureValue(properties);

        var arr = value as JArray;
        if (arr != null)
            return new SequenceValue(arr.Select(CreatePropertyValue));

        return new ScalarValue(value.Value<object>());
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