Handlebars Templates via Generators for Koa

npm install madams5-koa-hbs
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Handlebars Templates via Generators for Koa

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Things that are supported:

  • Registering helpers
  • Registering partials
  • Specify a directory or multiple directories of partials to register
  • Single default layout
  • Alternative layouts
  • Template caching (actually, this cannot currently be disabled)
  • Content blocks

Things that will be, but are not yet supported:

  • Asynchronous helpers


koa-hbs is middleware. Configure the default instance by passing an options hash to #middleware or on an independant from #create().

var koa = require('koa');
var hbs = require('koa-hbs');

var app = koa();

// koa-hbs is middleware. `use` it before you want to render a view
  viewPath: __dirname + '/views'

// Render is attached to the koa context. Call `this.render` in your middleware
// to attach rendered html to the koa response body.
app.use(function *() {
  yield this.render('main', {title: 'koa-hbs'});


After a template has been rendered, the template function is cached. #render accepts two arguements - the template to render, and an object containing local variables to be inserted into the template. The result is assigned to Koa's this.response.body.

Registering Helpers

Helpers are registered using the #registerHelper method. Here is an example using the default instance (helper stolen from official Handlebars docs:

hbs = require('koa-hbs');

hbs.registerHelper('link', function(text, url) {
  text = hbs.Utils.escapeExpression(text);
  url  = hbs.Utils.escapeExpression(url);

  var result = '<a href="' + url + '">' + text + '</a>';

  return new hbs.SafeString(result);

registerHelper, Utils, and SafeString all proxy to an internal Handlebars instance. If passing an alternative instance of Handlebars to the middleware configurator, make sure to do so before registering your helpers via the koa-hbs proxies, or just register your helpers directly via your Handlebars instance.

Registering Partials

The simple way to register partials is to stick them all in a directory, and pass the partialsPath option when generating the middleware. Say your views are in ./views, and your partials are in ./views/partials. Configuring the middleware as


Passing defaultLayout with the a layout name will cause all templates to be inserted into the {{{body}}} expression of the layout. This might look like the following.

<!DOCTYPE html>

In addition to, or alternatively, you may specify a layout to render a template into. Simply specify {{!< layoutName }} somewhere in your template. koa-hbs will load your layout from layoutsPath if defined, or from viewPath otherwise.

At this time, only a single content block ({{{body}}}) is supported.

Block content

Reserve areas in a layout by using the block helper like so.

{{#block "sidebar"}}
  <!-- default content for the sidebar block -->

Then in a template, use the contentFor helper to render content into the block.

{{#contentFor "sidebar"}}


The plan for koa-hbs is to offer identical functionality as express-hbs (eventaully). These options are supported now.

  • viewPath: [required] Full path from which to load templates (Array|String)
  • handlebars: Pass your own instance of handlebars
  • templateOptions: Hash of handlebars options to pass to template()
  • extname: Alter the default template extension (default: '.hbs')
  • partialsPath: Full path to partials directory (Array|String)
  • defaultLayout: Name of the default layout
  • layoutsPath: Full path to layouts directory (String)
  • contentHelperName: Alter contentFor helper name
  • blockHelperName: Alter block helper name


You can run the included example via npm install koa and node --harmony app.js from the example folder.


Functionality and code were inspired/taken from express-hbs.

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