View Engine & Express Generator in Node.js

Level : Intermediate
Mentor: Shailendra Chauhan
Duration : 00:04:00

What is a view engine?

In Express.js, the view engine renders dynamic content on the server before providing it to the client. It allows you to produce HTML pages dynamically by merging data and templates.

Why use a View Engine?

  • Simplifies the process of dynamically creating HTML pages.
  • Allows code to be reused through templates.
  • Separates concerns between the backend logic and the frontend appearance.

Popular View Engines

  • Pug (formerly Jade): Pug (previously Jade) is a compact and flexible template engine that uses indentation for markup.
  • EJS (Embedded JavaScript): JavaScript can be embedded within HTML markup.
  • Handlebars: A minimalist and semantic template engine that supports partials and helpers.

Setting up a View Engine in Express

Configure the app to render dynamic content using templates to set up a view engine in Express. Typically, you install the chosen view engine middleware, such as EJS or Handlebars, set it up in Express, and then render views with dynamic data in your routes. This makes it easy to generate HTML pages using reusable components.

Rendering Views with Express.js

Express.js makes displaying dynamic views easier by integrating several view engines such as EJS, Handlebars, and Pug. It enables developers to dynamically generate HTML pages by combining templates and data.

Data Transfer to Views

Data can be provided to views in Express.js by passing an object containing dynamic information during the rendering process. This information can be retrieved from databases, APIs, or other sources, increasing the flexibility of view rendering.

Layout and partials

Express.js view engines often provide layouts and partials to encourage code reuse and maintainability. Layouts establish the web page's overall layout, whereas partials allow for the construction of reusable components like headers, footers, and sidebars.

Error Handling

Express.js provides techniques for successfully dealing with faults during view rendering. Developers can utilize try-catch blocks in their route handlers or middleware specifically designed to capture and handle errors gracefully, resulting in a more seamless user experience.

Selecting a View Engine

When choosing a view engine for Express.js, developers should consider project requirements, familiarity, and community support. Additionally, aspects such as syntax, performance, and ecosystem should be considered to make an informed option that best meets the project's requirements.

What is an express generator?

Express Generator is a Node.js framework similar to ExpressJS that allows you to quickly and simply construct express applications. It works as a tool for creating Express apps.

Features of Express-Generator

  • Project Structure: For your Express.js application, Express Generator creates a basic project structure that includes folders for routes, views, and public assets.
  • Middleware Integration: It automatically configures several commonly used middleware, such as body-parser and cookie-parser, to handle request data processing.
  • Routing: It creates a basic routing configuration, allowing you to specify routes for various HTTP methods and URLs.
  • Template Engine Integration: It works with a variety of template engines, including Pug (previously known as Jade), EJS, and Handlebars, allowing you to easily render dynamic content.
  • Error Handling: Express Generator includes rudimentary error-handling middleware to deal with issues that arise during request processing.
  • Static File Serving: It enables you to effortlessly serve CSS, JavaScript, and other static files from your application.
  • Development Environment: It includes a development server with hot-reloading functionality, which restarts the server whenever you make changes to your code.
  • Customization: While Express Generator creates a basic project structure, you can customize it using command-line arguments and template engines to customize the generated code to your exact requirements.

Command Options of Express Generator

  • -h, —help: Show the command's help.
  • -V, --version: Provide the version number.
  • --view <engine>: Indicate the desired view engine (pug, ejs, etc.).
  • --css <engine>: Indicate which CSS preprocessor (less, sass, stylus, etc.) to use.
  • --git: Include a.gitignore file in the project that is created.
  • --not-git: A.gitignore file should not be present in the produced project.
  • --force: Even if the directory already exists, requires the creation of the project.
  • --no-force: If the directory already exists, do not compel the creation of the project.
  • --skip-install: After the project is generated, forego installing the npm dependencies.
  • --skip-tests: Don't create any test files.
  • --no-help: Don't include a help command in the project that is created.
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