Handlebars Helpers

When creating custom handlebars sub-templates for your Instant Answer, you have access to a variety of built-in helper functions. In addition to the standard handlebars helpers, the following helpers are provided as part of the Instant Answer framework:

  • #concat: Concatenates all the elements in a collection

  • #stripHTML: Strips HTML tags/elements from text

  • #loop: Counts from zero to the value of context

  • #each: Extends Handlebars' built-in `` lets you specify optional first and last indices

  • #keys: Iterates over the properties of an object and provides a new object containing the "key" and "value"

  • condense: Shortens a string

  • include: Loads the specified Handlebars template and applies it with the current context

  • plural: Returns the value of context and appends the singular or plural form of the specified word

  • numFormat: Delimits a number or string with multiple numbers, using commas or given delimiter

  • imageProxy: Rewrite a URL as a DuckDuckGo image redirect

  • ellipsis: Shortens a string by removing words until string length is <= limit and appends an ellipsis ('...') to the output

  • trim: Removes leading and trailing spaces from text

#concat

Block Helper

Concatenates all the elements in a collection

An optional item separator can be appended to each item and an optional conjunction can be used for the last item.

Example:

{{#concat context sep="," conj="and"}}
{{this}}
{{/concat}}

when context is:

  • ['a'] returns: a
  • ['a', 'b'] returns: a and b
  • ['a', 'b', 'c'] returns: a, b and c

Parameters

sep: string, [optional] Item separator. Default: ''

conj: string, [optional] Final separator, precedes last item. Default: ''

#stripHTML

Block Helper

Strips HTML tags/elements from text

Example:

{{#stripHTML stringWithHTML}}Here is my string: {{this}}{{/stripHTML}}

#loop

Block Helper

Counts from zero to the value of context (assuming context is a number) applying the content of the block each time

Note: A maximum of 100 loops is allowed.

Example:

{{#loop star_rating}}
<img src="{{star}}" class="star"></span>
{{/loop}}

#each

Block Helper

Extends Handlebars' built-in {{each}} lets you specify optional inclusive first and last indices to iterate between

Example:

{{#each myArray from="2" to="5"}} ... {{/each}}

This will limit the iteration to array indices 2, 3 and 4.

If to is not given, defaults to array (or object) length:

{{#each myArray from="2"}} ... {{/each}}

will skip the first two items

If from is not given, defaults to 0:

{{#each myArray to="5"}} ... {{/each}}

will only do the first five items

Parameters

from: number, [optional] Index to start from. Default: 0

to: number, [optional] Index to end on. Default: array/object length

#keys

Block Helper

Iterates over the properties of an object and provides a new object containing the "key" and "value" for each

Example:

{{#keys myObject}}
{{key}} : {{value}}
{{/keys}}

condense

Shortens a string

An optional maximum string length can be provided if preferred.

Example:

{{condense myString maxlen="135" truncation="..."}}

This will output the value of myString up to a maximum of 135 characters (not including the length of the truncation string) and then append the truncation string to the output

Parameters

maxlen: number, [optional] Maximum allowed string length. Default: 10

fuzz: number, The allowable deviation from the maxlen, used to allow a sentence/word to complete if it is less than fuzz characters longer than the maxlen

{string, truncation [optional] The truncation string. Default: '...'

include

Loads the specified Handlebars template and applies it with the current context

Note: There is no recursive cycle detection! Be careful.

Example:

{{include ../myTemplate}}

Applies the template myTemplate using this as the data context

{{include ../myTemplate with="x"}}

Applies the template myTemplate using this.x as the data context. Identical to:

{{#with x}} {{include ../template}} {{/with}}

Parameters

with: string, [optional] Context to use when including the template. Supports simple dot paths.

plural

Returns the value of context (assuming context is a number) and appends the singular or plural form of the specified word, depending on the value of context

Example:

{plural star_rating singular="star" plural="stars"}}

Will produce:

  • star if the value of star_rating is 1, or
  • stars if star_rating > 1

Parameters

singular: string, Indicates the singular form to use

plural: string, Indicates the plural form to use

delimiter: string, [optional] Format the number with the numFormat helper

numFormat

Delimits a number or string with multiple numbers, using commas or given delimiter

Note: This supports integers and decimal numbers.

Credit: This function was borrowed from http://cwestblog.com/2011/06/23/javascript-add-commas-to-numbers/

Example:

{{numFormat num}}
{{numFormat num delimiter="." }}

Parameters

delimiter: string, [optional] The delimiter string. Default: ','

imageProxy

Rewrite a URL as a DuckDuckGo image redirect

Example:

{{imageProxy imageURL}}

produces: /iu/?u={{imageURL}}

trim

Removes leading and trailing spaces from text

Example:

{{trim stringWithSpaces}}

ellipsis

Shortens a string by removing words until string length is <= limit and appends an ellipsis ('...') to the output

Note: It automatically appends any closing tag if one is missing.

Example:

{{ellipsis title 50}}

Parameters

text: string, text to shorten

limit: number, maximum length of shortened string

Creating Custom Helpers

Of course, since we're using Handlebars, you can create your own helpers as well. Simply define your helper alongside your frontend callback. For example, see how the Alternative To Instant Answer defines the AlternativeTo_getPlatform helper in alternative_to.js:

    env.ddg_spice_alternative_to = function(api_result) {
        ...
    };

    Handlebars.registerHelper("AlternativeTo_getPlatform", function (platforms) {
        return (platforms.length > 1) ? "Multiplatform" : platforms[0];
    });

This handlebars helper is very simple: it takes an array as input and depending on the length, returns either the first element in the array, or if more than one element exists, returns the string "Multiplatforms". You can learn more about helpers on the Handlebars documentation.

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