by caolan

caolan / pithy

An internal DSL for generating HTML in JavaScript

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An internal DSL for generating HTML in JavaScript.


Basic elements

html.div('#main', [
    html.h1(null, 'Hello, world!'),
    html.img({src: 'foo.jpg'})

Hello, world!

Loops etc.

Using Underscore.js or similar:

function todoItem(item) {
    return html.li({rel: item.id}, [
        html.div('.title', item.title),
        html.button('.destroy', 'delete')

function todoList(list) { return html.ul('.todo-list', _.map(list, todoItem)); }

todoList([ {id: 1, title: 'item one'}, {id: 2, title: 'item two'}, {id: 3, title: 'item three'} ]);

  • item one
  • item two
  • item three
  • Why use an internal DSL?

    • It's a more convenient and safer alternative to string contatenation
    • Very flexible, you can use all the power of JavaScript functions and control structures
    • For small bits of HTML you might not want to switch contexts from code to a template
    • Easier to debug than a templating engine
    • You get full tool-chain support:
      • editor support: syntax highlighting, code tools etc etc
      • code analyzers: jslint, jshint
      • testing/coverage tools

    When to use?

    • Consider using where you might currently use string concatenation
    • Avoid using for large HTML documents or in places where speed is critical
    • Good for small snippets used for client-side page updates
    • Bad for generating huge amounts of HTML on the server


    I like to alias the 'pithy' library as 'html':

var html = require('pithy');

You can then just use html.

as a function to create the appropriate element. Please note, you actually get a html.SafeString object back, not a native JavaScript String. This might mess up your isString() tests. If you have a workaround please send a pull-request.

There is also a html.escape() function for escaping HTML (returns a html.SafeString). It will not escape a value that is already a html.SafeString object.

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