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Razor syntax for JS templating

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"... the 60 billion double-dollar template-maker!" ~ The previous README, and no one else, ever.

Vash is a template engine that offers a swift flow between code and content using Razor Syntax 1 . This document 2 is intended for users of Vash, and also serves as a reference for Vash's implementation of Razor Syntax.

Build Status


Bitdeli Badge


  • Mix code and content without ugly delineators, like <?, <%, or {{.
  • No new language to learn: Vash is just HTML-aware JavaScript.
  • Great with markup, but can be used with nearly any other language as well (even Markdown!).
  • Helpers API allows for extensibility and meta programming.
  • Works in the browser or in node.
  • Comes with a Jade-inspired layout engine (block, include, extend, append/prepend), which even works in the browser.

Syntax Example

<p>How are you Today is a sunny day on the planet Gunsmoke.</p>

<ul class="@( ? 'highlight' : '')">

Quick Start


var vash = require('vash');
var tpl = vash.compile('<p>I am a @model.t!</p>');

var out = tpl({ t: 'template' });
// <p>I am a template!</p>


Check out vash-express-example for a full example of hooking up vash as a view engine for express 3. But it's basically as simple as:

var express = require('express');

var app = express();
app.set('view engine', 'vash');

More information is also available in the Layout Helpers sections.

Browser - Vanilla

<script type="text/javascript" src="build/vash.js"></script>

var tpl = vash.compile( '<p>I am a @model.t!</p>' );
document.querySelector('#content').innerHTML = tpl({ t: 'template' });

But you should probably be precompiling your templates. See Precompiling Templates for more info. Then you can just include the Vash runtime instead of the entire compiler.

Browser - Browserify et al

Just require Vash, and compile. If you want something fancier, try vashify! Then you can directly require any .vash file and it will be resolved as compiled template:

var tpl = require('my-awesome-template.vash');
document.querySelector('#content').innerHTML = tpl({ t: 'template' });

Browser - RequireJS

RequireJS support has been recently dropped. However Vash does support CJS environments, so as long as you configure RequireJS to consume Vash as a CJS project (including node_modules resolution), everything should work.


Vash now has a playground of sorts at It uses the current version of vash.js from the build folder. Fork it to test your own template ideas!


For the following examples, assume a model is passed into the compiled function. If a model is explicitly defined, it will appear as:

// model = { what: 'hello!' }

The Transition Character: @

Vash uses the @ symbol to transition between code and markup. To escape and print a literal @, use a double @, like this: @@.


The most basic usage of Vash is an implicit expression. Vash is smart enough to know what's valid JS and what's not, and can usually do what you want it to do. An expression is an @ followed by a valid JS identifier. This is then interpolated automatically.


// model = { what: 'hello!' }



The model comment is just to show that the object passed into the compiled template contains a key that matches the expression.

To allow for the fastest render time possible, Vash by default requires the model to be addressed explicitly. This is to avoid using a with statment in the compiled template, which is approximately 25 times slower. The above example then becomes:





As you can see, the output is exactly the same. The name used to reference the model is configurable via vash.config.modelName. Typical values are model and it.

Advanced Expressions

Vash typically knows when an expression ends, even when the expression is complex. For example:


<p>@model.what().who[2]('are you sure')('yes, it\'s ok')( model.complex ? 'FULL POWER' : '' )</p>

This will work just fine, assuming you have a model that actually contains that complexity! I hope you don't, and if so, I feel bad.

Callbacks work as well:


// model = ['a', 'b']



Vash also knows the difference between JS dot notation and a period.


// model = { description: 'living' }
<p>Plants are @model.description.</p>


<p>Plants are living.</p>

And empty brackets, because they're not valid JS:


// model = { formName: 'addresses' }
<input type="text" name="@model.formName[]" />


<input type="text" name="addresses[]" />

Email addresses, to an extent, are fine as well. Vash makes a trade-off. It uses the following regex to validate an email address:


Email addresses can actually contain many more valid characters, and are really hard to validate. Vash can handle a typical email address with ease:


<a href="">Email Me</a>


<a href="">Email Me</a>

If you have a complex email address that confuses Vash, then you should use an explicit expression instead.

Explicit Expressions

An explicit expression is simply an expression that, instead of being composed of @ and a valid JS identifier, is surrounded by parenthesis.





Why would you ever need this? Perhaps you want to do something like:


// model = { hasIceCream: true }
<p class="@( model.hasIceCream ? 'ice-cream' : '')">Ice Cream</p>


<p class="ice-cream">Ice Cream</p>

You could even create an anonymous function.


@(function(type){ return type + ' cream'; }('banana'))


banana cream

As you can see, Vash does not require a model to be referenced, or even passed in.

Code Blocks

Sometimes, AGAINST ALL ODDS, a template may need some quick computation of values to avoid repeating yourself. Unlike expressions and explicit expressions, a code block does not directly output. To compare to PHP, expressions are like <?= $what ?>, while a code block is like <? $what = 'what' ?>.

A code block is simply @{ }.


@{ var rideOn = 'shooting star'; }


That's right, nothing! Here's a better example:


	var total = model.price +;

<p>Your total is: $@total</p>


<p>Your total is: $2.70</p>

Anything is valid within a code block, such as function declarations or even something as complex as defining a prototype. You can also use markup within a code block, and it will behave as expected:


@{ <p>This works!</p> }


<p>This works!</p>

A code block just tells Vash, "expect the next stuff to be code until otherwise".

Keyword Blocks

Vash is aware of keywords, and will open a code block automatically for you.


// model = { type: 'banana' }
	<p>I'm a @model.type!</p>
} else if({
	<p>My name is</p>
} else {


<p>I'm a banana!</p>

This also works for while, for, do, try/catch, with, switch, function, and other keywords.

You don't even need to worry about whitespace or newlines:


// model = 1
@switch(model){case 1:<p></p>break;case 2:<b></b>break;}




Vash also supports comments that are not compiled into the template. These are delineated with @* and *@


@* I am a comment that extends
over multiple lines *@



HTML Escaping

By default, Vash escapes any HTML-like values before outputting them.


// model = { what: '<img />' }


<p>&lt;img /&gt;</p>

If you are sure that you trust the content and/or need to display HTML-like values, you can escape the HTML escaping via a call to Vash's helper system: html.raw.


// model = { what: '<img />' }


<p><img /></p>

This behavior can be disabled using vash.config.htmlEscape.

Explicit Markup

Sometimes you may wish to tell Vash that what you're typing is markup or content, as opposed to code. Take the following example:


// model = ['a']
	this should be content @item


(Error when compiling)

In this situation, you have two options. The first is the @: (at colon) escape. It tells Vash that until it sees a newline, treat the input as content, not code.


// model = ['a']
	@: this should be content @item


this should be content a

The other option, in the event that more than one line is needed, is by using an imaginary HTML tag named <text>. When Vash sees this tag, it switches to content mode, and discards the tag. This means that the tag will never be output.


// model = ['Indeed!']
		This is some longer content that you
		apparently wanted on multiple lines,
		multiple times! @item


This is some longer content that you
apparently wanted on multiple lines,
multiple times! Indeed!


Vash has a few compilation options that are configurable either by setting the relevant value in vash.config or by passing in an object with that key/value to vash.compile, vash.compileBatch, or vash.compileHelper.

For example:

vash.config.debug = true;

Is the global version of:

vash.compile('<p>My tpl</p>', { debug: true });


Default: false

If useWith is set to true, then Vash will wrap a with block around the contents of the compiled function.

// vash.config.useWith == true


// vash.config.useWith == false

Rendering is the same regardless:

tpl( { description: 'I am a banana!' } );
// outputs:
// <li>I'm a banana!</li>

Tech note: using a with block comes at a severe performance penalty (at least 25x slower!).


Default: 'model'

If vash.config.useWith is false (default), then this property is used to determine what the name of the default free variable will be. Example:

// vash.config.useWith == false


// vash.config.useWith == false
// vash.config.modelName == 'whatwhat'

Again, rendering is the same regardless:

tpl( { description: 'I am a banana!' } );
// outputs:
// <li>I'm a banana!</li>

A common alternative to model is it.


Default: 'html'

Determines the name of the free variable through which registered helper methods can be reached. Example:



// vash.config.helpersName == "help";

Again, rendering is the same regardless:

tpl( { description : '<strong>Raw</strong> content!' } );
// outputs:
// <li><strong>Raw</strong> content!</li>


Default: true

As of version 0.4x, Vash automatically HTML encodes values generated by an explicit or implicit expression. To disable this behavior, set htmlEscape to false. For an more in depth example, see HTML Escaping.

If a value should not be escaped, simply wrap it in a call to vash.helpers.raw.


Default: true

By default, templates are compiled with extensive debugging information, so if an error is thrown while rendering a template (not compiling), exact location (line, character) information can be given.

Using the following template:


A template with debug set to true (default):

function anonymous(model,html,__vopts,vash) {
	try {
		var __vbuffer = html.buffer;
		html.options = __vopts;
		model = model || {};
		html.vl = 1, = 0;
		html.vl = 1, = 3;
		html.vl = 1, = 7;
		(__vopts && __vopts.onRenderEnd && __vopts.onRenderEnd(null, html));
		return (__vopts && __vopts.asContext)
			? html
			: html.toString();
	} catch( e ){
		html.reportError( e, html.vl,, "<p></p>!LB!" );

And that same template with debug set to false:

function anonymous(model,html,__vopts,vash) {
	var __vbuffer = html.buffer;
	html.options = __vopts;
	model = model || {};
	(__vopts && __vopts.onRenderEnd && __vopts.onRenderEnd(null, html));
	return (__vopts && __vopts.asContext)
		? html
		: html.toString();

As you can see, the difference, especially in code size and instruction size is significant. For production apps, templates should be precompiled with debug as false.


Default: false

Vash's parser will output useful debugging infomation if debugParser is true:

  • Tokens and what mode they were processed as
  • A textual representation of the fully parsed AST


Default: false

Vash's compiler will output useful debugging information if debugCompiler is true:


Default: false

If true, the template is compiled in "fast path" mode. This disables several advanced features for the sake of speed:

While standard Vash templates are definitely not slow, using true for this option decreases render time by 15% - 25% depending on the size of the template.

vash-benchgraph can be used to show the speed increase:

node benches.js --tinclude 004.vash,007.vash --vinclude '0.6.2-2482' --chart vashv,ops


Default: false

When Vash encounters text that directly follows an opening brace of a block, it assumes that unless it encounters an HTML tag, the text is JS code. For example:

	var b = a; // vash assumes this line is code

When favorText is set to true, Vash will instead assume that most things are content (not code) unless it's very explicit.

	var b = a; // vash.config.favorText assumes this line is content

This option is EXPERIMENTAL, and should be treated as such. It allows Vash to be used in a context like Markdown, where HTML tags, which typically help Vash tell the difference between code and content, are rare.

Template Options

These options concern rendering a template, after it has already been compiled. For options related to compiling templates, see Configuration.

The compiled templates themselves have three signatures.

tpl(model) -> string

The most basic form accepts a single argument, model, that can be any value: Number, Boolean, Object, Array, undefined, null, etc. It returns the rendered template as a string.

tpl(model, function(){}) -> string

The second form accepts a function callback as its second parameter, which is called onRenderEnd (see below).

tpl(model, options) -> string

The third form allows for options in addition to onRenderEnd. There are two options that can affect a template while rendering:


tpl(model, { asContext: true }) -> vash.helpers.constructor

This option tells the template that instead of returning a string, it should return the "render context", otherwise known as an instance of vash.helpers.constructor (Helper System).


tpl(model, { onRenderEnd: function(){} }) -> string

This option is effectively a callback for once primary execution of the rendering template has finished. The arguments passed to the callback are: ( err, html ), where err is always null (for now), and html is the render context (instance of vash.helpers.constructor). This callback is not required, and is only called if defined (and has no default definition). The Layout Helpers use this to know when all includes, prepends, appends, blocks, and extend calls have finished.

onRenderEnd can also be defined as a property of the model:

var model = { hey: 'what', onRenderEnd: function(err, ctx){ ... } }

Helper System

Vash's primary point of expandability lies in its Helper API. When a template is rendering, there is a free variable avaiable. This variable is, by default, named html. This name can be changed with the vash.config.helpersName option. html is an instance of the prototype that is attached to vash.helpers. It's a bit confusing, but this is how it kind of works:

var Helpers = function(){}
vash.helpers = Helpers.prototype;
vash.helpers.constructor = Helpers;

What this means is that any function that is attached to vash.helpers is available within a rendering template via html. For example:

// defined in a JS file or script tag somewhere
vash.helpers.echo = function(arg){ return arg; }





Here is a simple helper that converts text like "This is a holdup!" to "this-is-a-holdup":

vash.helpers.mdHref = function(text){
	return text
		.replace(/[^a-zA-Z0-9-_]+/g, '-')
		.replace(/^-+|\n|-+$/g, '');

Notice how it's just JavaScript. Within a template, it could be accessed via html.mdHref("This is a holdup!").

Built-in Helpers


Available as html.raw within an executing template. By default, all content that passes from a model to a template is HTML encoded. In the event that the text is trusted (or is already encoded), wrap the text in this function. For an example, see HTML Escaping;


Available as html.escape within an executing template, this is the method Vash uses to HTML encode model values. It can also be used manually.


The tplcache is just that, a place to put a global index of templates. This is used primarily for the more "view engine" aspects that Vash provides, as well as a default location for precompiled templates using vash(1).

Layout Helpers

Vash provides a relatively simple but powerful view engine whose API is borrowed directly from Jade. Below is the API, but an example can be found at vash-express-example.

Callbacks are used to maintain compatibility with typical JS syntax.

When running in nodejs and using express, Vash will automatically resolve and load templates using the same conventions as express itself, specifically app.engine. When in the browser, Vash uses the same rules, but looks in vash.helpers.tplcache instead.


vash.helpers.extend(parent_path, cb)

This is Vash's main form of inheritance for view templates. parent_path is the location or name of the template to be extended.

A template can define various locations in itself that can be overridden or added to. In addition, a template that calls extend can even be extended itself!

In the following example, this template extends another named layout.vash. Layout.vash defines an empty block named 'content', which is overrided in this example.

@html.extend('layout', function(model){
	@html.block('content', function(model){
		<h1 class="name">Welcome to </h1>

Tech note: due to the way JS scoping works, the model parameter of the cb function must be explicitely defined as above if it is referenced in the content. This may change in a future version of Vash.



A block is essentially a placeholder within a template that can be overridden via another call to vash.helpers.block, or modified using vash.helpers.append and vash.helpers.prepend.

vash.helpers.block(name, cb)

If cb is defined, then it becomes default content for the block. The eventual contents of the block can still be overridden by a subsequent call to vash.helpers.block using the same name value, either within the current template (silly) or in a template that extends this one using vash.helpers.extend. If vash.helpers.append or vash.helpers.prepend are later called, their content is added to the content defined in cb.

@html.block('main', function(model){
	<p>Hello, I'm default content. It's nice to meet you.</p>

Tech note: due to the way JS scoping works, the model parameter of the cb function must be explicitely defined as above if it is referenced in the content. This may change in a future version of Vash.


vash.helpers.append(name, cb)

vash.helpers.append is a way to control the content of a block from within an extending template. In this way, it allows templates to invert control over content "above" them.

An example is a navigation area. Perhaps there is a default navigation list that templates can add to:

// layout.vash
@html.block('main-nav', function(model){
	<li><a href="/">Home</a></li>

// another.vash
@html.extend('layout', function(model){
	@html.append('main-nav', function(){
		<li><a href="/another">Another Link</a></li>

This would output when fully rendered:

<li><a href="/">Home</a></li>
<li><a href="/another">Another Link</a></li>

Tech note: due to the way JS scoping works, the model parameter of the cb function must be explicitely defined as above if it is referenced in the content. This may change in a future version of Vash.


vash.helpers.prepend(name, cb)

vash.helpers.prepend behaves nearly the same as vash.helpers.append except that it places content at the beginning of a block instead of at the end. The previous example, if prepend were substituted for append, would render as:

<li><a href="/another">Another Link</a></li>
<li><a href="/">Home</a></li>

Tech note: due to the way JS scoping works, the model parameter of the cb function must be explicitely defined as above if it is referenced in the content. This may change in a future version of Vash.


vash.helpers.include(name, model)

This grabs the template name and executes it using model as the... model. vash.helpers.include is used to literally include the contents of another template. It is analogous to a "partial" in other view engines. Except that there is a hidden power here... as included templates share the same "view engine scope" as other templates, and can thus call all of the layout helper functions, and it will just work. Thus, a block within an included template can append to a block defined in a parent. It can even use vash.helpers.extend!

Compiled Helpers

A relatively new feature in Vash (added in 0.6), compiled helpers are a bit meta. They allow a developer to write a helper using Vash syntax instead of the manual buffer API. The below buffer API example imgfigure could be rewritten:

vash.helpers.imgfigure = function(path, caption){
	vash.helpers.imgfigure.figcount = vash.helpers.imgfigure.figcount || 0;
	var figcount = vash.helpers.imgfigure.figcount;
	<figure id="fig-@(figcount++)">
		<img src="@path" alt="@caption" />
		<figcaption>Fig. @figcount: @caption</figcaption>

There are two ways to compile a helper. The first is using vash.compileHelper, the second is using vash(1)'s --helper option.

Buffer API

Within a helper (not a template), this refers to the current Helpers instance. Every instance has a Buffer that has methods to help easily add, subtract, or mark content put there by the rendering template.

Adding to the buffer:

vash.helpers.imgfigure = function(path, caption){
	vash.helpers.imgfigure.figcount = vash.helpers.imgfigure.figcount || 0;
	var figcount = vash.helpers.imgfigure.figcount++;
	this.buffer.push('<figure id="fig-' + figcount + '">';
	this.buffer.push('<img src="' + path + '" alt="' + caption + '" />';
	this.buffer.push('<figcaption>Fig.' + figcount + ':' + caption + '</figcaption>';

Here is a more advanced example, which is contained within Vash:

vash.helpers.highlight = function(lang, cb){

	// context (this) is an instance of Helpers, aka a rendering context

	// mark() returns an internal `Mark` object
	// Use it to easily capture output...
	var startMark = this.buffer.mark();

	// cb() is simply a user-defined function. It could (and should) contain
	// buffer additions, so we call it...

	// ... and then use fromMark() to grab the output added by cb().
	var cbOutLines = this.buffer.fromMark(startMark);

	// The internal buffer should now be back to where it was before this
	// helper started, and the output is completely contained within cbOutLines.

	this.buffer.push( '<pre><code>' );

	if( helpers.config.highlighter ){
		this.buffer.push( helpers.config.highlighter(lang, cbOutLines.join('')).value );
	} else {
		this.buffer.push( cbOutLines );

	this.buffer.push( '</code></pre>' );

	// returning is allowed, but could cause surprising effects. A return
	// value will be directly added to the output directly following the above.

A Mark is effectively a placeholder that can be used to literally mark the rendered content, and later do something with that mark. Possibilities include inserting content at the mark, deleting content that follows a mark, and more. It is an internal constructor that is only ever created through the Buffer#mark method within a helper. Examples of Mark usage can be found in the layout helpers code.

TODO: Explain the Buffer methods:

  • mark
  • fromMark
  • spliceMark
  • empty
  • push
  • pushConcat
  • indexOf
  • lastIndexOf
  • splice
  • index
  • flush
  • toString
  • toHtmlString

Precompiling Templates

To save both processing time (compiling templates is not trivial) as well as bandwidth (no need to send the whole compiler to the client), Vash supports precompilation of templates. Any template that Vash compiles is given a method called toClientString. This method returns a string that can either be evaled or sent to a remote client. For example:


Compiles to a function:

function anonymous(model,html,__vopts,vash) {
	var __vbuffer = html.buffer;
	html.options = __vopts;
	model = model || {};
	(__vopts && __vopts.onRenderEnd && __vopts.onRenderEnd(null, html));
	return (__vopts && __vopts.asContext)
		? html
		: html.toString();

If toClientString is called on that function, the following is returned: function anonymous(model,html,__vopts,vash) {
	var __vbuffer = html.buffer;
	html.options = __vopts;
	model = model || {};
	(__vopts && __vopts.onRenderEnd && __vopts.onRenderEnd(null, html));
	return (__vopts && __vopts.asContext)
		? html
		: html.toString();
}, {"simple":false,"modelName":"model","helpersName":"html"} )

This string could then be sent to the client (probably prefixed with something like TPLCACHE["name-of-template"] = ). vash(1) helps to automate this easily.

Note: this assumes that vash is available globally. A future version of Vash will hopefully remove this assumption.

Vash Runtime (Browser)

The Vash runtime is a set of functions that every executing template expects to be available. The runtime is automatically packaged with full Vash builds. However, if only precompiled templates are sent to the browser, then only the runtime must be sent. The runtime includes all helpers and a few standard functions, such as HTML Escaping.

There are two runtime builds:

  • vash-runtime.js: This is the basic runtime. It contains everything a standard Vash template needs to execute.
  • vash-runtime-all.js: This also includes the Layout Helpers. It is roughly twice as large as vash-runtime.js. Unless you're using the Vash view system in the browser, this is probably not necessary.

If you're in a Browserify-like environemnt, you should be able to:

var vashruntime = require('vash/runtime');

..and have access to the Runtime API.

Compile-time API


vash.compile(str_template, opt_options) -> Function

At its core, Vash has a compile function that accepts a string and options, and returns a function, otherwise known as a compiled template. That function, when called with a parameter (otherwise known as a model), will use that parameter to fill in the template. A model can be any value, including undefined, objects, arrays, strings, and booleans.


vash.compileHelper(str_template, opt_options) -> Object

See Compiled Helpers for more detail.


vash.compileBatch(str_template, opt_options) -> Object

This function can take a single string containing many named templates, and output an object containing the compiled versions of those templates. A "named template" is of the form (similar to a sourceURL):

//@batch = div

//@batch = a

This example contains two named templates, "div" and "a". If this example were passed as a single string to compileBatch:

var tpls = vash.compileBatch(theTplString);

One could be called:

// returns: <div>yes!</div>

This is meant as a convenience function for developers. Putting each template in a separate file can get old, especially if a template is small. Instead, templates can be grouped together. The object returned also has a custom toClientString function, which serializes each template in the object automatically.

Aside from the newline following the "name" of the template, whitespace is ignored:

//@              batch = div
//         @batch =div

Each is treated the same.

Runtime API, options) -> Function, options) -> Function

This is primarily an internal function, and has relatively complex behavioral differences depending on what options are passed in. It takes either a decompiled string function or function instance and "links" it by wrapping it in a closure that provides access to Vash's runtime functions. It also sets up things like toClientString and toString. It makes precompiled functions possible. As a developer working on Vash, it's best to take a look at the source itself.


vash.lookup(str_path) -> Function

Attempts to grab a template from vash.helpers.tplcache[str_path], and throws an exception if it is not found.

vash.lookup(str_path, model) -> Function

If model is passed and the template is found, the template is automatically executed and returned using model as the model.


vash.install accepts a few signatures:

vash.install(str_path, func_tpl) -> func_tpl

"Saves" the template at vash.helpers.tplcache[str_path].

vash.install(str_path, str_tpl) -> func_tpl

If vash.compile is available (meaning the entire compiler is available, not just the runtime), then the string is automatically compiled. and saved at vash.helpers.tplcache[str_path].

vash.install(obj) -> obj

If an object containing string keys pointing at template functions is passed, then the object's keys are used as the keys for vash.helpers.tplcache. This is especially useful when using vash.compileBatch, as the result can be directly passed.


vash.uninstall(str_path) -> bool

Deletes the key named str_path from vash.helpers.tplcache.

vash.uninstall(func_tpl) -> bool

Loops through all templates in vash.helpers.tplcache, and if a strict equality is successful, deletes that reference.


Vash also includes a commandline tool that enables easy integration of templates into a unix toolchain. For example, to compile this documentation, the following command is used:

bin/vash <README2.vash --render --helpers <(bin/vash <docs/helpers/* --helper) >

This first grabs all files in docs/helpers/, and compiles them as Vash helpers using the --helper option. These compiled helpers are then fed via a temporary named pipe into the --helpers option, which accepts a file. This option user the file (temporary, in this case) as helpers, and they are added to the rendering context's prototype (see Helper System. Next, README2.vash is fed into vash(1), which is told to both compile the input as a template, and render it immediately, using the --render option. Granted, this is not how bash actually handles it, but this explanation will suffice.

In short, this loads and compiles helpers necessary for this document, grabs the file, and renders the whole thing as plain markdown.

vash(1) has many options:

-h, --help                          output usage information
-t, --target-namespace <namespace>  Assign template to a <namespace>. Recommended is `vash.helpers.tplcache` for view engine compatibility
-p, --property-name [name]          Assign template to property named [name]. Defaults to filename, and requires --target-namespace.
-f, --file <file>                   Compile the template in <file>
-j, --json <json>                   Pass options to the Vash compiler. See docs for valid options.
-o, --out <path>                    Write template into <path> directory
-u, --uglify                        Uglify the template, safely
-a, --no-autolink                   Wrap each template in ``.
-r, --render [json]                 Render the template using [json] as the model. If [json] is not valid json, assume a filename and load those contents as json.
-s, --separator [separator]         Templates are auto-named by concatenating the file path with [separator]
--helper                            Assume the input is a to-be-compiled helper
--helpers <file>                    Execute these compiled helpers

Some of the options are explained in greater detail below.


vash(1) comes with Vash, so it will always be within node_modules/vash/bin/. However, a global install is also supported, which can be accomplished via:

npm install -g vash


Assigns the compiled template to a specific "namespace". This value only supports simple namespaces, such as blah.who.what.something.

Using this option while piping into vash(1) REQUIRES --property-name to also be specified.


$ echo 'function(){}' | bin/vash \
--target-namespace "vash.helpers.tplcache" \
--property-name 'myTpl'

vash = vash || {};
vash.helpers = vash.helpers || {};
vash.helpers.tplcache = vash.helpers.tplcache || {};
vash.helpers.tplcache["myTpl"] ... )


Specifies what name to use when assigning the compiled template. Defaults to the filename specified with --file. If content is piped into vash(1), then this option is MANDATORY.


This instructs vash(1) to call vash.compileHelper instead of vash.compile, and assumes the input is a template that is meant to be a compiled helper.

An empty helper:

$ echo 'vash.helpers.who = function(){}' | bin/vash --helper --json '{"debug":false}' function anonymous() {
var __vbuffer = this.buffer;
var model = this.model;
var html = this;
}, {"simple":false,"modelName":"model","helpersName":"html","args":[""],"asHelper":"who"} )

And without --helper, vash(1) just outputs an empty template:

$ echo 'vash.helpers.who = function(){}' | bin/vash --json '{"debug":false}' function anonymous(model,html,__vopts,vash) {
var __vbuffer = html.buffer;
html.options = __vopts;
model = model || {};
__vbuffer.push('vash.helpers.who = function(){}\n');
(__vopts && __vopts.onRenderEnd && __vopts.onRenderEnd(null, html));
return (__vopts && __vopts.asContext)
  ? html
  : html.toString();
}, {"simple":false,"modelName":"model","helpersName":"html"} )

Contributing / Building

Please see In general, if you want something that Vash doesn't have, file a ticket. Pull Requests are also always welcome!

Getting Help

File a ticket! Or hit me up on Twitter: @KirbySaysHi

Special Thanks

Extreme thanks goes to TJ Holowaychuck and his template engine Jade. It was the original inspiration for Vash's lexer, Layout Helpers, and error reporting, and has been a constant source of inspiration and motivation.

Some of the techniques Vash's compiler uses were directly inspired from doT.

Dev doc styling (gfm.css) from

And of course to Vash's contributors.



  1. Razor syntax was developed at Microsoft, and typically refers to their Razor View Engine, which ships with ASP.NET MVC 3 and above. In this document, "Razor" will refer to the Razor View Engine, while "syntax" or "Vash syntax" refers to Vash's implementation.
  2. This document starts off as a [Vash template][] that is then compiled and rendered via [vash(1)][] into markdown! It uses several custom helpers that are not shipped with Vash, but are of course available [for perusal][]. They include things like these footnotes and an autogenerated and linked table of contents.
  3. </ol>



Package last updated on 15 Mar 2020

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