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Mustache vs Thymeleaf: What are the differences?


Mustache and Thymeleaf are both popular template engines used in web development. While they serve a similar purpose of separating the presentation and logic layers in a web application, there are key differences between them.

  1. Variable Usage: Mustache uses a simple syntax for variables, where you just need to wrap the variable name with double curly braces, for example, {{ variable }}. Thymeleaf, on the other hand, uses a more expressive syntax with attributes like th:text or th:field to bind and display variables. This allows Thymeleaf to provide additional functionality like conditional expressions and iteration that are not available in Mustache.

  2. Template Composition: Mustache focuses on keeping templates as simple as possible and encourages reusability through partials. It does not support template composition natively, and you need to rely on external tools or frameworks to achieve this. Thymeleaf, on the other hand, supports template composition out of the box through its layout dialect. This allows for reusable layout templates and easier management of shared content.

  3. Client-side Rendering: Mustache is primarily designed for server-side rendering, where the template is processed on the server and the resulting HTML is sent to the client. Thymeleaf, on the other hand, supports both server-side and client-side rendering. It provides JavaScript events and expressions to enhance the rendering on the client side, making it suitable for more interactive web applications.

  4. Integration with Spring Framework: Thymeleaf has a tight integration with the Spring Framework. It supports powerful features like form binding, validation, and internationalization that simplify web application development with Spring. Mustache, on the other hand, is a standalone template engine and does not have any specific integration with the Spring Framework. It can be used with Spring, but it requires additional configuration and libraries.

  5. Template Syntax: Mustache has a very simple and lightweight syntax, which makes it easy to learn and use. It follows the principle of "logic-less" templates and focuses on simplicity and readability. Thymeleaf, on the other hand, has a more feature-rich syntax with a wide range of attributes and directives. This allows for more powerful template manipulation and dynamic rendering, but it also introduces a steeper learning curve.

  6. Ecosystem and Community: Mustache has been around for quite some time and has a mature and stable ecosystem. It is supported by many different languages and frameworks, making it a popular choice for cross-platform development. Thymeleaf, on the other hand, has gained popularity mainly in the Java ecosystem, especially with the Spring Framework community. It has a growing community and a range of plugins and integrations specifically designed for Java web development.

In Summary, Mustache and Thymeleaf differ in their variable usage, template composition capabilities, support for client-side rendering, integration with the Spring Framework, template syntax complexity, and their respective ecosystems and communities.

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Pros of Mustache
Pros of Thymeleaf
  • 29
    Dead simple templating
  • 12
    Open source
  • 8
  • 1
    Support in lots of languages
  • 4
    Its delicous

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What is Mustache?

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.

What is Thymeleaf?

It is a modern server-side Java template engine for both web and standalone environments. It is aimed at creating elegant web code while adding powerful features and retaining prototyping abilities.

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What tools integrate with Mustache?
What tools integrate with Thymeleaf?
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    What are some alternatives to Mustache and Thymeleaf?
    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.
    JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
    Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
    GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.
    Python is a general purpose programming language created by Guido Van Rossum. Python is most praised for its elegant syntax and readable code, if you are just beginning your programming career python suits you best.
    See all alternatives