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README.md

Eco: Embedded CoffeeScript templates

Eco lets you embed CoffeeScript logic in your markup. It's like EJS and ERB, but with CoffeeScript inside the <% ... %>. Use it from Node.js to render your application's views on the server side, or compile your templates to JavaScript with the eco command-line utility and use them to dynamically render views in the browser.

Here's how an Eco template looks:

<% if @projects.length: %>
  <% for project in @projects: %>
    <a href="<%= project.url %>"><%= project.name %></a>
    <p><%= project.description %></p>
  <% end %>
<% else: %>
  No projects
<% end %>

Usage

Use eco.render() to render your templates. The first argument is the template source as a string. The second argument is the context object which contains your view state and any helper methods you want to call.

eco = require "eco"
fs  = require "fs"

template = fs.readFileSync __dirname + "/views/projects.html.eco", "utf-8"
console.log eco.render template, projects: [
  { name: "Mobile app", url: "/projects/1", description: "Iteration 1" },
  { name: "Home page redesign", url: "/projects/2" }
]

Eco is fully synchronous. If your template needs to access data from asynchronous operations, perform those first before calling render.

Language reference

Eco's syntax is simple:

  • <% expression %>: Evaluate a CoffeeScript expression without printing its return value.
  • <%= expression %>: Evaluate a CoffeeScript expression, escape its return value, and print it.
  • <%- expression %>: Evaluate a CoffeeScript expression and print its return value without escaping it.
  • <%= @property %>: Print the escaped value of the property property from the context object passed to render.
  • <%= @helper() %>: Call the helper method helper from the context object passed to render, then print its escaped return value.
  • <% @helper -> %>...<% end %>: Call the helper method helper with a function as its first argument. When invoked, the function will capture and return the content ... inside the tag.
  • <%% and %%> will result in a literal <% and %> in the rendered template, respectively.

A note about whitespace

CoffeeScript is whitespace-sensitive, but your templates aren't. Therefore, Eco code tags that begin an indented CoffeeScript block must be suffixed with a colon. To indicate the end of an indented block, use the special tag <% end %>. For example:

<% if @project.isOnHold(): %>
  On Hold
<% end %>

You don't need to write the if and end tags on separate lines:

<% if @project.isOnHold(): %> On Hold <% end %>

And you can use the single-line postfix form of if as you'd expect:

<%= "On Hold" if @project.isOnHold() %>

Certain forms in CoffeeScript, such as else, must be unindented first. Eco handles that for you automatically:

<% if @project.isOnHold(): %>
  On Hold
<% else if @project.isArchived(): %>
  Archived
<% end %>

The context object

The context object you pass to eco.render() becomes the value of this inside your template. You can use CoffeeScript's @ sigil to easily access properties and call helper methods on the context object.

eco.render "<p><%= @description %></p>",
  description: "HTML 5 mobile app"

Helpers

Helper methods on your context object can access other properties on the context object in the same way they're accessed in the template: through this, or with the @ sigil.

translations = require "translations"

eco.render "<span><%= @translate 'common.welcomeText' %></span>",
  language:  "en"
  translate: (key) ->
    translations[@language][key]

Escaping and unescaping

When you print an expression in a template with <%= ... %>, its value is HTML-escaped. For example,

eco.render "<%= @description %>",
  description: "<strong>HTML 5</strong> mobile app"

would render:

&lt;strong&gt;HTML 5&lt;/strong&gt; mobile app

You can use the <%- ... %> tag to print the value of an expression without escaping it. So this code:

eco.render "<%- @description %>",
  description: "<strong>HTML 5</strong> mobile app"

would produce:

<strong>HTML 5</strong> mobile app

It is sometimes useful to generate markup in helper methods. The special safe method on the context object tells Eco that the string can be printed in <%= ... %> tags without being escaped. You can use this in conjunction with the context object's escape method to selectively sanitize parts of the string. For example,

eco.render "<%= @linkTo @project %>",
  project: { id: 4, name: "Crate & Barrel" }
  linkTo: (project) ->
    url  = "/projects/#{project.id}"
    name = @escape project.name
    @safe "<a href='#{url}'>#{name}</a>"

would render:

<a href='/projects/4'>Crate &amp; Barrel</a>

Custom escape helpers

By default, Eco's escape method takes a string and returns an HTML-escaped string. You can override this behavior to escape for formats other than HTML, or to bypass escaping entirely. For example,

eco.render "From: <%= @address %>",
  address: "Sam Stephenson <sstephenson@gmail.com>"
  escape:  (string) -> string

would return:

From: Sam Stephenson <sstephenson@gmail.com>

Blocks and capturing

You can capture blocks of a template by wrapping them in a function definition. For example, rendering this template:

<% div = (contents) => %>
   <div><%- contents %></div>
<% end %>
<%= div "Hello" %>

would produce:

<div>Hello</div>

Captured blocks can be passed to helper methods too. In this example, the capture body is passed to the formFor helper as its last argument. Then the formFor helper calls this argument to produce a value.

template = """
  <%= @formFor @project, (form) => %>
    <label>Name:</label>
    <%= form.textField "name" %>
  <% end %>
"""

eco.render template,
  project: { id: 1, name: "Mobile app" }
  formFor: (project, yield) ->
    form =
      textField: (attribute) =>
        name  = @escape attribute
        value = @escape @project[attribute]
        @safe "<input type='text' name='#{name}' value='#{value}'>"

    url  = "/projects/#{@project.id}"
    body = yield form
    @safe "<form action='#{url}' method='post'>#{body}</form>"

Note: In general, you should use CoffeeScript's fat arrow (=>) to define capturing functions, so that you have access to the context object inside the captured block. Treat the plain arrow (->) as an optimization, for when you are certain the capture body will not need to reference properties or helper methods on the context object.

Contributing

You can check out the Eco source code from GitHub:

$ git clone http://github.com/sstephenson/eco.git

To run Eco's test suite, install nodeunit and run cake test.

Report bugs on the GitHub issue tracker.

License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2010 Sam Stephenson sstephenson@gmail.com

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Special thanks

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