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Language Reference: Macros (METAL)

The Macro Expansion Template Attribute Language (METAL) standard is a facility for HTML/XML macro preprocessing. It can be used in conjunction with or independently of TAL and TALES.

Macros provide a way to define a chunk of presentation in one template, and share it in others, so that changes to the macro are immediately reflected in all of the places that share it. Additionally, macros are always fully expanded, even in a template's source text, so that the template appears very similar to its final rendering.

A single Page Template can accomodate multiple macros.

Namespace

The METAL namespace URI and recommended alias are currently defined as:

xmlns:metal="http://xml.zope.org/namespaces/metal"

Just like the TAL namespace URI, this URI is not attached to a web page; it's just a unique identifier. This identifier must be used in all templates which use METAL.

Note that elements that appear in a template with the METAL namespace are omitted from the output where they appear. This is useful when defining a macro:

<metal:block define-macro="hello">
  ...
</metal:block>

In the example above the element is named block but any name can be used to the same effect as long as it is qualified with the METAL namespace.

Statements

METAL defines a number of statements:

  • metal:define-macro Define a macro.
  • metal:use-macro Use a macro.
  • metal:extend-macro Extend a macro.
  • metal:define-slot Define a macro customization point.
  • metal:fill-slot Customize a macro.

Although METAL does not define the syntax of expression non-terminals, leaving that up to the implementation, a canonical expression syntax for use in METAL arguments is described in TALES Specification.

define-macro

Defines a macro.

Syntax

metal:define-macro syntax:

argument ::= Name

Description

The metal:define-macro statement defines a macro. The macro is named by the statement expression, and is defined as the element and its sub-tree.

Examples

Simple macro definition:

<p metal:define-macro="copyright">
  Copyright 2011, <em>Foobar</em> Inc.
</p>

define-slot

Defines a macro customization point.

Syntax

metal:define-slot syntax:

argument ::= Name

Description

The metal:define-slot statement defines a macro customization point or slot. When a macro is used, its slots can be replaced, in order to customize the macro. Slot definitions provide default content for the slot. You will get the default slot contents if you decide not to customize the macro when using it.

The metal:define-slot statement must be used inside a metal:define-macro statement.

Slot names must be unique within a macro.

Examples

Simple macro with slot:

<p metal:define-macro="hello">
  Hello <b metal:define-slot="name">World</b>
</p>

This example defines a macro with one slot named name. When you use this macro you can customize the b element by filling the name slot.

fill-slot

Customize a macro.

Syntax

metal:fill-slot syntax:

argument ::= Name

Description

The metal:fill-slot statement customizes a macro by replacing a slot in the macro with the statement element (and its content).

The metal:fill-slot statement must be used inside a metal:use-macro statement.

Slot names must be unique within a macro.

If the named slot does not exist within the macro, the slot contents will be silently dropped.

Examples

Given this macro:

<p metal:define-macro="hello">
  Hello <b metal:define-slot="name">World</b>
</p>

You can fill the name slot like so:

<p metal:use-macro="container['master.html'].macros.hello">
  Hello <b metal:fill-slot="name">Kevin Bacon</b>
</p>

use-macro

Use a macro.

Syntax

metal:use-macro syntax:

argument ::= expression

Description

The metal:use-macro statement replaces the statement element with a macro. The statement expression describes a macro definition. The macroname variable will be bound to the defined name of the macro being used.

Note: In Chameleon the expression may point to a template instance; in this case it will be rendered in its entirety.

extend-macro

Extends a macro.

Syntax

metal:extend-macro syntax:

argument ::= expression

Description

To extend an existing macro, choose a name for the macro and add a define-macro attribute to a document element with the name as the argument. Add an extend-macro attribute to the document element with an expression referencing the base macro as the argument. The extend-macro must be used in conjunction with define-macro, and must not be used with use-macro. The element's subtree is the macro body.

Examples

<div metal:define-macro="page-header"
     metal:extend-macro="standard_macros['page-header']">
  <div metal:fill-slot="breadcrumbs">
    You are here:
    <div metal:define-slot="breadcrumbs"/>
  </div>
</div>

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