Charcoal View (templates rendering and tools)

0.4.0 2019-11-04 20:17 UTC


The Charcoal\View module (locomotivemtl/charcoal-view) provides everything needed to render templates and add renderer to objects.

It is a thin layer on top of various rendering engines, such as mustache or twig that can be used either as a View component with any frameworks, as PSR-7 renderer for such frameworks (such as Slim)

It is the default view layer for charcoal-app projects.

Build Status SensioLabsInsight

Table of content

How to install

The preferred (and only supported) way of installing charcoal-view is with composer:

$ composer require locomotivemtl/charcoal-view

To install a full Charcoal project, which includes charcoal-view:

$ composer create-project locomotivemtl/charcoal-project-boilerplate:@dev --prefer-source


Optional dependencies

  • mustache/mustache
    • The default rendering engine is mustache, so it should be included in most cases.
    • All default charcoal modules use mustache templates.
  • twig/twig
    • Twig can also be used as a rendering engine for the view.
  • pimple/pimple
    • Dependencies management can be done with a Pimple ServiceProvider(\Charcoal\View\ViewServiceProvider)
    • It is actually required by default in charcoal-app.

👉 Development dependencies are described in the Development section of this README file.

Basic Usage

A View can be used to render any template (which can be loaded from the engine) with any object (or array, for twig) as context.

use Charcoal\View\Mustache\MustacheLoader;
use Charcoal\View\Mustache\MustacheEngine;
use Charcoal\View\GenericView;

$loader = new MustacheLoader([
    'base_path' => __DIR__,
    'paths'     => [

$engine = new MustacheEngine([
    'loader' => $loader

$view = new GenericView([
    'engine'  => $engine

echo $view->render('foo/bar/template', $context);

// A template string can also be used directly, with `renderTemplate()`
$str = 'My name is {{what}}';
echo $view->renderTemplate($str, $context);

Basic Usage, with service provider

All this bootstrapping code can be avoided by using the ViewServiceProvider. This provider expects a config object

use Pimple\Container;
use Charcoal\View\ViewServiceProvider;

$container = new Container([
    'base_path' => __DIR__,
    'view' = [
        'default_engine' -> 'mustache',
        'paths' => [
$container->register(new ViewServiceProvider());

echo $container['view']->render('foo/bar/template', $context);

👉 The default view engine, used in those examples, would be mustache.

Using the Renderer, with Slim

A view can also be implicitely used as a rendering service. Using the provided view/renderer, with a PSR7 framework (in this example, Slim 3):

use Charcoal\View\ViewServiceProvider;

include 'vendor/autoload.php';

$app = new \Slim\App();
$container = $app->getContainer();
$container->register(new ServiceProvider());

$app->get('/hello/{name}', function ($request, $response, $args) {
    // This will render the "hello" template
    return $this->renderer->render($response, 'hello', $args);


Just like the view, it is possible to simply register all dependencies on a Pimple container (with the ViewServiceProvider) to avoid all this bootstrapping code. The renderer is available as $container['view/renderer'].

Module components

The basic components in charcoal-view are:

  • View, which provide the basic interface to all components.
  • Engine, to actually render the templates.
  • Loader, to load template files.
  • Viewable, which allow any object to be rendered with a View.
  • Renderer, an extra helper to use a view to render into PSR-7 request/response objects.


The Charcoal\View\ViewInterface defines all that is needed to render templates via a view engine:

  • render($templateIdent = null, $context = null)
  • renderTemplate($templateString, $context = null)

The abstract class Charcoal\View\AbstractView fully implements the ViewInterface and adds the methods:

Generic view

As convenience, the \Charcoal\View\GenericView class implements the full interface by extending the AbstractView base class.

View Engines

Charcoal views support different templating Engines_, which are responsible for loading the appropriate template (through a loader) and render a template with a given context according to its internal rules. Every view engines should implement \Charcoal\View\EngineInterface.

There are 3 engines available by default:

  • mustache (default)
  • php
  • twig

Mustache Helpers

Mustache can be extended with the help of helpers. Those helpers can be set by extending view/mustache/helpers in the container:

$container->extend('view/mustache/helpers', function(array $helpers, Container $container) {
    return array_merge($helpers, [
        'my_extended_method' => function($text, LambdaHelper $lambda) {
            if (isset($helper)) {
                $text = $helper->render($text);
            return customMethod($text);

Provided helpers:

  • Assets helpers:
    • purgeJs
    • addJs
    • js
    • addJsRequirement
    • jsRequirements
    • addCss
    • purgeCss
    • css
    • addCssRequirement
    • cssRequirements
    • purgeAssets
  • Translator helpers:
    • _t Translate a string with {{#_t}}String to translate{{/_t}}
  • Markdown helpers:
    • markdown Parse markdown to HTML with {{#markdown}}# this is a H1{{/markdown}}


A Loader service is attached to every engine. Its function is to load a given template content


Templates are simply files, stored on the filesystem, containing the main view (typically, HTML code + templating tags, but can be kind of text data).

  • For the mustache engine, they are .mustache files.
  • For the php engine, they are .php files.

Templates are loaded with template loaders. Loaders implement the Charcoal\View\LoaderInterface and simply tries to match an identifier (passed as argument to the load() method) to a file on the filesystem.

Calling $view->render($templateIdent, $context) will automatically use the engine's Loader object to find the template $templateIdent.

Otherwise, calling $view->renderTemplate($templateString, $context) expects an already-loaded template string as parameter.

Viewable Interface and Trait

Any objects can be made renderable (viewable) by implementing the Charcoal\View\ViewableInterface by using the Charcoal\View\ViewableTrait.

The interface adds the following methods to their implementing objects:

  • setTemplateIdent($ident)
  • templateIdent()
  • setView($view)
  • view()
  • render($templateIdent = null)
  • renderTemplate($templateString)


Given the following classes:

use \Charcoal\View\ViewableInterface;
use \Charcoal\View\ViewableTrait;

class MyObject implements ViewableInterface
    use ViewableTrait;

    public function world()
        return 'world!';

The following code:

$obj = new MyObject();
$obj->renderTemplate('Hello {{world}}');

would output: "Hello world!"

View Service Provider

As seen in the various examples above, it is recommended to use the ViewServiceProvider to set up the various dependencies, according to a config, on a Pimple container.

The Service Provider adds the following service to a container:

  • view The base view instance.
  • view/renderer A PSR-7 view renderer.
  • view/parsedown A parsedown service, to render markdown into HTML.

Other services / options are:

  • view/config View configuration options.
  • view/engine Currently used view engine.
  • view/loader Currently used template loader.

The ViewServiceProvider expects the following services / keys to be set on the container:

  • config Application configuration. Should contain a "view" key to build the ViewConfig obejct.

The View Config

Most service options can be set dynamically from a configuration object (available in $container['view/config']).


    "view": {


To install the development environment:

$ composer install --prefer-source

Run tests with

$ composer test

API documentation

Development dependencies

  • phpunit/phpunit
  • squizlabs/php_codesniffer
  • satooshi/php-coveralls
  • pimple/pimple
  • mustache/mustache
  • twig/twig

Continuous Integration

Service Badge Description
Travis Build Status Runs code sniff check and unit tests. Auto-generates API documentation.
Scrutinizer Scrutinizer Code Quality Code quality checker. Also validates API documentation quality.
Coveralls Coverage Status Unit Tests code coverage.
Sensiolabs SensioLabsInsight Another code quality checker, focused on PHP.

Coding Style

The Charcoal-View module follows the Charcoal coding-style:

Coding style validation / enforcement can be performed with composer phpcs. An auto-fixer is also available with composer phpcbf.



Charcoal is licensed under the MIT license. See LICENSE for details.