handlebars.vm.js was renamed to handlebars.runtime.js, please update your Javascript manifest.

Use handlebars.js templates with the asset pipeline and sprockets

Are your handlebars.js templates littering your Rails views with script tags? Wondering why the nifty Rails 3.1 asset pipeline streamlines all your Javascript except for your Handlebars templates? Wouldn't it be nice to have your Handlebars templates compiled, compressed, and cached like your other Javascript?

Yea, I think so too. That is why I wrote handlebars_assets. Give your Handlebars templates their own files (including partials) and have them compiled, compressed, and cached as part of the Rails 3.1 asset pipeline!

Using sprockets with Sinatra or another framework? handlebars_assets works outside of Rails too (as of v0.2.0)


handlebars_assets is packaged with v1.0.beta.5 of handlebars.js.

Installation with Rails 3.1+

Load handlebars_assets in your Gemfile as part of the assets group

group :assets do
  gem 'handlebars_assets'

Installation without Rails 3.1+

Load handlebars_assets in your Gemfile

gem 'handlebars_assets'

Compiling your Javascript templates in the Rails asset pipeline

Require handlebars.runtime.js in your Javascript manifest (i.e. application.js)

//= require handlebars.runtime

If you need to compile your Javascript templates in the browser as well, you should instead require handlebars.js (which is significantly larger)

//= require handlebars


handlebars_assets also works when you are precompiling your assets. If you are deploying to Heroku, be sure to read the Rails guide and in your config/application.rb set:

config.assets.initialize_on_precompile = false

Templates directory

You should locate your templates with your other assets, for example app/assets/templates. In your Javascript manifest file, use require_tree to pull in the templates

//= require_tree ../templates

The template file

Write your Handlebars templates as standalone files in your templates directory. Organize the templates similarly to Rails views.

For example, if you have new, edit, and show templates for a Contact model


Your file extensions tell the asset pipeline how to process the file. Use .hbs to compile the template with Handlebars. Combine it with .jst to add the compiled template to the JST global variable.

If your file is templates/contacts/new.hbs, the asset pipeline will generate Javascript code

  1. Compile the Handlebars template to Javascript code
  2. Add the template code to the HandlebarsTemplates global under the name contacts/new

You can then invoke the resulting template in your application's Javascript



sprockets ships with a simple JavaScript template wrapper called JST for use with the ejs and other gems.

handlebars_assets is compatible with JST. If you name your template files name.jst.hbs, you will have access to your templates through the JST global just like your ejs templates.


If you begin the name of the template with an underscore, it will be recognized as a partial. You can invoke partials inside a template using the Handlebars partial syntax:

Invoke a {{> partial }}

Important! Handlebars does not understand nested partials and neither does this engine. No matter how nested, the partial is named from the asset's basename. The following will lead to much frustration (so don't do it :)


TODO document Sinatra setup


This gem is standing on the shoulders of giants.

Thank you Yehuda Katz (@wycats) for handlebars.js and lots of other code I use every day.

Thank you Charles Lowell (@cowboyd) for therubyracer and handlebars.rb.


Once you've made your great commits

  1. Fork
  2. Create a topic branch - git checkout -b my_branch
  3. Push to your branch - git push origin my_branch
  4. Create a Pull Request from your branch
  5. That's it!


  • Les Hill (@leshill)


  • Matt Burke (@spraints) : execjs support
  • (@kendagriff) : 1.8.7 compatibility
  • Thorben Schröder (@walski) : 3.1 asset group for precompile
  • Erwan Barrier (@erwanb) : Support for plain sprockets