A lightweight template engine in Python.

Version 1.6.0

Template API

Template Objects

A template starts life as a simple string containing template markup, usually stored in the form of a text file. This string is used to initialize a Template object:

>>> import ibis
>>> template = ibis.Template('{{foo}} and {{bar}}')

Internally, a lexer transforms the string into a sequence of tokens. A parser then takes this sequence and compiles it into a tree of nodes. Each node has a render() method which takes a context object and returns a string. The entire compiled node tree can be rendered by calling render() on the root node.

Compiling and rendering the node tree are two distinct processes. The template only needs to be compiled once; it can then be cached and rendered multiple times with different context objects.

The Template class acts as the public interface to the template engine. This is the only class the end-user needs to interact with directly.

A Template object is initialized with a template string. It compiles the string and stores the resulting node tree for future rendering. Calling the template object's render() method with a dictionary of key-value pairs or a set of keyword arguments renders the template and returns the result as a string.

>>> template.render(foo='ham', bar='eggs')
'ham and eggs'

>>> template.render({'foo': 1, 'bar': 2})
'1 and 2'

Template Loaders

If you want to use template inheritance or the include tag you'll need to specify a template loader so Ibis can locate the appropriate templates to include or extend. A template loader is a callable that accepts one or more string arguments and either returns a corresponding template object or raises a TemplateNotFound exception, i.e. a template loader has a signature like the following function:

def loader(*args):
    return Template("loaded template text")

You can define your own custom template loaders, but in many cases an instance of the builtin FileLoader class will be suitable. A FileLoader instance is initialized with a path to a base template directory. The loader then interprets its string arguments as paths to UTF-8 encoded text files stored in this directory and returns a template object corresponding to the first file it finds.

A FileLoader instance compiles its templates once and caches them in memory for future lookups. A FileReloader instance is identical but will automatically reload and recompile a template if the underlying template file changes.

To specify a template loader set the ibis.config.loader variable to an instance of your callable:

import ibis
ibis.config.loader = ibis.loaders.FileLoader('/path/to/template/directory')

You may find it useful to use a single FileLoader object to load templates throughout your application to take full advantage of its built-in caching.


The following exception types may be raised by the template engine:


The following built-in variables and functions are available in all contexts:

The Undefined Type

An instance of the ibis.errors.Undefined type is returned whenever an attempt to resolve a variable name against a particular context fails. Undefined is a null type that renders as an empty string, evaluates as the boolean False, behaves like an empty sequence, etc.

You can specify a fallback for undefined variables in template markup using the undefined filter:

{{ foo.bar|undefined("baz") }}

In this case if the variable foo.bar is not defined in the current context, the fallback string "baz" will be used in its place.

Custom Filters

A filter is a function that accepts at least one argument - the value to be filtered - and returns the filtered result. It can optionally accept any number of additional arguments.

Filters are registered using the @register decorator:


If no name argument is supplied, the function name will be used.

As an example, we can register a filter to convert datetime objects into formatted strings:

import ibis

def datetime_formatter(dt, format='%Y-%m-%d'):
    return dt.strftime(format)

This gives us a filter with an optional format string argument that we can call on any datetime object, including the built-in now function which returns a datetime object representing the current time:

{{ now|dtformat }}

{{ now|dtformat('%Y') }}

As it happens, dtformat already exists as a built-in filter. Re-registering the dtformat name would simply override the built-in filter with our own custom version.

Custom Tags

You can register custom syntax tags to supplement or override the built-in ones. Creating custom tags is a little more complicated than creating custom filters as you'll need to understand some of the internal details of how Ibis compiles template strings into trees of Node objects.

Every syntax tag corresponds to a subclass of the ibis.nodes.Node type. To create a new syntax tag, register a subclass using the @register decorator:


You can give your new tag block scope by specifying a required end tag:

@ibis.nodes.register('tag', 'endtag')

You'll need to turn to the source code itself for further details — see the nodes.py file for lots of examples to work from.