Maypole::Workflow - Describes the progress of a request through Maypole


Maypole::Workflow - Describes the progress of a request through Maypole


                              config $h
                            Maypole $r
    Apache::Request               |
         +---- $r->get_request ---+
        $ar                       |
    BeerDB::Beer        $r->call_authenticate
       ->authenticate ------------+------------ $r->authenticate


An application based on Maypole will provide an Apache handler, and eventually deliver a page. This document explains how that happens, and how to influence it. We'll use the BeerDB project as our example.

Initialize class

When the first request comes in, the class will call its own init method. This creates a new view object, sets up inheritance relationships between the model classes and their parent, and so on.


Once we have initialized, the handler obtains the configuration for your class, and puts it into a new object. We'll call this a request object for the purposes of this document; it will be a new BeerDB object.

Getting the request

Next, the handler calls get_request on the new object to have it store a copy of the Apache::Request. Of course, if you're not using Apache, you might want to subclass this method to return something that looks like an Apache::Request object, and possibly also subclass the next stage too to get more control over what methods are called on your A::R-lookalike. get_request is expected to put the object in the ar slot of the request object.

Handling the URL

Typically, the details of the request will be passed in the URL. This is done with the parse_location method, which is expected to populate several slots of the request object. First, table and action should be populated with the name of the table and the action parts of the URL. Any other arguments should be placed in a listref in the args slot, and GET and POST parameters should be arranged into a hash and placed in the query and params slots, respectively.

Some people may not like the idea of passing everything around in the URL; this is the method to override for you. Of course, you'll also need to provide your own default templates to construct links using your preferred format.

Is this an applicable URL?

Next, the is_applicable method works out if this is actually something that Maypole should care about - whether the class exists in the application, whether it supports the given action, and so on. The action is ``supported'' if it exists in the model class (or its ancestors) and is marked with the :Exported attribute; this stops web users from firing off random subroutines in your code.

This should return an Apache status code; OK if the request should proceed, DECLINED if it should be passed on to the default handlers, or whatever other codes for permissions problems.

Are we allowed to do this?

We then look for an appropriate authenticate method to call; first it will try calling the authenticate method of the model class, or, if that does not exist, the authenticate method on itself. By default, this allows access to everyone for everything. Similarly, this should return an Apache status code.

Add any additional data to the request

The open-ended additional_data method allows any additional fiddling with the request object before it is despatched. Specifically, it allows you to add to the template_args slot, which is a hash of arguments to be added to the template.

Ask model for widget set

Asking the model class to process the current request allows it to do any work it needs for the given command, and populate the objects and template slots of the request.

Ask view to process template

Now the view class has its process method called, finds the appropriate templates, passes the objects and any additional data to the template, and pushes the output to the web server.

We will go into more detail about these last two phases.

Model class processing

The model's process method is usually a thin wrapper around the action that we have selected. It sets the template name to the name of the action, fills objects with an object of that class whose ID comes from the URL arguments if there is one. For instance, /beer/foo/12 will do the moral equivalent of

    $r->objects([ BeerDB::Beer->retrieve(12) ]);

Then it calls the right method: in this case, the foo method with the request object. This method will usually do any actions which are required, including modifying the list of objects to be passed to the template, or the name of the template to be called.

Template class processing

Finally, the template processor is handed the objects, the template name, and various other bits and pieces, and tries to find the right template. It does this by looking first for /beer/foo: that is, a specific template appropriate to the class. Next, it looks at /custom/foo, a local modification, before looking for /factory/foo, one of the default templates that came with Maypole.

Default template arguments

The following things are passed to the Template Toolkit template by default:

The whole Maypole request object, for people getting really dirty with the templates.

The objects handed to us by the model.

The base URL of the application.

The whole configuration hash for the application.

A hash consisting of:

name - The name of the model class for the request: e.g. BeerDB::Beer.

columns - The names of the columns in this class.

colnames - A hash mapping between the database's idea of a column name and a human-readable equivalent. (abv should be mapped to A.B.V., perhaps.)

related_accessors - A list of accessors which are not exactly fields in the table but are related by a has-many relationship. For instance, breweries have many beers, so beers would appear in the list.

moniker - The human-readable name for the class: beer.

plural - The same, only plural: beers.

cgi - A hash mapping columns and HTML::Element objects representing a form field for editing that column.

description - (Perhaps) a user-supplied description of the class.

Additionally, depending on the number of objects, there will be an alias for the objects slot with the name of the moniker or plural moniker.

That sounds a bit tricky, but what it means is that if you look at /beer/view/4 then beer will be populated with a BeerDB::Beer object with ID 4. On the other hand, if you look at /beer/list you can get all the beers in beers as well as in objects.

 Maypole::Workflow - Describes the progress of a request through Maypole