Apache FreeMarker {version}

Build Status

For the latest version or to report bugs visit: https://freemarker.apache.org/

Regarding pull requests on Github

By sending a pull request you grant the Apache Software Foundation sufficient rights to use and release the submitted work under the Apache license. You grant the same rights (copyright license, patent license, etc.) to the Apache Software Foundation as if you have signed a Contributor License Agreement. For contributions that are judged to be non-trivial, you will be asked to actually signing a Contributor License Agreement.

What is Apache FreeMarker?

FreeMarker is a “template engine”; a generic tool to generate text output (anything from HTML to auto generated source code) based on templates. It‘s a Java package, a class library for Java programmers. It’s not an application for end-users in itself, but something that programmers can embed into their products. FreeMarker is designed to be practical for the generation of HTML Web pages, particularly by servlet-based applications following the MVC (Model View Controller) pattern.


FreeMarker is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

See the LICENSE file for more details!


Online: https://freemarker.apache.org/docs/

Offline: The full documentation is available in the binary distribution in the documentation/index.html directory.


If you are using Maven, just add this dependency:

  Attention: Be sure nothing pulls in an old dependency with groupId
  "freemarker" (without the "org."), because then you will end up with
  two freemarker.jar-s and unpredictable behavior on runtime!

Otherwise simply copy freemarker.jar to a location where your Java application's ClassLoader will find it. For example, if you are using FreeMarker in a web application, you probably want to put freemarker.jar into the WEB-INF/lib directory of your web application.

FreeMarker has no required dependencies. It has several optional dependencies, but usually you don‘t have to deal with them, because if you are using an optional feature that’s certainly because your application already uses the related library.

Attention: If you upgrade to OpenJDK 9 or later, and you are using XPath queries in templates, you will need to add Apache Xalan as a dependency, as freemarker.ext.dom can‘t use the XPath support included in OpenJDK anymore. It’s not needed on Oracle Java 9, or if FreeMarker is configured to use Jaxen for XPath.

The minimum required Java version is currently Java SE 5. (The presence of a later version may be detected on runtime and utilized by FreeMarker.)

Change log

Online (for stable releases only): https://freemarker.apache.org/docs/app_versions.html

Offline: In the binary release, open documentation/index.html, and you will find the link.

Building FreeMarker

If you haven't yet, download the source release, or checkout FreeMarker from the source code repository. See repository locations here: https://freemarker.apache.org/sourcecode.html

You need JDK 8 (not JDK 9!), Apache Ant (tested with 1.9.6) and Ivy (tested with 2.4.0) to be installed. To install Ivy (but be sure it's not already installed), issue ant download-ivy; it will copy Ivy under ~/.ant/lib. (Alternatively, you can copy ivy-<version>.jar into the Ant home lib subfolder manually.)

It's recommended to copy build.properties.sample into build.properties, and edit its content to fit your system. (Although basic jar building should succeeds without the build.properties file too.)

To build freemarker.jar, just issue ant in the project root directory, and it should download all dependencies automatically and build freemarker.jar.

If later you change the dependencies in ivy.xml, or otherwise want to re-download some of them, it will not happen automatically anymore, and you must issue ant update-deps.

To test your build, issue ant test.

To generate documentation, issue ant javadoc and ant manualOffline.

Eclipse and other IDE setup

Below you find the step-by-step setup for Eclipse Mars.1. If you are using a different version or an entierly different IDE, still read this, and try to apply it to your development environment:

  • Install Ant and Ivy, if you haven't yet; see earlier.
  • From the command line, run ant clean jar ide-dependencies (Note that now the folders ide-dependencies, build/generated-sources and META-INF were created.)
  • Start Eclipse
  • You may prefer to start a new workspace (File -> “Switch workspace”), but it's optional.
  • Window -> Preferences
    • General -> Workspace, set the text file encoding to “UTF-8”. (Or, you can set the same later on project level instead.)
    • General -> Editors -> Text Editors, set:
      • Insert space for tabs
      • Show print margin, 120 columns
    • Java -> Code Style -> Formatter -> Import... Select src\ide-settings\Eclipse\Formatter-profile-FreeMarker.xml inside the FreeMarker project directory. (On IntelliJ IDEA, import src/ide-settings/IntelliJ-IDEA/Java-code-style-FreeMarker.xml instead) This profile uses space-only indentation policy and 120 character line width, and formatting rules that are pretty much standard in modern Java.
    • Java -> Code Style -> Organize imports (On IntelliJ IDEA, this was already configured by the Java code style import earlier.) The order is this (the Eclipse default): java, javax, org, com. Number of imports required for .: 99 Number of static imports needed for .: 1
    • Java -> Installed JRE-s: Ensure that you have JDK 8 installed, and that it was added to Eclipse. Note that it's not JRE, but JDK.
    • Java -> Compiler -> Javadoc: “Malformed Javadoc comments”: Error “Only consider members as visible”: Private “Validate tag arguments”: true “Missing tag descriptions”: Validate @return tags “Missing Javadoc tags”: Ignore “Missing Javadoc comments”: Ignore
  • Create new “Java Project” in Eclipse:
    • In the first window popping up:
      • Change the “location” to the directory of the FreeMarker project
      • Press “Next”
    • In the next window, you see the build path settings:
      • On “Source” tab, ensure that exactly these are marked as source directories (be careful, Eclipse doesn't auto-detect these well): build/generated-sources/java src/main/java src/main/resources src/test/java src/test/resources
      • On the “Libraries” tab:
        • Delete everyhing from there, except the “JRE System Library [...]”
        • Edit “JRE System Library [...]” to “Execution Environment” “JavaSE 1.8”
        • Add all jar-s that are directly under the “ide-dependencies” directory (use the “Add JARs...” and select all those files).
      • On the “Order and Export” tab find dom4j-.jar, and send it to the bottom of the list (becase, an old org.jaxen is included inside dom4j-.jar, which casues compilation errors if it wins over jaxen-*.jar).
    • Press “Finish”
  • Eclipse will indicate many errors at this point; it's expected, read on.
  • Project -> Properties -> Java Compiler
    • Set “Compiler Compliance Level” to “1.5” (you will have to uncheck “Use compliance from execution environment” for that)
    • In Errors/Warnings, check in “Enable project specific settings”, then set “Forbidden reference (access rules)” from “Error” to “Warning”.
  • You will still have errors on these java files (because different java files depend on different versions of the same library, and Eclipse can‘t handle that). Exclude those java files from the Build Path (in the Package Explorer, right click on the problematic file -> “Build Path” -> “Exclude”): _Jython20*.java _Jython22*.java _FreeMarkerPageContext2.java FreeMarkerJspFactory2.java Java8*.java Also, close these files if they are open. Now you shouldn’t have any errors.
  • At Project -> Properties -> Java Code Style -> Formatter, check in “Enable project specific settings”, and then select “FreeMarker” as active profile.
  • At Project -> Properties -> Java Editor -> Save Actions, check “Enable project specific settings”, then “Perform the selected actions on save”, and have only “Organize imports” and “Additional actions” checked (the list for the last should contain “Add missing @Override annotations”, “Add missing @Override annotations to implementations of interface methods”, “Add missing @Deprecated annotations”, and “Remove unnecessary cast”).
  • Right click on the project -> Run As -> JUnit Test It should run without problems (all green).
  • It's highly recommened to use the Eclipse FindBugs plugin.
    • Install it from Eclipse Marketplace (3.0.1 as of this writing)
    • Window -> Preferences -> Java -> FindBugs: Set all bug marker ranks from Warning to Error. (For false alarms we add @SuppressFBWarnings(value = “...”, justification = “...”) annotations.)
    • Project -> Properties -> FindBugs -> [x] Run Automatically
    • There should 0 errors. But sometimes the plugin fails to take the @SuppressFBWarnings annotations into account; then use Project -> Clean.