Using Cheetah templates with Django

Some time ago after reading a post on Eric Florenzano's blog about hacking together support for Cheetah with Django, I decided to add "proper" support for Cheetah/Django to Cheetah v2.2.1 (released June 1st, 2009). At the time I didn't use Django for anything, so I didn't really think about it too much more.

Now that I work at Apture, which uses Django as part of its stack, Cheetah and Django playing nicely together is more attractive to me and as such I wanted to jot down a quick example project for others to use for getting started with Cheetah and Django. You can find the django_cheetah_example project on GitHub, but the gist of how this works is as follows.


Getting Started

For all intents and purposes, using Cheetah in place of Django's templating system is a trivial change in how you write your views.

After following the Django getting started documentation, you'll want to create a directory for your Cheetah templates, such as Cheetar/templates. Be sure to touch __init__.py in your template directory to ensure that templates can be imported if they need to.

Add your new template directory to the TEMPLATE_DIRS attribute in your project's settings.py.

Once that is all set up, utilizing Cheetah templates in Django is just a matter of a few lines in your view code: import Cheetah.Django

def index(req):
    return Cheetah.Django.render('index.tmpl', greet=False)</code>

Note: Any keyword-arguments you pass into the Cheetah.Django.render() function will be exposed in the template's "searchList", meaning you can then access them with $-placeholders. (i.e. $greet)

With the current release of Cheetah (v2.4.1), there isn't support for using pre-compiled Cheetah templates with Django (it'd be trivial to put together though) which means Cheetah.Django.render() uses Cheetah's dynamic compilation mode which can add a bit of overhead since templates are compiled at runtime (your mileage may vary).

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