About Template Engine Factory

This module helps separate logic from markup. It turns ProcessWire templates into controllers which can interact over a new API variable with various template engines like Smarty or Twig. Any template engine can be added to the factory as separate module.

Category 1Development Tools
Modules that have more to do with assisting development of a site rather than managing its content.
Category 2Markup Generation
Markup modules that are called upon to generate or parse markup (like HTML). Markup modules are most often used on the front-end of a site (rather than admin).
Category 3Other Modules
Modules that have a unique purpose not covered by existing categories.
Release StateStable
Should be safe for use in production environments. *
Module Version1.1.0
Class NameTemplateEngineFactory
Compatibility2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 3.0
Date AddedJuly 3, 2014
Last UpdatedJune 24, 2016
Recommended ByNew recommendations may take up to 1 day to appear.


This module's files should be placed in /site/modules/TemplateEngineFactory/
How to install or uninstall modules



ProcessWire module helping to separate logic from markup. It turns ProcessWire templates into "controllers" which can interact over a new API variable with various template engines like "Smarty" or "Twig". Any template engine can be added to the factory as separate module.

Implemented engines


Install the module just like any other ProcessWire module. Check out the following guide: http://modules.processwire.com/install-uninstall/


The goal of this module is to implement the MVC pattern as simple as possible. The ProcessWire template files under /site/templates/ can act as controllers, containing pure logic. A controller delegates the output/markup to a corresponding template file. This delegation is abstracted by the module so that any template engine can be used by the developer.


  • Template Engine The template engine that is used to render your templates. Any installed engine is listed here. By default, you can choose "ProcessWire", the engine that ships with this module. To use another engine like "Smarty" or "Twig", download the module (see links above) and install it. Once installed, the engine is recognized and selectable here.
  • API variable This is the variable you can use in the controllers (ProcessWire templates) to access the template of the current page.

Any specific configurations related to the engines are set in the config options of the engine itself, e.g. "TemplateEngineProcesswire". Each engine has the following default config options available:

  • Path to templates Relative path from the site directory where template files are stored. E.g. "templates/views/" resolves to "/site/templates/views/"
  • Template files suffix File extension of template files
  • Global template file Filename of a template file that is used as main template behind the API variable

How does it work?

For each controller that is outputting markup, a corresponding template file should exist (in the template files directory configured per engine). The default convention is that the template file has the same name as the controller (aka ProcessWire template):

  • Template /site/templates/views/home.php corresponds to controller /site/templates/home.php
  • Template /site/templates/views/product.php corresponds to controller /site/templates/product.php

Depending on the setting "Global template file" of the activated engine, the factory tries to load the template file of the current page's controller or the global template file. If a template file is found, an instance of it is accessible over the API variable. If no template file is found, the factory assumes that the controller does not output markup over the template engine. In this case, the hook to modify the behaviour of Page::render() is not attached - everything works "normal".

The following example uses the ProcessWire template engine:

// In controller file: /site/templates/home.php
if ($input->post->form) {
  // Do some processing, send mail, save data...
$view->set('foo', 'bar');
$view->set('show_nav', true);
$view->set('nav_pages', $pages->get('/')->children());
// Or pass multiple values to the view with setArray
  'foo' => 'bar',
  'show_nav' => true,
  'nav_pages' => $pages->get('/')->children()

In the example above, some logic is processed if a form was sent. Note that there is no markup generated, because this should now be done by the corresponding template file! Over the new API variable $view, key/value pairs are passed to the template. Here is an example how the template file could look like:

// In template file: /site/templates/view/home.php
<h1><?= $page->title ?></h1>
<p>Foo: <?= $foo ?></p>

<?php if ($show_nav): ?>
  <?php foreach ($nav_pages as $p): ?>
    <li><a href="<?= $p->url ?>"><?= $p->title ?></a></li>
  <?php endforeach; ?>
<?php endif; ?>

Assume there is installed the module "TemplateEngineSmarty" and Smarty is chosen as the active template engine. The template file could look like this:

// In template file: /site/templates/smarty/home.tpl
<p>Foo: {$foo}</p>
{if $show_nav}
  {foreach $nav_pages as $p}
    <li><a href="{$p->url}">{$p->title}</a></li>

The introduced API variable acts as a gateway to the active template engine. This means that the template engine can be switched at any time without the need to change the controller logic. In the previous example, the controller logic is still the same but the template engine was switched from "ProcessWire" to "Smarty".

Load and output markup of other template files

Use the "TemplateEngineFactory" module to load any template file and output it's markup:

// In controller file: /site/templates/product.php
$factory = $modules->get('TemplateEngineFactory');
$partial = $factory->load('chunks/product_partial.tpl');
$partial->set('product_title', $page->title);
$partial->set('date', date('d.m.Y'));
$partial_output = $partial->render();
$view->set('partial', $partial_output);

The example above loads a template file called "product_partial.tpl" and passes some variables. Calling render() returns the rendered markup of the template file.

NOTE: Versions >= 1.1.0 of this module provide an API variable $factory by default, so the step to get the module is not needed anymore.


A chunk represents a reusable part of a template. It consists of a PHP file containing some logic and a template file which is responsible to render the chunk.

// The path to the chunk is relative to site/templates without the php suffix
$chunk = $factory->chunk('chunks/nav-item');
// You can pass any variables to the chunk, they become available as locally scoped variables
$chunk->active = true;
$chunk->set('hidden', false);
// Returns the markup from the associated template file (view) from the active TemplateEngine. By default, the chunk's template file is looked up at the same path as the chunk file, relative to the storage location of the active template engine, e.g. /site/templates/views/chunks/nav-item.tpl

Important: Caching

Since former ProcessWire templates are now controllers that generally do not output any markup, the ProcessWire template cache should NOT be active. Deactivate cache in the settings of your template under the section "Cache".

It is possible for any template engine to support additional caching. At the moment only "Smarty" supports caching of it's own templates. If caching is supported by the engine, the following methods are available for you (advanced usage):

// These methods are only available if the selected engine supports caching!!
// Do only process logic if no cache file is existing
if (!$view->isCached()) {
  $view->txt = "No cache exists, I pass this variable";
// Clear cache of current template file
// Clear cache of all template files

If caching is supported by the engine, the TemplateEngineFactory module takes care of clearing the cache whenever pages are saved or deleted.

Implementing a template engine

Implementing another template engine is straightforward. Please take a look at the implemented engines like "Smarty" or "Twig" to see some examples. Your engine needs to extend the abstract class "TemplateEngine" and implement some methods.

class TemplateEngineMyEngine extends TemplateEngine implements Module, ConfigurableModule
  public function initEngine()
    // This method is called by the TemplateEngineFactory after creating an instance. Setup the engine here.
  public function set($key, $value)
    // Pass a key/value pair to your engine
  public function render()
    // Output the markup of the loaded template file

After installing the "TemplateEngineMyEngine" module, the engine is recognized by the "TemplateEngineFactory" and can be used to render the markup.


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