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Linux Journal: Building Sites with Mason

Jun 24, 2000, 14:50 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Reuven M. Lerner)


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"Programmers willing to trade speed for portability have a number of options at their disposal. Many Perl programmers have chosen to use mod_perl, which makes it possible to modify Apache's behavior using Perl modules. A Perl module invoked by mod_perl is run inside the Apache process, removing the overhead associated with starting a separate CGI process. mod_perl also caches the compiled version of invoked modules, eliminating the need to compile them each time they are run. The result is a dramatic improvement in speed, as well as the flexibility to modify Apache quickly and easily using Perl."

"When a site needs to create a large quantity of dynamic output, much of which is written and designed by non-programmers, mod_perl's power is hampered by the need to use dozens or hundreds of modules, each servicing only a single URL or directory. The solution to this problem is to integrate mod_perl with templates, which intersperse HTML-formatted text with Perl code. We have looked at templates on several previous occasions and have seen their power and flexibility."

"This month, we will look at Mason, a mod_perl module written by Jonathan Swartz, which attempts to solve many of these problems. It uses templates to separate programming from [HTML]. Furthermore, it encourages the use of separate ``components'', which can be built up to create a large, dynamically generated site. Because these components exist in separate files, Mason offers additional advantages:

  • It caches components, providing a bigger speed boost than that from simple templates.
  • It provides a complete debugging and previewing environment.
  • It produces output files [...?]"
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