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Handlebars Basics

Ember.js uses the Handlebars templating library to power your app's user interface. Handlebars templates contain static HTML and dynamic content inside Handlebars expressions, which are invoked with double curly braces: {{}}.

Dynamic content inside a Handlebars expression is rendered with data-binding. This means if you update a property, your usage of that property in a template will be automatically updated to the latest value.

Displaying Properties

Templates are backed with a context. A context is an object from which Handlebars expressions read their properties. In Ember this is often a component. For templates rendered by a route (like application.hbs), the context is a controller.

For example, this application.hbs template will render a first and last name:

Hello, <strong>{{firstName}} {{lastName}}</strong>!

The firstName and lastName properties are read from the context (the application controller in this case), and rendered inside the <strong> HTML tag.

To provide a firstName and lastName to the above template, properties must be added to the application controller. If you are following along with an Ember CLI application, you may need to create this file:

import Ember from 'ember';

export default Ember.Controller.extend({
  firstName: 'Trek',
  lastName: 'Glowacki'

The above template and controller render as the following HTML:

Hello, <strong>Trek Glowacki</strong>!

Remember that {{firstName}} and {{lastName}} are bound data. That means if the value of one of those properties changes, the DOM will be updated automatically.

As an application grows in size, it will have many templates backed by controllers and components.


Helpers bring a minimum of logic into Ember templating. Ember ships with several built-in helpers, which are explained in the following guides, and also allows you to write your own helpers.