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藤 吾郎
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Text::Xslate - High performance template engine


This document describes Text::Xslate version 0.1042.


    use Text::Xslate;
    use FindBin qw($Bin);

    my $tx = Text::Xslate->new(
        # the fillowing options are optional.
        path       => ['.'],
        cache_dir  => "$ENV{HOME}/.xslate_cache",
        cache      => 1,

    my %vars = (
        title => 'A list of books',
        books => [
            { title => 'Islands in the stream' },
            { title => 'Programming Perl'      },
            # ...

    # for files
    print $tx->render('hello.tx', \%vars);

    # for strings
    my $template = q{
        <h1><: $title :></h1>
        : for $books -> $book {
            <li><: $book.title :></li>
        : } # for

    print $tx->render_string($template, \%vars);

    # you can tell the engine that some strings are already escaped.
    use Text::Xslate qw(mark_raw html_escape);

    $vars{email} = mark_raw('gfx &lt;gfuji at cpan.org&gt;');
    # or
    # $vars{email} = html_escape('gfx <gfuji at cpan.org>');

    # if you want Template-Toolkit syntx:
    $tx = Text::Xslate->new(syntax => 'TTerse');
    # ...


Text::Xslate (pronounced as /eks-leit/) is a high performance template engine tuned for persistent applications. This engine introduces the virtual machine paradigm. Templates are compiled into xslate intermediate code, and then executed by the xslate virtual machine.

The concept of Xslate is strongly influenced by Text::MicroTemplate and Template-Toolkit, but the central philosophy of Xslate is different from them. That is, the philosophy is sandboxing that the template logic should not have no access outside the template beyond your permission.

This software is under development. Version 0.1xxx is a developing stage, which may include radical changes. Version 0.2xxx and more will be somewhat stable.


High performance

Xslate has a virtual machine written in XS, which is highly optimized. According to benchmarks, Xslate is much faster than other template engines (Template-Toolkit, HTML::Template::Pro, Text::MicroTemplate, etc.).

There are benchmarks to compare template engines (see benchmark/ for details).

Here is a result of benchmark/others.pl to compare various template engines.

    $ perl -Mblib benchmark/others.pl include 100
    Perl/5.10.1 i686-linux
    ok 1 - TT: Template-Toolkit
    ok 2 - MT: Text::MicroTemplate
    ok 3 - TCS: Text::ClearSilver
    ok 4 - HT: HTML::Template::Pro
    Benchmarks with 'include' (datasize=100)
              Rate     TT     MT    TCS     HT Xslate
    TT       313/s     --   -55%   -87%   -89%   -97%
    MT       697/s   123%     --   -72%   -75%   -94%
    TCS     2488/s   695%   257%     --   -11%   -78%
    HT      2791/s   791%   300%    12%     --   -75%
    Xslate 11270/s  3500%  1516%   353%   304%     --

You can see Xslate is 36 times faster than Template-Toolkit, and 4 times faster than HTML::Template::Pro and Text::ClearSilver, which are implemented in XS.

High extensibility

Xslate is highly extensible. You can add functions and methods to the template engine and even add a new syntax via extending the parser.

Template cascading

Xslate supports template cascading, which allows you to extend templates with block modifiers. It is like traditional template inclusion, but is more powerful.

This mechanism is also called as template inheritance.



Text::Xslate->new(%options) :XslateEngine

Creates a new xslate template engine with options.

Possible options are:

path => \@path // ['.']

Specifies the include paths.

cache => $level // 1

Sets the cache level.

If $level == 1 (default), Xslate caches compiled templates on the disk, and checks the freshness of the original templates every time.

If $level >= 2, caches will be created but the freshness will not be checked.

$level == 0 creates no caches. It's provided for testing.

cache_dir => $dir // "$ENV{HOME}/.xslate_cache"

Specifies the directory used for caches. If $ENV{HOME} doesn't exist, File::Spec->tmpdir will be used.

You should specify this option on productions.

function => \%functions

Specifies a function map. A function f may be called as f($arg) or $arg | f.

There are a few builtin filters, but they are not overridable.

module => [$module => ?\@import_args, ...]

Imports functions from $module, which may be a function-based or bridge module. Optional @import_args are passed to import as $module->import(@import_args).

For example:

    # for function-based modules
    my $tx = Text::Xslate->new(
        module => ['Time::Piece'],
    print $tx->render_string(
        '<: localtime($x).strftime() :>',
        { x => time() },
    ); # => Wed, 09 Jun 2010 10:22:06 JST

    # for bridge modules
    my $tx = Text::Xslate->new(
        module => ['SomeModule::Bridge::Xslate'],
    print $tx->render_string(
        '<: $x.some_method() :>',
        { x => time() },

Because you can use function-based modules with the module option, and also can invoke any object methods in templates, Xslate doesn't require specific namespaces for plugins.

input_layer => $perliolayers // ':utf8'

Specifies PerlIO layers for reading templates.

verbose => $level // 1

Specifies the verbose level.

If $level == 0, all the possible errors will be ignored.

If $level> >= 1 (default), trivial errors (e.g. to print nil) will be ignored, but severe errors (e.g. for a method to throw the error) will be warned.

If $level >= 2, all the possible errors will be warned.

suffix => $ext // '.tx'

Specify the template suffix, which is used for template cascading.

syntax => $name // 'Kolon'

Specifies the template syntax you want to use.

$name may be a short name (e.g. Kolon), or a fully qualified name (e.g. Text::Xslate::Syntax::Kolon).

This option is passed to the compiler directly.

escape => $mode // 'html'

Specifies the escape mode, which is automatically applied to template expressions.

Possible escape modes are html and none.

This option is passed to the compiler directly.

line_start => $token // $parser_defined_str

Specify the token to start line code as a string, which quotemeta will be applied to.

This option is passed to the parser via the compiler.

tag_start => $str // $parser_defined_str

Specify the token to start inline code as a string, which quotemeta will be applied to.

This option is passed to the parser via the compiler.

line_start => $str // $parser_defined_str

Specify the token to end inline code as a string, which quotemeta will be applied to.

This option is passed to the parser via the compiler.

header => \@template_files

Specify the header template files, which are inserted to the head of each template.

This option is passed to the compiler.

Specify the footer template files, which are inserted to the foot of each template.

This option is passed to the compiler.

$tx->render($file, \%vars) :Str

Renders a template file with variables, and returns the result. \%vars is optional.

Note that $file may be cached according to the cache level.

$tx->render_string($string, \%vars) :Str

Renders a template string with variables, and returns the result. \%vars is optional.

Note that $string is never cached.

Text::Xslate->engine :XslateEngine

Returns the Xslate engine while executing. Otherwise, returns undef. This method is significant when it is called by template functions and methods.

$tx->load_file($file) :Void

Loads $file into memory for following render($file, \%vars). Compiles and saves it as caches if needed.

It is a good idea to load templates before applications fork. Here is an example to to load all the templates which is in a given path:

    my $path = ...;
    my $tx = Text::Xslate->new(
        path      => [$path],
        cache_dir =>  $path,

    find sub {
        if(/\.tx$/) {
            my $file = $File::Find::name;
            $file =~ s/\Q$path\E .//xsm;
    }, $path;

    # fork and render ...

Exportable functions

mark_raw($str :Str) :RawString

Marks $str as raw, so that the content of $str will be rendered as is, so you have to escape these strings by yourself.

For example:

    my $tx   = Text::Xslate->new();
    my $tmpl = 'Mailaddress: <: $email :>';
    my %vars = (
        email => mark_raw('Foo &lt;foo@example.com&gt;'),
    print $tx->render_string($tmpl, \%email);
    # => Mailaddress: Foo &lt;foo@example.com&gt;

This function is available in templates as the mark_raw filter, although the use of it is discouraged.

unmark_raw($str :Str) :Str

Clears the raw marker from $str, so that the content of $str will be escaped before rendered.

This function is available in templates as the unmark_raw filter.

html_escape($str :Str) :RawString

Escapes html meta characters in $str, and returns it as a raw string (see above). If $str is already a raw string, it returns $str as is.

By default, this function will be automatically applied to all the template expressions.

This function is available in templates as the html filter, but you'd better to use unmark_raw to ensure expressions to be html-escaped.


App::xslate is provided as a CLI to the Text::Xslate module, which is used to process directory trees or evaluate one liners. For example:

    $ xslate -D name=value -o dest_path src_path

    $ xslate -e 'Hello, <: $ARGV[0] :> wolrd!' Xslate
    $ xslate -s TTerse -e 'Hello, [% ARGV.0 %] world!' TTerse

See xslate(1) for details.


Several syntaxes are provided for templates.


Kolon is the default syntax, using <: ... :> inline code and : ... line code, which is explained in Text::Xslate::Syntax::Kolon.


Metakolon is the same as Kolon except for using [% ... %] inline code and %% ... line code, instead of <: ... :> and : ....


TTerse is a syntax that is a subset of Template-Toolkit 2 (and partially TT3), which is explained in Text::Xslate::Syntax::TTerse.


There are common notes in Xslate.

Nil/undef handling

Note that nil (i.e. undef in Perl) handling is different from Perl's. Basically it does nothing, but verbose => 2 will produce warnings on it.

to print

Prints nothing.

to access fields

Returns nil. That is, nil.foo.bar.baz produces nil.

to invoke methods

Returns nil. That is, nil.foo().bar().baz() produces nil.

to iterate

Dealt as an empty array.


$var == nil returns true if and only if $var is nil.


Perl 5.8.1 or later.

If you have a C compiler, the XS backend will be used. Otherwise the pure Perl backend will be used.


All complex software has bugs lurking in it, and this module is no exception. If you find a bug please either email me, or add the bug to cpan-RT. Patches are welcome :)


Xslate template syntaxes:






Xslate command:


Other template modules:












Thanks to lestrrat for the suggestion to the interface of render() and the contribution of App::Xslate.

Thanks to tokuhirom for the ideas, feature requests, encouragement, and bug finding.

Thanks to gardejo for the proposal to the name template cascading.

Thanks to jjn1056 to the concept of template overlay (now implemented as cascade with ...).

Thanks to makamaka for the contribution of Text::Xslate::PP.


Fuji, Goro (gfx) <gfuji(at)cpan.org>

Makamaka Hannyaharamitu (makamaka)

Maki, Daisuke (lestrrat)


Copyright (c) 2010, Fuji, Goro (gfx). All rights reserved.

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.