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  1. This template allows the use of the equal sign "=" inside parameters of other templates, e.g. {{en|... a {{=}} b ...}} for a = b
    This functionality (without parameter) is now kept by the magic word.
  2. Unfortunately, Unicode has no other equal sign that can be used for the other functionality:
With parameter 1 any other text string (e.g. a tag, a code sequence, or everything else) can be passed, e.g. {{=|xyz}} → xyz
The only way I know for performing iterations is the LUA function frame:expandTemplate, which needs obligately a template.
When just some text should be passed, it can be done with this pseudo template {{=}} which does nothing than just passing any text.
This function is used very often but the transclusion count does not work
When more than one parameter is specified, the list of all parameters is passed;
in LUA, parameters can be param{{=}}value