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Very lightweight, memory-efficient, dependency-free template engine (compiles to Python source).

Project description


utemplate is a lightweight and memory-efficient template engine for Python, primarily intended for use with Pycopy, a lightweight Python implementation (

utemplate syntax is roughly based on Django/Jinja2 syntax (e.g. {% if %}, {{var}}), but only the most needed features are offered (for example, "filters" are syntactic sugar for function calls, and so far are not planned to be implemented).

utemplate compiles templates to Python source code, specifically to a generator function which, being iterated over, produces consecutive parts (substrings) of a rendered template. This allows for minimal memory usage during template substitution (with Pycopy, it starts from mere hundreds of bytes). Generated Python code can be imported as a module directly, or a simple loader class (utemplate.compiled.Loader) is provided for convenience.

There is also a loader class which will compile templates on the fly, if not already compiled - utemplate.source.Loader.

Finally, there's a loader which will automatically recompile a template module if source template is changed - utemplate.recompile.Loader. This loader class is the most convenient to use during development, but on the other hand, it performs extra processing not required for a finished/deployed application.

To test/manage templates, tool is provided. For example, to quickly try a template (assuming you are already in examples/ dir):

pycopy ../ run squares.tpl


python3 ../ run squares.tpl

Templates can take parameters (that's how dynamic content is generated). Template parameters are passed as arguments to a generator function produced from a template. They also can be passed on the command line (arguments will be treated as strings in this case, but can be of any types if called from your code):

pycopy ../ run test1.tpl foo bar

Quick Syntax Reference

Evaluating Python expression, converting it to a string and outputting to rendered content:

  • {{<expr>}}

Where expr is an arbitrary Python expression - from a bare variable name, to function calls, yield from/await expressions, etc.

Supported statements:

  • {% args <var1>, <var2>, ... %} - specify arguments to a template (optional, should be at the beginning of a template if you want to pass any arguments). All argument types as supported by Python can be used: positional and keyword, with default values, *args and **kwargs forms, etc.
  • {% if <expr> %}, {% elif <expr> %}, {% else %}, {% endif %} - similar to Python's if statement
  • {% for <var> in <expr> %}, {% endfor %} - similar to Python's for statement
  • {% while <expr> %}, {% endwhile %} - similar to Python's while statement
  • {% set <var> = <expr> %} - assignment statement
  • {% include "name.tpl" %} - statically include another template
  • {% include {{name}} %} - dynamically include template whose name is stored in variable name.

File Naming Conventions

  • The recommended extension for templates is .tpl, e.g. example.tpl.
  • When template is compiled, dot (.) in its name is replaced with underscore (_) and .py appended, e.g. It thus can be imported with import example_tpl.
  • The name passed to {% include %} statement should be full name of a template with extension, e.g. {% include "example.tpl" %}.
  • For dynamic form of the include, a variable should similarly contain a full name of the template, e.g. {% set name = "example.tpl" %} / {% include {{name}} %}.


examples/squares.tpl as mentioned in the usage examples above has the following content:

{% args n=5 %}
{% for i in range(n) %}
| {{i}} | {{"%2d" % i ** 2}} |
{% endfor %}

More examples are available in the examples/ directory.

If you want to see a complete example web application which uses utemplate, refer to .


utemplate is written and maintained by Paul Sokolovsky. It's available under the MIT license.

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