Precompile jade templates into executable functions
JavaScript CoffeeScript
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tmpl-precompile - Template Precompiler

tmpl-precompile will process a group of templates and output a javascript file containing precompiled functions for all templates in the group.

A primary use case is to send a javascript file containing precompiled templates to a browser. The template can then be rendered by simply calling a function. The template compiler does not need to be included client-side for the templates to render, as the templates have been converted into pure javascript functions.

Currently the project supports Jade templates, although it will be enhanced to support other templating solutions.


tmpl-precompile can be run from a shell command prompt, although it actually runs within node.js. To install, do:

npm install tmpl-precompile -g

Command line

By default, tmpl-precompile as a command line tool will look for a settings file named tmpl-precompile.json in the current directory. This settings file defines which templates should be precompiled and the output javascript file to save them in. To run, simply go to the directory with the file and type


It is possible to specify a custom settings file as a command line parameter:

tmpl-precompile settings.json


If you prefer to use Javascript to execute the tmpl-precompile, you can do:

var tmpl-precompile = require('tmpl-precompile');
  • settings is the global settings object as you can see below. `
  • dir(optional) defaults to the directory of the module.parent executing tmpl-precompile.

A Precompiler object is automatically created by tmpl-precompile to handle each template group's compilation. If you wish to use the Precompiler object by itself, you can do:

var Precompiler = require('tmpl-precompile').Precompiler
var myTemplates = new Precompiler(groupSettings[, callback])
  • groupSettings is an object containing settings for the individual group of templates, which is the same with settings.groups below.
  • callback(optional) returns (err, res), where res is the compiled template output.

Note: You have to specify at least one output channel, either through the output parameter(see below) or callback or else there will be no output for your compilation. If you specify the output parameter Precompiler will always write the compiled templates to the output file specified. callback will always return the buffer in res to be manipulated in your app if you wish.


The settings file defines one or more groups of templates. Each group of templates will be saved into a separate output file. Each output can be uglified. File paths can be relative to the current working directory or to the file system root.

Here is an example settings file:

    "relative": true,
    "groups": [
            "uglify": true,
            "inline": false,
            "debug": false,
            "namespace": "NS.uglified",
    "window": false,
            "source": "/templates/",
            "output": "/output/uglified.js",
            "templates": [
            "uglify": false,
            "inline": true,
            "compileDebug": true,
            "namespace": "NS.templates",
    "window": false,
            "source": "/templates/",
            "output": "/output/templates.js",
            "templates": [

The example above will process the following jade templates:


These templates will be compiled into javascript functions and saved into the following files:


The functions will have the following names:



If true, then the source and output paths are relative to the current working directory. If false, then source and output are relative to the file system root.


This must be an array of objects, even if only one group is specified. Each object represents a group of template files and the options used to process them.


If true, then the output file is uglified before saving. If false, the output is not uglified.


If false, then a variable is defined for the top-level namespace. Specifying a namespace of NS.templates would create the following if skiproot: false:

var NS = NS || {};
NS.templates = NS.templates || {};

If true, then the top-level namespace is assumed to already exist. The initial namespace declaration is skipped. So a namespace of NS.templates would create:

NS.templates = NS.templates || {};


If true, then the post-processing optimizer will include any redundant helper functions in the output file. This pertains to Jade templates only. If false, then the helper functions are not included in the output file. You must make sure the helpers are loaded onto the client-side using some other method or the templates will fail to run.

This feature is useful if an app needs to load multiple precompiled template files and you don't want to load the same helper functions over and over. Defaults to true.


For helpers:true. If true, the compiler will include redundant helper functions in every single compiled template. Highly not recommended for client-side as this will significantly increase file size and bloat. Defaults to false.


tmpl-precompile's own debugging functionality. Not yet implemented.


NOT YET IMPLEMENTED. Provide a way to specify various environments, such as 'development', 'staging', or 'production' for presets.


Specifies the directory that contains *.jade template files. This directory is relative to the current working directory if relative is true, otherwise the directory should be a fully qualified path from the root of the file system.


Specifies the location and filename of the javascript file to create. This javascript file will contain a function for each template in the group. This file path is relative to the current working directory if relative is true, otherwise the path should be a fully qualified path from the root of the file system.


This must be an array of strings. Each string represents the name of a template. These strings are used both as file names and as function names. There must be a *.jade file with the name specified in each string.


If you make changes to the bin/ file, you need to recompile it. Also make sure the script is executable:

cd bin
coffee -b -c
mv tmpl-precompile
chmod 755 lib/tmpl-precompile.js

A Cakefile file is provided in the root directory with functions that will compile the coffee scripts and rename the shell script. To execute Cakefiles remember to install coffee-script as global node module: npm install coffee-script -g.

cake test                 # Run tests for tmpl-precompile
cake examples             # Build examples
cake compile              # Compiles lib and bin files
cake bin                  # Compiles executable
cake watch                # Watches all coffeescript files for changes