Mustache in Python
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Pystache is a Python implementation of Mustache. Mustache is a framework-agnostic, logic-free templating system inspired by ctemplate and et. Like ctemplate, Mustache "emphasizes separating logic from presentation: it is impossible to embed application logic in this template language."

The mustache(5) man page provides a good introduction to Mustache's syntax. For a more complete (and more current) description of Mustache's behavior, see the official Mustache spec.

Pystache is semantically versioned and can be found on PyPI. This version of Pystache passes all tests in version 1.1.2 of the spec.

Logo: David Phillips


Pystache is tested with--

  • Python 2.4 (requires simplejson version 2.0.9 or earlier)
  • Python 2.5 (requires simplejson)
  • Python 2.6
  • Python 2.7
  • Python 3.1
  • Python 3.2

JSON support is needed only for the command-line interface and to run the spec tests. We require simplejson for earlier versions of Python since Python's json module was added in Python 2.6.

For Python 2.4 we require an earlier version of simplejson since simplejson stopped officially supporting Python 2.4 in simplejson version 2.1.0. Earlier versions of simplejson can be installed manually, as follows:

pip install 'simplejson<2.1.0'

Install It

pip install pystache

To install and test from source (e.g. from GitHub), see the Develop section.

Use It

>>> import pystache
>>> print pystache.render('Hi {{person}}!', {'person': 'Mom'})
Hi Mom!

You can also create dedicated view classes to hold your view logic.

Here's your view class (in examples/

class SayHello(object):

    def to(self):
        return "Pizza"

Like so:

>>> from pystache.tests.examples.readme import SayHello
>>> hello = SayHello()

Then your template, say_hello.mustache (in the same directory by default as your class definition):

Hello, {{to}}!

Pull it together:

>>> renderer = pystache.Renderer()
>>> print renderer.render(hello)
Hello, Pizza!

For greater control over rendering (e.g. to specify a custom template directory), use the Renderer class directly. One can pass attributes to the class's constructor or set them on an instance. To customize template loading on a per-view basis, subclass TemplateSpec. See the docstrings of the Renderer class and TemplateSpec class for more information.

Python 3

Pystache has supported Python 3 since version 0.5.1. Pystache behaves slightly differently between Python 2 and 3, as follows:

  • In Python 2, the default html-escape function cgi.escape() does not escape single quotes; whereas in Python 3, the default escape function html.escape() does escape single quotes.
  • In both Python 2 and 3, the string and file encodings default to sys.getdefaultencoding(). However, this function can return different values under Python 2 and 3, even when run from the same system. Check your own system for the behavior on your system, or do not rely on the defaults by passing in the encodings explicitly (e.g. to the Renderer class).


This section describes how Pystache handles unicode, strings, and encodings.

Internally, Pystache uses only unicode strings (str in Python 3 and unicode in Python 2). For input, Pystache accepts both unicode strings and byte strings (bytes in Python 3 and str in Python 2). For output, Pystache's template rendering methods return only unicode.

Pystache's Renderer class supports a number of attributes to control how Pystache converts byte strings to unicode on input. These include the file_encoding, string_encoding, and decode_errors attributes.

The file_encoding attribute is the encoding the renderer uses to convert to unicode any files read from the file system. Similarly, string_encoding is the encoding the renderer uses to convert any other byte strings encountered during the rendering process into unicode (e.g. context values that are encoded byte strings).

The decode_errors attribute is what the renderer passes as the errors argument to Python's built-in unicode-decoding function (str() in Python 3 and unicode() in Python 2). The valid values for this argument are strict, ignore, and replace.

Each of these attributes can be set via the Renderer class's constructor using a keyword argument of the same name. See the Renderer class's docstrings for further details. In addition, the file_encoding attribute can be controlled on a per-view basis by subclassing the TemplateSpec class. When not specified explicitly, these attributes default to values set in Pystache's defaults module.


To test from a source distribution (without installing)--


To test Pystache with multiple versions of Python (with a single command!), you can use tox:

pip install tox

If you do not have all Python versions listed in tox.ini--

tox -e py26,py32  # for example

The source distribution tests also include doctests and tests from the Mustache spec. To include tests from the Mustache spec in your test runs:

git submodule init
git submodule update

The test harness parses the spec's (more human-readable) yaml files if PyYAML is present. Otherwise, it parses the json files. To install PyYAML--

pip install pyyaml

To run a subset of the tests, you can use nose:

pip install nose
nosetests --tests pystache/tests/

Running Pystache from source with Python 3. Pystache is written in Python 2 and must be converted with 2to3 prior to running under Python 3. The installation process (and tox) do this conversion automatically.

To import pystache from a source distribution while using Python 3, be sure that you are importing from a directory containing a converted version (e.g. from your site-packages directory after manually installing) and not from the original source directory. Otherwise, you will get a syntax error. You can help ensure this by not running the Python IDE from the project directory when importing Pystache.

Mailing List

There is a mailing list. Note that there is a bit of a delay between posting a message and seeing it appear in the mailing list archive.


>>> context = { 'author': 'Chris Wanstrath', 'maintainer': 'Chris Jerdonek' }
>>> print pystache.render("Author: {{author}}\nMaintainer: {{maintainer}}", context)
Author: Chris Wanstrath
Maintainer: Chris Jerdonek