[Nitro] Nitro templating question

James Britt james_b at neurogami.com
Sat Jan 7 14:44:22 EST 2006

Bryan Soto wrote:
> So rather than elements, James would like external layouts similar to 
> Rails and Rob would like to be able to specify external template files 
> rather than coding the view in the element itself. Correct?

Not quite.  I'm not asking that Elements go away or anything, or that I 
can't find a use for them, but I am looking for a simple way to do 
Dreamweaver-style templates when I want to.

Dreamweaver lets you create a template that defines an entire page (what 
Rials calls a 'layout'), with slots for inserting free-form content or 
calls to library templates (which render small chunks of stuff; what 
Rials calls 'partials').

Dreamweaver was the first place I saw this template style; I used Rails 
as an example because I thought most here would be reasonably familiar 
with it, but it's not unique or original to Rails, and I don't want to 
encourage Rails/Nitro comparisons, because I think they serve different 

Bryan's earlier reply to my inquires got me pointed in the right 
direction, and I had little trouble making use of Elements and Pages. 
And indeed it would be trivial to write my code to slurp in a disk file 
rather than have the HTML stuffed into a method.  Whether or not there 
should be a built-in Nitro way to do that file-slurping is another 
matter.  I'd like to see it, because I think that's something I would 
use, but since Ruby/Nitro makes it easy to alter things, it isn't essential.

> So how should it work?
> According to the Rails book, a layout should be defined with the same 
> name as the controller, and any action called on that controller will 
> use that template. I'm sure they also have a method where you can 
> specify a different name. So that's one option.

I've been a big fan of convention over configuration since the late 
'90s, and I like the idea that if I simple name something correctly and 
place it in a reasonable spot, Nitro will just Do The Right Thing.

For example, if I have a file named main.layout.xhtml in my templates 
directory, Nitro could just figure out that I want to use a layout for 
the main controller.  Methods that that do not want a layout would then 
need to say so, or they could explicitly request the use of a different 

If there is no *.layout.* file, then it is assumed that none is to be 
used unless a controller method explicitly asks for one by name.


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