Template::Manual::Plugins - Standard plugins


This section lists the standard plugins which can be used to extend the runtime functionality of the Template Toolkit. The plugins are distributed with the Template Toolkit but may required additional modules from CPAN.


The following plugin modules are distributed with the Template Toolkit. Some of the plugins interface to external modules (detailed below) which should be downloaded from any CPAN site and installed before using the plugin.


The Autoformat plugin is an interface to Damian Conway's Text::Autoformat Perl module which provides advanced text wrapping and formatting. See Template::Plugin::Autoformat and Text::Autoformat for further details.

    [% USE autoformat(left=10, right=20) %]
    [% autoformat(mytext) %]        # call autoformat sub
    [% mytext FILTER autoformat %]  # or use autoformat filter

The Text::Autoformat module is available from CPAN:


The CGI plugin is a wrapper around Lincoln Stein's <> module. The plugin is distributed with the Template Toolkit (see Template::Plugin::CGI) and the CGI module itself is distributed with recent versions Perl, or is available from CPAN.

    [% USE CGI %]
    [% CGI.param('param_name') %]
    [% CGI.start_form %]
    [% CGI.popup_menu( Name   => 'color', 
                       Values => [ 'Green', 'Brown' ] ) %]
    [% CGI.end_form %]


Provides an interface to data stored in a plain text file in a simple delimited format. The first line in the file specifies field names which should be delimiter by any non-word character sequence. Subsequent lines define data using the same delimiter as in the first line. Blank lines and comments (lines starting '#') are ignored. See Template::Plugin::Datafile for further details.


    # define names for each field
    id : email : name : tel
    # here's the data
    fred : : Fred Smith : 555-1234
    bill : : Bill White : 555-5678


    [% USE userlist = datafile('/tmp/mydata') %]

    [% FOREACH user = userlist %]
       [% %] ([% %])
    [% END %]


The Date plugin provides an easy way to generate formatted time and date strings by delegating to the POSIX strftime() routine. See Template::Plugin::Date and POSIX for further details.

    [% USE date %]
    [% date.format %]           # current time/date

    File last modified: [% date.format(template.modtime) %]


The Directory plugin provides a simple interface to a directory and the files within it. See Template::Plugin::Directory for further details.

    [% USE dir = Directory('/tmp') %]
    [% FOREACH file = dir.files %]
        # all the plain files in the directory
    [% END %]
    [% FOREACH file = dir.dirs %]
        # all the sub-directories
    [% END %]


The DBI plugin is no longer distributed as part of the Template Toolkit (as of version 2.15). It is now available as a separate Template-Plugin-DBI distribution from CPAN.


The Dumper plugin provides an interface to the Data::Dumper module. See Template::Plugin::Dumper and Data::Dumper for futher details.

    [% USE dumper(indent=0, pad="<br>") %]
    [% dumper.dump(myvar, yourvar) %]


The File plugin provides a general abstraction for files and can be used to fetch information about specific files within a filesystem. See Template::Plugin::File for further details.

    [% USE File('/tmp/foo.html') %]
    [% %]     # foo.html
    [% File.dir %]      # /tmp
    [% File.mtime %]    # modification time


This module implements a base class plugin which can be subclassed to easily create your own modules that define and install new filters.

    package MyOrg::Template::Plugin::MyFilter;

    use Template::Plugin::Filter;
    use base qw( Template::Plugin::Filter );

    sub filter {
        my ($self, $text) = @_;

        # ...mungify $text...

        return $text;

    # now load it...
    [% USE MyFilter %]

    # ...and use the returned object as a filter
    [% FILTER $MyFilter %]
    [% END %]

See Template::Plugin::Filter for further details.


The Format plugin provides a simple way to format text according to a printf()-like format. See Template::Plugin::Format for further details.

    [% USE bold = format('<b>%s</b>') %]
    [% bold('Hello') %]


The GD plugins are no longer part of the core Template Toolkit distribution. They are now available in a separate Template-GD distribution.


The HTML plugin is very basic, implementing a few useful methods for generating HTML. It is likely to be extended in the future or integrated with a larger project to generate HTML elements in a generic way (as discussed recently on the mod_perl mailing list).

    [% USE HTML %]
    [% HTML.escape("if (a < b && c > d) ..." %]
    [% HTML.attributes(border => 1, cellpadding => 2) %]
    [% HTML.element(table => { border => 1, cellpadding => 2 }) %]

See Template::Plugin::HTML for further details.


The Iterator plugin provides a way to create a Template::Iterator object to iterate over a data set. An iterator is created automatically by the FOREACH directive and is aliased to the 'loop' variable. This plugin allows an iterator to be explicitly created with a given name, or the default plugin name, 'iterator'. See Template::Plugin::Iterator for further details.

    [% USE iterator(list, args) %]

    [% FOREACH item = iterator %]
       [% '<ul>' IF iterator.first %]
       <li>[% item %]
       [% '</ul>' IF iterator.last %]
    [% END %]


This plugin provides an interface to the Pod::POM module which parses POD documents into an internal object model which can then be traversed and presented through the Template Toolkit.

    [% USE Pod(podfile) %]

    [% FOREACH head1 = Pod.head1;
         FOREACH head2 = head1/head2;


The String plugin implements an object-oriented interface for manipulating strings. See Template::Plugin::String for further details.

    [% USE String 'Hello' %]
    [% String.append(' World') %]

    [% msg ='Another string') %]
    [% msg.replace('string', 'text') %]

    The string "[% msg %]" is [% msg.length %] characters long.


The Table plugin allows you to format a list of data items into a virtual table by specifying a fixed number of rows or columns, with an optional overlap. See Template::Plugin::Table for further details.

    [% USE table(list, rows=10, overlap=1) %]

    [% FOREACH item = table.col(3) %]
       [% item %]
    [% END %]


The URL plugin provides a simple way of contructing URLs from a base part and a variable set of parameters. See Template::Plugin::URL for further details.

    [% USE mycgi = url('/cgi-bin/', debug=1) %]

    [% mycgi %]
       # ==> /cgi/bin/

    [% mycgi(mode='submit') %]
       # ==> /cgi/bin/


The Wrap plugin uses the Text::Wrap module by David Muir Sharnoff <> (with help from Tim Pierce and many many others) to provide simple paragraph formatting. See Template::Plugin::Wrap and Text::Wrap for further details.

    [% USE wrap %]
    [% wrap(mytext, 40, '* ', '  ') %]  # use wrap sub
    [% mytext FILTER wrap(40) -%]       # or wrap FILTER

The Text::Wrap module is available from CPAN:


This plugin defines a filter for performing simple stylesheet based transformations of XML text.

    [% USE xmlstyle 
           table = { 
               attributes = { 
                   border      = 0
                   cellpadding = 4
                   cellspacing = 1

    [% FILTER xmlstyle %]
      <td>Foo</td> <td>Bar</td> <td>Baz</td>
    [% END %]

See Template::Plugin::XML::Style for further details.


The XML::DOM, XML::RSS, XML::Simple and XML::XPath plugins are no longer distributed with the Template Toolkit as of version 2.15

They are now available in a separate Template-XML distribution.


Andy Wardley <>


Template Toolkit version 2.15, released on 26 May 2006.


  Copyright (C) 1996-2006 Andy Wardley.  All Rights Reserved.
  Copyright (C) 1998-2002 Canon Research Centre Europe Ltd.

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