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Tutorial: "Hello World" with templates.


Now we are going to create our first project that uses templates.

CppCMS template system consists of two important parts:

  1. The content that is rendered to HTML
  2. The template that can render given content to HTML

First we create content -- data.h:

#ifndef DATA_H
#define DATA_H

#include <cppcms/base_view.h>
#include <string>

namespace data  {
    struct message : public cppcms::base_content {
        std::string message;


We create a content class "message" that must be derived from cppcms::base_content class. It includes the data we want to show. In our case it is a simple string "message".

It is recommended to put all "content" classes to separate namespace.

Once the content is created we can create the template that would render out content my_view.tmpl:

<% c++ #include "data.h" %>
<% namespace my_view %>
<% class message uses data::message %>
<% template render() %>
    <h1><% message %> World!</h1>
<% end template %>
<% end class %>
<% end namespace %>

Every template directive enclosed by pair of <%, %>.

First line <% c++ ... %> represents any C++ code string. We need tell our class what content should be used. Thus we give an "include" for appropriate header.

Then we define namespace where all our templates are placed <% namespace my_view %> and then create a class that renders our content.

<% class message uses data::message %>

Class my_view::message would render data::message content. The primary function that should be implemented is "render()". After <% template render() %> we write the body of our html message.

You can see <% message %> command. It tells that "message" member of our content class should be displayed.

Note: Every std::string automatically receives HTML escaping. Thus it is safe to show any row data there.

Now, lets see how we use it in our code.

First we call use_template("my_view") in the constructor of my_hello_world. It tells to application, which template set should be used for rendering.

Then, in main() function we write:

data::message c;

We create an instance of data::message --- "c". We set its message member with appropriate string we want to show. We may safely put any symbols like "<", they would be automatically escaped.

Then we call render("message",c). It would use my_view::message class for rendering template content "c".

That's it, the code is complete.


There are two options of building templates:

  1. Statically compile them into the executable
  2. Compile them as shared object and load them with application start-up.

Static build

First we compile our template

cppcms_tmpl_cc my_view.tmpl -o my_view.cpp

Then we can build our project

g++ hello.cpp my_view.cpp -lcppcms -o hello.fcgi

Now we run as usuall cppcms_run hello.fcgi -c conf.txt

Dynamic build is little bit more tricky.

After we had build our my_view.cpp we should compile it as shared object:

g++ -shared -fPIC my_view.cpp -lcppcms -o 

Then compile our application with additional flag -export-dynamic.

g++ -export-dynamic hello.cpp -lcppcms -o hello.fcgi 

Without this flag, RTTI, would not work between application and shared object and you may receive a error "incorrect content type".

Now we should let our application know where its templates are placed. We edit conf.txt and add following line:

templates.dirs={ "." }

When hello.fcgi starts, it would look in this directory and try load all shared object it finds.

Now we can start our application as usual.


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