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Suppose I have a template for creating documents, and I want to render a document from the template. It would be grammatically correct to call this action "rendering a document" or "rendering a document from a template," but calling it "rendering a template" or "template rendering" would be grammatically incorrect, because the template isn't the object that's being produced -- it is the source from which the document is being produced.

Is there a verb that represents the action being done to the template when the document is rendered from it?

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    The document is generated from the template. As for a verb applied to the template, expanding or instanciating the template. (I am only familiar with "rendering" for computer graphics.) – user184130 May 25 '18 at 21:13
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    @JamesRandom I'd agree, I might also use rendering when talking about PDFs from a source such as LaTeX, but other than that I'd been talking about graphics – user300397 May 25 '18 at 21:17
  • In addition to PDFs and computer graphics, I've seen it used in web development: docs.djangoproject.com/en/2.0/ref/templates/api/… – John Peter Thompson Garcés Jun 4 '18 at 20:13
  • You're following a template. – Hot Licks Nov 23 '18 at 13:09
  • or applying a template. – Stuart F Nov 23 '18 at 15:15
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Reify (verb)

make something real, bring something into being, or make something concrete.

I made a PDF by reifying the template.

  • That doesn't seem a very common usage. I could only find examples related to a testing framework called Hypothesis. – user184130 Jul 26 '18 at 9:13
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    My understanding is that it is common in certain areas of computer science. Haskell apparently. Ontologies. – Lofty Withers Jul 29 '18 at 1:43
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You could say that the template guides, governs, controls, regulates, or directs the document production process. That is, the template is essentially "in charge" (in an inanimate sense) of how the resulting document appears.

If you wish to use "template" as the object, you could say that the document production process follows or refers to the template. That is, the process adheres to or complies with or satisfies the template's requirements.

If you choose to use the term "rendering," (although I think "document production" is clearer) then the process is that of rendering from a template or template-based rendering.

Some rearrangement of these terms to different parts of speech is possible (e.g., "The template is being followed." or "a template-driven process).

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