Go by Example: Text Templates

Go offers built-in support for creating dynamic content or showing customized output to the user with the text/template package. A sibling package named html/template provides the same API but has additional security features and should be used for generating HTML.

package main
import (
func main() {

We can create a new template and parse its body from a string. Templates are a mix of static text and “actions” enclosed in {{...}} that are used to dynamically insert content.

    t1 := template.New("t1")
    t1, err := t1.Parse("Value is {{.}}\n")
    if err != nil {

Alternatively, we can use the template.Must function to panic in case Parse returns an error. This is especially useful for templates initialized in the global scope.

    t1 = template.Must(t1.Parse("Value: {{.}}\n"))

By “executing” the template we generate its text with specific values for its actions. The {{.}} action is replaced by the value passed as a parameter to Execute.

    t1.Execute(os.Stdout, "some text")
    t1.Execute(os.Stdout, 5)
    t1.Execute(os.Stdout, []string{

Helper function we’ll use below.

    Create := func(name, t string) *template.Template {
        return template.Must(template.New(name).Parse(t))

If the data is a struct we can use the {{.FieldName}} action to access its fields. The fields should be exported to be accessible when a template is executing.

    t2 := Create("t2", "Name: {{.Name}}\n")
    t2.Execute(os.Stdout, struct {
        Name string
    }{"Jane Doe"})

The same applies to maps; with maps there is no restriction on the case of key names.

    t2.Execute(os.Stdout, map[string]string{
        "Name": "Mickey Mouse",

if/else provide conditional execution for templates. A value is considered false if it’s the default value of a type, such as 0, an empty string, nil pointer, etc. This sample demonstrates another feature of templates: using - in actions to trim whitespace.

    t3 := Create("t3",
        "{{if . -}} yes {{else -}} no {{end}}\n")
    t3.Execute(os.Stdout, "not empty")
    t3.Execute(os.Stdout, "")

range blocks let us loop through slices, arrays, maps or channels. Inside the range block {{.}} is set to the current item of the iteration.

    t4 := Create("t4",
        "Range: {{range .}}{{.}} {{end}}\n")
$ go run templates.go 
Value: some text
Value: 5
Value: [Go Rust C++ C#]
Name: Jane Doe
Name: Mickey Mouse
Range: Go Rust C++ C# 

Next example: Regular Expressions.