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Handlebars.js vs Liquid: What are the differences?

Introduction: In web development, Handlebars.js and Liquid are both popular templating languages that allow for dynamic content rendering. While they share some similarities, there are key differences between the two that make them unique and suitable for specific purposes. This article aims to highlight the major differences between Handlebars.js and Liquid.

1. Handlebars.js: Flexibility in templating Handlebars.js is a templating language that focuses on providing flexibility in creating templates. It allows for the execution of JavaScript code within templates, enabling developers to perform complex operations and calculations easily. Handlebars.js supports the use of helpers, which are custom functions that can be utilized within the templates to manipulate data or extend functionality.

2. Liquid: Easier and safer to use Liquid, on the other hand, prioritizes simplicity and safety. It restricts JavaScript execution within templates, eliminating potential security risks. Liquid templates also have a cleaner syntax, making it easier for non-technical users to create and manage templates. It provides a robust set of built-in filters and tags, enabling developers and content creators to manipulate data and control the output effectively.

3. Handlebars.js: Greater control over rendering logic Handlebars.js provides more control over the rendering logic. It supports conditional statements, loops, and partials, allowing developers to create dynamic templates that adapt to different scenarios. With Handlebars.js, developers have the flexibility to define custom logic and control the flow of the template rendering process.

4. Liquid: Enhanced for e-commerce and content management systems Liquid is widely used in e-commerce platforms and content management systems (CMS) such as Shopify. It has specific features tailored towards these domains, including support for product collections, variables related to orders and customers, and built-in functionality for managing e-commerce and CMS-related tasks. Liquid shines when it comes to efficiently handling the unique aspects of these systems.

5. Handlebars.js: Ideal for single-page applications When it comes to single-page applications (SPAs) or heavily client-side rendered applications, Handlebars.js excels. Its flexibility, ability to execute JavaScript code, and support for helpers make it suitable for handling complex rendering requirements in SPAs. Handlebars.js provides a seamless way to integrate with client-side frameworks and libraries, enabling efficient rendering on the front-end.

6. Liquid: Extensive usage across multiple platforms Liquid's popularity and extensive usage can be attributed to its versatility across multiple platforms. It is not limited to web development and has implementations in various programming languages. This allows it to be used in different contexts, including email templating, static site generators, and more, making Liquid a preferred choice for many developers working in diverse environments.

In summary, Handlebars.js offers greater flexibility and control over templating with its support for JavaScript execution and custom helpers, making it a suitable choice for SPAs. On the other hand, Liquid prioritizes simplicity and safety, excelling in e-commerce and CMS domains, while also being widely adopted in various platforms beyond web development.

Advice on Handlebars.js and Liquid
Asad Gilani
Software Engineer at Lisec Automation · | 5 upvotes · 198.4K views
Needs advice

@All: I am searching for the best template engine for .NET. I started looking into several template engines, including the Dotliquid, Handlebars.js, Scriban, and Razorlight. I found handlebar a bit difficult to use when using the loops and condition because you need to register for helper first. DotLiquid and Scriban were easy to use and in Razorlight I did not find the example for loops.

Can you please suggest which template engine is best suited for the use of conditional/list and looping and why? Or if anybody could provide me a resource or link where I can compare which is best?

Thanks In Advance

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Replies (1)
Josh Lind

I like Handlebars, it's very mature... some would say-- outdated.

Handlebars loops are done via {{#each myList}}. Read the docs!

Remember, don't put logic in your templates! Keep this layer simple. Sorry to hear you have to use dotNet.

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Pros of Handlebars.js
Pros of Liquid
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    Great templating language
  • 50
    Open source
  • 36
  • 20
    Integrates well into any codebase
  • 10
    Easy to create helper methods for complex scenarios
  • 7
    Created by Yehuda Katz
  • 2
    Easy For Fornt End Developers,learn backend
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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is Handlebars.js?

    Handlebars.js is an extension to the Mustache templating language created by Chris Wanstrath. Handlebars.js and Mustache are both logicless templating languages that keep the view and the code separated like we all know they should be.

    What is Liquid?

    It is an open-source template language written in Ruby. It is the backbone of Shopify themes and is used to load dynamic content on storefronts. It is safe, customer facing template language for flexible web apps.

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    What are some alternatives to Handlebars.js and Liquid?
    AngularJS lets you write client-side web applications as if you had a smarter browser. It lets you use good old HTML (or HAML, Jade and friends!) as your template language and lets you extend HTML’s syntax to express your application’s components clearly and succinctly. It automatically synchronizes data from your UI (view) with your JavaScript objects (model) through 2-way data binding.
    Mustache is a logic-less template syntax. It can be used for HTML, config files, source code - anything. It works by expanding tags in a template using values provided in a hash or object. We call it "logic-less" because there are no if statements, else clauses, or for loops. Instead there are only tags. Some tags are replaced with a value, some nothing, and others a series of values.
    Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
    A JavaScript library that provides a whole mess of useful functional programming helpers without extending any built-in objects.
    It is a fastest and concise javascript template engine for Node.js and browsers. It was created in search of the fastest and concise JavaScript templating function with emphasis on performance under V8 and Node.js. It shows great performance for both Node.js and browsers.
    See all alternatives