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This is the documentation for the Jinja2 general purpose templating language. Jinja2 is a library for Python 2.4 and onwards that is designed to be flexible, fast and secure.

If you have any exposure to other text-based template languages, such as Smarty or Django, you should feel right at home with Jinja2. It's both designer and developer friendly by sticking to Python's principles and adding functionality useful for templating environments.

The key-features are...

  • ... configurable syntax. If you are generating LaTeX or other formats with Jinja2 you can change the delimiters to something that integrates better into the LaTeX markup.
  • ... fast. While performance is not the primarily target of Jinja2 it's surprisingly fast. The overhead compared to regular Python code was reduced to the very minimum.
  • ... easy to debug. Jinja2 integrates directly into the python traceback system which allows you to debug Jinja2 templates with regular python debugging helpers.
  • ... secure. It's possible to evaluate untrusted template code if the optional sandbox is enabled. This allows Jinja2 to be used as templating language for applications where users may modify the template design.


Jinja2 needs at least Python 2.4 to run. Additionally a working C-compiler that can create python extensions should be installed for the debugger. If no C-compiler is available and you are using Python 2.4 the ctypes module should be installed.

If you don't have a working C compiler and you are trying to install the source release with the speedups you will get a compiler error. This however can be circumvented by passing the --without-speedups command line argument to the setup script:

$ python install --with-speedups

(As of Jinja 2.2, the speedups are disabled by default and can be enabled with --with-speedups. See :ref:`enable-speedups`)


You have multiple ways to install Jinja2. If you are unsure what to do, go with the Python egg or tarball.

As a Python egg (via easy_install)

You can install the most recent Jinja2 version using easy_install or pip:

easy_install Jinja2
pip install Jinja2

This will install a Jinja2 egg in your Python installation's site-packages directory.

(If you are installing from the windows command line omit the sudo and make sure to run the command as user with administrator rights)

From the tarball release

  1. Download the most recent tarball from the download page
  2. Unpack the tarball
  3. sudo python install

Note that the last command will automatically download and install setuptools if you don't already have it installed. This requires a working internet connection.

This will install Jinja2 into your Python installation's site-packages directory.

Installing the development version

  1. Install mercurial
  2. hg clone jinja2
  3. cd jinja2
  4. ln -s jinja2 /usr/lib/python2.X/site-packages

As an alternative to steps 4 you can also do python develop which will install the package via setuptools in development mode. This also has the advantage that the C extensions are compiled.

Alternative you can use easy_install to install the current development snapshot:

sudo easy_install Jinja2==dev

Or the new pip command:

sudo pip install Jinja2==dev

Enaable the speedups Module

By default Jinja2 will not compile the speedups module. Enabling this will fail if you don't have the Python headers or a working compiler. This is often the case if you are installing Jinja2 from a windows machine.

You can enable the speedups extension when installing using the --with-speedups flag:

sudo python install --with-speedups

You can also pass this parameter to pip:

$ pip install --install-option='--with-speedups' Jinja2

Basic API Usage

This section gives you a brief introduction to the Python API for Jinja2 templates.

The most basic way to create a template and render it is through :class:`~jinja2.Template`. This however is not the recommended way to work with it if your templates are not loaded from strings but the file system or another data source:

>>> from jinja2 import Template
>>> template = Template('Hello {{ name }}!')
>>> template.render(name='John Doe')
u'Hello John Doe!'

By creating an instance of :class:`~jinja2.Template` you get back a new template object that provides a method called :meth:`~jinja2.Template.render` which when called with a dict or keyword arguments expands the template. The dict or keywords arguments passed to the template are the so-called "context" of the template.

What you can see here is that Jinja2 is using unicode internally and the return value is an unicode string. So make sure that your application is indeed using unicode internally.

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