=head1 NAME

Catalyst::Manual::Tutorial::02_CatalystBasics - Catalyst Tutorial - Chapter 2: Catalyst Application Development Basics


This is B<Chapter 2 of 10> for the Catalyst tutorial.

L<Tutorial Overview|Catalyst::Manual::Tutorial>

=over 4

=item 1


=item 2

B<02_Catalyst Basics>

=item 3

L<More Catalyst Basics|Catalyst::Manual::Tutorial::03_MoreCatalystBasics>

=item 4

L<Basic CRUD|Catalyst::Manual::Tutorial::04_BasicCRUD>

=item 5


=item 6


=item 7


=item 8


=item 9

L<Advanced CRUD|Catalyst::Manual::Tutorial::09_AdvancedCRUD>

=item 10




In this chapter of the tutorial, we will create a very basic Catalyst
web application, demonstrating a number of powerful capabilities, such

=over 4

=item * Helper Scripts

Catalyst helper scripts that can be used to rapidly bootstrap the
skeletal structure of an application.

=item * MVC

Model/View/Controller (MVC) provides an architecture that facilitates a
clean "separation of control" between the different portions of your
application. Given that many other documents cover this subject in
detail, MVC will not be discussed in depth here (for an excellent
introduction to MVC and general Catalyst concepts, please see
L<Catalyst::Manual::About>). In short:

=over 4

=item * Model

The model usually represents a data store. In most applications, the
model equates to the objects that are created from and saved to your SQL

=item * View

The view takes model objects and renders them into something for the end
user to look at. Normally this involves a template-generation tool that
creates HTML for the user's web browser, but it could easily be code
that generates other forms such as PDF documents, e-mails, spreadsheets,
or even "behind the scenes" formats such as XML and JSON.

=item * Controller

As suggested by its name, the controller takes user requests and routes
them to the necessary model and view.


=item * ORM

The use of Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) technology for database
access. Specifically, ORM provides an automated and standardized means
to persist and restore objects to/from a relational database and will
automatically create our Catalyst model for use with a database.


You can checkout the source code for this example from the catalyst
subversion repository as per the instructions in


Catalyst provides a number of helper scripts that can be used to quickly
flesh out the basic structure of your application. All Catalyst projects
begin with the F<catalyst.pl> helper (see
L<Catalyst::Helper> for more information on helpers).
Also note that as of Catalyst 5.7000, you will not have the helper
scripts unless you install both L<Catalyst::Runtime>
and L<Catalyst::Devel>.

In this first chapter of the tutorial, use the Catalyst F<catalyst.pl>
script to initialize the framework for an application called C<Hello>:

    $ catalyst.pl Hello
    created "Hello"
    created "Hello/script"
    created "Hello/lib"
    created "Hello/root"
    created "Hello/script/hello_create.pl"
    Change to application directory and Run "perl Makefile.PL" to make sure your install is complete
    $ cd Hello

Note: If you are using Strawberry Perl on Win32, drop the ".pl"
from the end of the "catalyst.pl" command and simply use
"catalyst Hello".

The F<catalyst.pl> helper script will display the names of the
directories and files it creates:

    Changes               # Record of application changes
    lib                   # Lib directory for your app's Perl modules
        Hello             # Application main code directory
            Controller    # Directory for Controller modules
            Model         # Directory for Models
            View          # Directory for Views
        Hello.pm          # Base application module
    Makefile.PL           # Makefile to build application
    hello.conf            # Application configuration file
    README                # README file
    root                  # Equiv of htdocs, dir for templates, css, javascript
        static            # Directory for static files
            images        # Directory for image files used in welcome screen
    script                # Directory for Perl scripts
        hello_cgi.pl      # To run your app as a cgi (not recommended)
        hello_create.pl   # To create models, views, controllers
        hello_fastcgi.pl  # To run app as a fastcgi program
        hello_server.pl   # The normal development server
        hello_test.pl     # Test your app from the command line
    t                     # Directory for tests
        01app.t           # Test scaffold

Catalyst will "auto-discover" modules in the Controller, Model, and View
directories. When you use the F<hello_create.pl> script it will create Perl
module scaffolds in those directories, plus test files in the "t"
directory. The default location for templates is in the "root"
directory. The scripts in the script directory will always start with
the lowercased version of your application name. If your app is MaiTai,
then the create script would be "maitai_create.pl".

Though it's too early for any significant celebration, we already have a
functioning application. We can use the Catalyst supplied script to
start up a development server and view the default Catalyst page in your
browser. All scripts in the script directory should be run from the base
directory of your application, so change to the Hello directory.

Run the following command to start up the built-in development web
server (make sure you didn't forget the "C<cd Hello>" from the previous

B<Note>: The "-r" argument enables reloading on code changes so you
don't have to stop and start the server when you update code. See
C<perldoc script/hello_server.pl> or C<script/hello_server.pl --help>
for additional options you might find helpful. Most of the rest of the
tutorial will assume that you are using "-r" when you start the
development server, but feel free to manually start and stop it (use
C<Ctrl-C> to breakout of the dev server) if you prefer.

    $ script/hello_server.pl -r
    [debug] Debug messages enabled
    [debug] Statistics enabled
    [debug] Loaded plugins:
    | Catalyst::Plugin::ConfigLoader  0.30                                       |

    [debug] Loaded dispatcher "Catalyst::Dispatcher"
    [debug] Loaded engine "Catalyst::Engine"
    [debug] Found home "/home/catalyst/Hello"
    [debug] Loaded Config "/home/catalyst/Hello/hello.conf"
    [debug] Loaded components:
    | Class                                                           | Type     |
    | Hello::Controller::Root                                         | instance |

    [debug] Loaded Private actions:
    | Private              | Class                                | Method       |
    | /default             | Hello::Controller::Root              | default      |
    | /end                 | Hello::Controller::Root              | end          |
    | /index               | Hello::Controller::Root              | index        |

    [debug] Loaded Path actions:
    | Path                                | Private                              |
    | /                                   | /index                               |
    | /                                   | /default                             |

    [info] Hello powered by Catalyst 5.90002
    HTTP::Server::PSGI: Accepting connections at http://0:3000/

Point your web browser to L<http://localhost:3000> (substituting a
different hostname or IP address as appropriate) and you should be
greeted by the Catalyst welcome screen (if you get some other welcome
screen or an "Index" screen, you probably forgot to specify port 3000 in
your URL).  Information similar to the following should be appended to
the logging output of the development server:

    [info] Hello powered by Catalyst 5.90002
    HTTP::Server::PSGI: Accepting connections at http://0:3000/
    [info] *** Request 1 (0.067/s) [19026] [Tue Aug 30 17:24:32 2011] ***
    [debug] "GET" request for "/" from ""
    [debug] Path is "/"
    [debug] Response Code: 200; Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8; Content-Length: 5613
    [info] Request took 0.040895s (24.453/s)
    | Action                                                     | Time      |
    | /index                                                     | 0.000916s |
    | /end                                                       | 0.000877s |

B<Note>: Press C<Ctrl-C> to break out of the development server if


=head2 The Simplest Way

The Root.pm controller is a place to put global actions that usually
execute on the root URL. Open the F<lib/Hello/Controller/Root.pm> file
in your editor. You will see the "index" subroutine, which is
responsible for displaying the welcome screen that you just saw in your

    sub index :Path :Args(0) {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

        # Hello World
        $c->response->body( $c->welcome_message );

Later on you'll want to change that to something more reasonable, such
as a "404" message or a redirect, but for now just leave it alone.

The "C<$c>" here refers to the Catalyst context, which is used to access
the Catalyst application. In addition to many other things, the Catalyst
context provides access to "response" and "request" objects. (See
L<Catalyst::Runtime>, L<Catalyst::Response>, and

C<< $c->response->body >> sets the HTTP response (see
L<Catalyst::Response>), while
C<< $c->welcome_message >> is a special method that returns the welcome
message that you saw in your browser.

The "C<:Path :Args(0)>" after the method name are attributes which
determine which URLs will be dispatched to this method. (You might see
":Private" if you are using an older version of Catalyst, but using that
with "default" or "index" is currently deprecated.  If so, you should
also probably upgrade before continuing the tutorial.)

Some MVC frameworks handle dispatching in a central place. Catalyst, by
policy, prefers to handle URL dispatching with attributes on controller
methods. There is a lot of flexibility in specifying which URLs to
match.  This particular method will match all URLs, because it doesn't
specify the path (nothing comes after "Path"), but will only accept a
URL without any args because of the "C<:Args(0)>".

The default is to map URLs to controller names, and because of the way
that Perl handles namespaces through package names, it is simple to
create hierarchical structures in Catalyst. This means that you can
create controllers with deeply nested actions in a clean and logical
way. For example, the URL C<http://hello.com/admin/articles/create> maps
to the package C<Hello::Controller::Admin::Articles>, and the C<create>

While you leave the C<script/hello_server.pl -r> command running the
development server in one window (don't forget the "-r" at the end!),
open another window and add the following subroutine to your
F<lib/Hello/Controller/Root.pm> file:

    sub hello :Global {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

        $c->response->body("Hello, World!");

B<TIP>: See Appendix 1 for tips on removing the leading spaces when
cutting and pasting example code from POD-based documents.

Notice in the window running the Development Server that you should
get output similar to the following:

    Saw changes to the following files:
     - /home/catalyst/Hello/lib/Hello/Controller/Root.pm (modify)

    Attempting to restart the server
    [debug] Loaded Private actions:
    | Private              | Class                                | Method       |
    | /default             | Hello::Controller::Root              | default      |
    | /end                 | Hello::Controller::Root              | end          |
    | /index               | Hello::Controller::Root              | index        |
    | /hello               | Hello::Controller::Root              | hello        |

The development server noticed the change in C<Hello::Controller::Root>
and automatically restarted itself.

Go to L<http://localhost:3000/hello> to see "Hello, World!".   Also
notice that the newly defined 'hello' action is listed under "Loaded
Private actions" in the development server debug output.

=head2 Hello, World! Using a View and a Template

In the Catalyst world a "View" itself is not a page of XHTML or a
template designed to present a page to a browser. Rather, it is the
module that determines the I<type> of view -- HTML, PDF, XML, etc. For
the thing that generates the I<content> of that view (such as a
Template Toolkit template file), the actual templates go under the
"root" directory.

To create a TT view, run:

    $ script/hello_create.pl view HTML TT

This creates the F<lib/Hello/View/HTML.pm> module, which is a subclass
of L<Catalyst::View::TT>.

=over 4

=item *

The "view" keyword tells the create script that you are creating a view.

=item *

The first argument "HTML" tells the script to name the View module "HTML.pm",
which is a commonly used name for TT views.  You can name it anything you want,
such as "MyView.pm". If you have more than one view, be sure to set the
default_view in Hello.pm (See L<Catalyst::View::TT> for more
details on setting this).

=item *

The final "TT" tells Catalyst the I<type> of the view, with "TT"
indicating that you want to use a Template Toolkit view.


If you look at F<lib/Hello/View/HTML.pm> you will find that it only
contains a config statement to set the TT extension to ".tt".

Now that the HTML.pm "View" exists, Catalyst will autodiscover it and be
able to use it to display the view templates using the "process" method
that it inherits from the L<Catalyst::View::TT> class.

Template Toolkit is a very full-featured template facility, with
excellent documentation at L<http://template-toolkit.org/>, but since
this is not a TT tutorial, we'll stick to only basic TT usage here (and
explore some of the more common TT features in later chapters of the

Create a F<root/hello.tt> template file (put it in the C<root> under the
C<Hello> directory that is the base of your application). Here is a
simple sample:

        This is a TT view template, called '[% template.name %]'.

[% and %] are markers for the TT parts of the template. Inside you can
access Perl variables and classes, and use TT directives. In this case,
we're using a special TT variable that defines the name of the template
file (F<hello.tt>).  The rest of the template is normal HTML.

Change the hello method in F<lib/Hello/Controller/Root.pm> to the

    sub hello :Global {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

        $c->stash(template => 'hello.tt');

This time, instead of doing C<< $c->response->body() >>, you are
setting the value of the "template" hash key in the Catalyst "stash", an
area for putting information to share with other parts of your
application. The "template" key determines which template will be
displayed at the end of the request cycle. Catalyst controllers have a
default "end" action for all methods which causes the first (or default)
view to be rendered (unless there's a C<< $c->response->body() >>
statement). So your template will be magically displayed at the end of
your method.

After saving the file, the development server should automatically
restart (again, the tutorial is written to assume that you are using the
"-r" option -- manually restart it if you aren't), and look at
L<http://localhost:3000/hello> in your web browser again. You should see
the template that you just created.

B<TIP:> If you keep the server running with "-r" in a "background
window," don't let that window get totally hidden... if you have a
syntax error in your code, the debug server output will contain the
error information.

B<Note:> You will probably run into a variation of the "stash"
statement above that looks like:

    $c->stash->{template} = 'hello.tt';

Although this style is still relatively common, the approach we
used previous is becoming more common because it allows you to
set multiple stash variables in one line.  For example:

    $c->stash(template => 'hello.tt', foo => 'bar',
              another_thing => 1);

You can also set multiple stash values with a hashref:

    $c->stash({template => 'hello.tt', foo => 'bar',
              another_thing => 1});

Any of these formats work, but the C<< $c->stash(name => value); >>
style is growing in popularity -- you may wish to use it all the time
(even when you are only setting a single value).


Create a controller named "Site" by executing the create script:

    $ script/hello_create.pl controller Site

This will create a F<lib/Hello/Controller/Site.pm> file (and a test
file). If you bring Site.pm up in your editor, you can see that
there's not much there to see.

In F<lib/Hello/Controller/Site.pm>, add the following method:

    sub test :Local {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

        $c->stash(username => 'John',
                  template => 'site/test.tt');

Notice the "Local" attribute on the C<test> method. This will cause the
C<test> action (now that we have assigned an "action type" to the method
it appears as a "controller action" to Catalyst) to be executed on the
"controller/method" URL, or, in this case, "site/test".  We will see
additional information on controller actions throughout the rest of the
tutorial, but if you are curious take a look at

It's not actually necessary to set the template value as we do here.  By
default TT will attempt to render a template that follows the naming
pattern "controller/method.tt", and we're following that pattern here.
However, in other situations you will need to specify the template (such
as if you've "forwarded" to the method, or if it doesn't follow the
default naming convention).

We've also put the variable "username" into the stash, for use in the

Make a subdirectory "site" in the "root" directory.

    $ mkdir root/site

Create a new template file in that directory named F<root/site/test.tt>
and include a line like:

    <p>Hello, [% username %]!</p>

Once the server automatically restarts, notice in the server output that
C</site/test> is listed in the Loaded Path actions.  Go to
L<http://localhost:3000/site/test> in your browser and you should see
your test.tt file displayed, including the name "John" that you set in
the controller.

You can jump to the next chapter of the tutorial here:
L<More Catalyst Basics|Catalyst::Manual::Tutorial::03_MoreCatalystBasics>

=head1 AUTHORS

Gerda Shank, C<gerda.shank@gmail.com>
Kennedy Clark, C<hkclark@gmail.com>

Feel free to contact the author for any errors or suggestions, but the
best way to report issues is via the CPAN RT Bug system at

Copyright 2006-2011, Kennedy Clark, under the
Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License Version 3.0