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Erector is a Ruby gem that implements the “builder” pattern for HTML generation. It can save developers time by encouraging more advanced reuse in views via composition and inheritance, terse syntax, auto-closing tags and default HTML-escaping of all output. It can serve as an alternate view technology in Rails.
Using Erector makes it easier to refactor complex views by using standard refactoring techniques such as extracting methods. In ERB you can only accomplish this by helpers or partials, each of which lives in separate files. Since every Erector widget is a class, you can factor out duplication more easily than you can with helpers or partials.
Because views are just Ruby classes, Erector allows for inherited (nested) layouts by default. As a security measure, all output is HTML-escaped by default and all HTML elements are closed automatically.
This talk was given by Jeff Dean at RailsConf 2009. http://en.oreilly.com/rails2009/public/schedule/detail/8587