bizreach / play2-handlebars   0.4.3

Apache License 2.0 GitHub plugin for Play framework 2

Scala versions: 2.12 2.11 2.10

play2-handlebars Build Status

Play framework plugin for

play2-handlebars is a tiny play framework plugin to generate html and other test output from Hanldebars template. It also provides some helper features for Scala specific processing.

  • Generate HTML text by HBS object
  • Receive Case Class and Map object as parameters
  • Cache compiled Handlebars templates
  • Aware of Development/Production mode
object Application extends Controller {

  def simple = Action {
    Ok(HBS("simple", "who" -> "World"))


Twirl vs Handlebars

The reasons why we have created this plugins are :

  • Handlebars reloads much faster. Twirl is a great framework and we can detect many error things in the compilation time and makes refactoring easy. But sometimes that's too much, we just want to add CSS class.

  • Knowledge sharing between frontend and backend. Handlebars is one of the most popular template libraries in JavaScript side also. used in this plugin is also great and matured. We believe that front-end engineers and UI designers get understood soon without any new knowledge like Scala.

  • But sometimes Handlebars' grammer conflicts with other formats such as AngularJS.

  • But you cannot know any template issues before first access. No type safe accesses.

Getting Started

1. Add a dependency in build.sbt

Create a new play application and add the library dependency in build.sbt like the below.

Play 2.6

libraryDependencies += Seq(
  "" %% "play2-handlebars" % "0.4.3"

Play 2.4 (2.5)

libraryDependencies += Seq(
  "" %% "play2-handlebars" % "0.3.1"

Play 2.3

libraryDependencies += Seq(
  "" %% "play2-handlebars" % "0.2.0"

If you choose SNAPSHOT versions, add a resolver also like the below.

resolvers ++= Seq(
  "Maven Central Snapshots" at ""

2. Add the plugin to your application

Play 2.4(or higher) runtime dependency injection

Add a line in conf/application.conf

play.modules.enabled += ""

Play 2.4(or higher) compile time dependency injection

Extend your application's components with in your ApplicationLoader.


class MyApplicationLoader extends ApplicationLoader {
  override def load(context: Context) = new MyAppComponents(context).application

class MyAppComponents(context: Context) extends BuiltInComponentsFromContext(context) with HandlebarsComponents

Play 2.3

Add a line in conf/play.plugins

3. Add a template in views/simple.hbs

Hello {{who}}!

4. Use HBS object instead of Twirl in controller

package controllers

import play.api.mvc._

object Application extends Controller {

  def simple = Action {
    Ok(HBS("simple", "who" -> "World"))


Remember to update rotues file.

5. Finally, open your browser.

Hello World!


Add configuration in conf/application.conf if needed like the below.

play2handlebars {
  root = "/app/hbs-views"
  enableCache = false
  useClassPathLoader = false
  helpers = [
Property name How to set Default
play2handlebars.root The root path of the views. /app/views
play2handlebars.enableCache If compiled tamplates are cached of not. The default value depends on the mode true in Development/Test, false in Production
play2handlebars.useClassPathLoader If true, ClassPathTemplateLoader is used if false, FileTemplateLoader is used. The default value depends on the mode false in Development/Test, true in Production
play2handlebars.helpers List of helpers. See HelperSource section of empty list


Helper feature which exist both in Java and JavaScript implementation is useful. In, you can register objects and class instances which have public methods.

For example, create HelperSourceJa and add into the configuration,

object HelperSourceJa {

  def WithSan(value: String):String =
    value + "-san"


Also set in templates:

Hello {{WithMr who}}!

Then you will see:

Hello World-san!


In Development mode, play2-handlebars reads template files based on relative file directory position. On the other hand, in Production mode, it reads them inside class paths. Although you can change that by specifying useClassPathLoader, you might need to configure a few things in build.sbt.

This may not be the best solution, but let me show our solution in our products. See the complete sample in the sample application.

// This code derives from play.PlayCommands trait
// To skip unexpected reloading when static files and template files change
// This unexpected phenomenon has started happening since unmanagedResourceDirectories is added.
// Here, resources are removed from the original code
val playMonitoredFilesTask = (thisProjectRef, state) map { (ref, state) =>
  val src = Play.inAllDependencies(ref, unmanagedSourceDirectories in Compile, Project structure state).foldLeft(Seq.empty[File])(_ ++ _)
  val assets = Play.inAllDependencies(ref, unmanagedSourceDirectories in Assets, Project structure state).foldLeft(Seq.empty[File])(_ ++ _)
  val public = Play.inAllDependencies(ref, unmanagedResourceDirectories in Assets, Project structure state).foldLeft(Seq.empty[File])(_ ++ _)
  (src ++ assets ++ public).map { f =>
    if (!f.exists) f.mkdirs(); f

lazy val main = Project("root", file("."))

    // To include in the class path
    unmanagedResourceDirectories in Compile += baseDirectory.value / "resources",



Sample Application

See src/test/play2-handlebars-sample


Version Description
0.4.3 Add decoding for variable names with special characters, upgrade to 4.1.0
0.4.1 Fix value mapping issue in lazy val
0.4.0 Play 2.6 and Scala 2.12 support
0.3.1 Support for compile time DI
0.3 Updated the initialization part for Play 2.4
0.2 Added JSON resolver as default, and updated several small things.
0.1 Scala 2.10 / 2.11 are supported. Initial release.


Other solutions

We have chosen the stable product,, but handlebars.scala looks a great hanlebars implementation for Scala developers.