I've started using Haml. I like it!

This article is quite old.Time flies when you're having fun. I've been writing for my blog for a long time. Stuff changes fast, especially in the Ruby world. That's why I've put this warning on old posts. The article might still be valid, though.

First Haml evaluation

As I promised, here is the evaluation of redoing a site from ERB to Haml. To immediately cut to the chase: Haml IS worth it!

  • It's so definitely faster and easier to write than ERB.
  • Your HTML output is nicer.
  • Partials rendering with the right indentation automatically.
  • It forces you to take a good look of what you're actually making.
  • Because it's so strict on it's syntax, you will be using more helpers and custom model methods, which is a good thing.
  • No more forgetting to close a div and spending hours to find out which one.
  • Faster refactoring because of less code and easier to read.

There are some downsides however. I'd rather not talk about the hours I tried to fix some idiot problem with partials and the locals option. Just use locals as less as possible, preferably not at all. Some cons:

  • Yet another syntax to be learned.
  • Errors with Haml syntax are a bit harder to locate, but you'll make less after you encountered a few.
  • A gem needs to be installed on the server, which can be difficult if you don't have root rights on the server
  • The syntax highlighter on VIm is not quite up to it.
  • Rails helpers screw up the nice HTML Haml creates for you. The form_tag helpers for example.

So if you are starting a new project, or redoing the entire HTML of you're application: try Haml! Chances are you'll like it!

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