HAML Tutorial

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .
haml logo
Haml logo (2014)
Haml 1-5 logo
old haml logo. (~2006 to 2013)

Haml is a template for HTML.

Haml and Sass are popular in web dev circle for generating HTML/CSS on the fly.

Sass (stylesheet language) generates to CSS. [see Visual CSS] [see Sass Tutorial]

Haml is created in 2006. Sass is created in 2007. Both are created by Hampton Catlin (born 1982)

Here is a sample haml file:

%html{ :xmlns => "http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml", :lang => "en", "xml:lang" => "en"}
    %title BoBlog
    %meta{"http-equiv" => "Content-Type", :content => "text/html; charset=utf-8"}
    %link{"rel" => "stylesheet", "href" => "main.css", "type" => "text/css"}
      %h1 BoBlog
      %h2 Bob's Blog
      - @entries.each do |entry|
          %h3.title= entry.title
          %p.date= entry.posted.strftime("%A, %B %d, %Y")
          %p.body= entry.body
        All content copyright © Bob

The above haml file generates this XHTML:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html lang='en' xml:lang='en' xmlns='http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml'>
    <meta content='text/html; charset=utf-8' http-equiv='Content-Type' />
    <link href="/stylesheets/main.css" media="screen" rel="Stylesheet" type="text/css" />
    <div id='header'>
      <h2>Bob's Blog</h2>
    <div id='content'>
      <div class='entry'>
        <h3 class='title'>Halloween</h3>
        <p class='date'>Tuesday, October 31, 2006</p>
        <p class='body'>
          Happy Halloween, glorious readers! I'm going to a party this evening... I'm very excited.
      <div class='entry'>
        <h3 class='title'>New Rails Templating Engine</h3>
        <p class='date'>Friday, August 11, 2006</p>
        <p class='body'>
          There's a very cool new Templating Engine out for Ruby on Rails. It's called Haml.
    <div id='footer'>
        All content copyright © Bob

Installing Haml

on Ubuntu linux:

# install haml
sudo gem install haml

By default, it installs at /usr/local/bin/haml

Haml Syntax Basics

haml --help
Basic doc.
haml --version
Show version

There are 2 classes of haml syntax. One is “static”, one is “dynamic”. Static ones simply convert text to HTML. Dynamic ones are those contain ruby/python etc code that generates output, or set variables, etc.

The following are static syntax. They are simple transformations.

The following are dynamic syntax. They are templates to evaluate code.

!!! Strict
!!! XML
Xml doctype

more stuff


%strong{:class => "xyz", :id => "abc"} all rabbits

<strong class="xyz" id="abc">all rabbits</strong>

.xyz some water

<div class='xyz'>some water</div>

.item{:id => "item#{code1}"}= code2

<div class='item' id='item‹code1 output›'>
‹code2 output›

.item{:id => "item#{item.id}"}= item.body

<div class='item' id='item<%= item.id %>'>
  <%= item.body %>

Markup Langs