Tag Archives: jade

How to Use Jade and Handlebars in Express.js

How to Use Jade and Handlebars in Express.js

I hated Jade as many other Node.js developes do.  But I changed 180 after I realized that it has tons of features.

At Storify and DocuSign we used Jade for EVERYTHING. We used Jade even in the browser. There is a little trick called jade-browser. It was developed by folks at Storify. I maintained it for a bit.

The funny thing is that DocuSign team used jade-browser long before they met me. They swear they hired me without knowing that I was involved in that library. :-)

Anyway, after covering Jade and Handlebars in previous posts, it’s time to apply them to do some real work. In this post, I’ll cover:

  • Jade and Handlebars usage in Express.js 4
  • Project: adding Jade templates to Blog

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To Engineers Who Tried to Use Jade Template Engine and Can’t Get Started

To Engineers Who Tried to Use Jade Template Engine and Can’t Get Started

When I started working at Storify as a Node.js Engineer. The tech stack was Express and Jade. I hate to admit it, but I struggled with Jade a lot!

Before, I mostly worked with Underscore, and Handlebars. I attempted to modify some HTML in the Jade templates. Other times I would only change the text. Those were trivial updates, but very often they cause the whole server to crash.

I was failing miserably to learn by trial and error. I hated Jade. I was starting to hate editing templates as well. Then I had a light bulb moment: I need a tutorial. I went to the official docs. I wish this article existed at that time. After spending just an hour learning Jade, I was able to use Jade and make all the changes to templates smoothly.

Smart people learn by their mistakes, and wise people learn from others. Don’t repeat my folly. Skim through this Jade tutorial to harness the power of this wonderful template language.

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Wintersmith — Node.js static site generator

This past weekend was a very productive one for me, because I’ve started to work on and released my book’s one-page website —rapidprototypingwithjs.com. I’ve used Wintersmith to learn something new and to ship fast. Wintersmith is a Node.js static site generator. It greatly impressed me with flexibility and ease of development. In addition I could stick to my favorite tools such as Markdown, Jade and Underscore.

Wintersmith is a Node.js static site generator

Why Static Site Generators

Here is a good article on why using a static site generator is a good idea in general, An Introduction to Static Site Generators. It basically boils down to a few main things:

Templates

You can use template engine such as Jade. Jade uses whitespaces to structure nested elements and its syntax is similar to Ruby on Rail’s Haml markup.

Markdown

I’ve copied markdown text from my book’s Introduction chapter and used it without any modifications. Wintersmith comes with marked parser by default. More on why Markdown is great in my old post, Markdown Goodness.

Simple Deployment

Everything is HTML, CSS and JavaScript so you just upload the files with FTP client, e.g., Transmit by Panic or Cyberduck.

Basic Hosting

Due to the fact that any static web server will work well, there is no need for Heroku or Nodejitsu PaaS solutions, or even PHP/MySQL hosting.

Performance

There are no database calls, no server-side API calls, no CPU/RAM overhead.

Flexibility

Wintersmith allows for different plugins for contents and templates and you can even write you own plugin.

Getting Started with Wintersmith

There is a quick getting started guide on github.com/jnordberg/wintersmith.

To install Wintersmith globally, run NPM with -g and sudo:

$ sudo npm install wintersmith -g

Then run to use default blog template:

$ wintersmith new <path>

or for empty site:

$ wintersmith new <path> -template basic

or use a shortcut:

$ wintersmith new <path> -T basic

Similar to Ruby on Rails scaffolding Wintersmith will generate a basic skeleton with contents and templates folders. To preview a website, run these commands:

$ cd <path>
$ wintersmith preview
$ open http://localhost:8080

Most of the changes will be updates automatically in the preview mode except for the config.json file.

Images, CSS, JavaScript and other files go into contents folder.
Wintersmith generator has the following logic:

  1. looks for *.md files in contents folder,
  2. reads metadata such as template name,
  3. processes *.jade templates per metadate in *.md files.

When you’re done with your static site, just run:

$ wintersmith build

Other Static Site Generators

Here are some of the other Node.js static site generators:

More detailed overview of these static site generators is available in the post, Node Based Static Site Generators.

For other languages and frameworks like Rails and PHP take a look at Static Site Generators by GitHub Watcher Count and the “mother of all site generator lists”.