=head1 NAME

Maypole::Manual::Workflow - Maypole's Request Workflow


This chapter describes the progress of a request through Maypole.

An application based on C<Maypole> provides an Apache or CGI handler,
and eventually delivers a page. This document explains how that happens,
and how to influence it. We'll use the C<BeerDB> project as our example.
Here's a diagram that gives an overview:

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

=head2 Initialize class

When the first request comes in, the application class will call its own
C<init> method, inherited from L<Maypole>.
This creates a new view object.

=head2 Construction

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
I<object> for the purposes of this document; it will be a new C<BeerDB>

=head2 Getting the request

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

=head2 Handling the URL

Typically, the details of the request will be passed in the URL. This is
done with the C<parse_location> method, which is expected to populate
several slots of the request object. First, C<table> and C<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
C<args> slot, and GET and POST parameters should be arranged into a hash
and placed in the C<query> and C<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.

=head2 Is this an applicable URL?

Next, the C<is_applicable> method works out if this is actually
something that C<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 C<:Exported> attribute; this stops web
users from firing off random subroutines in your code.

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

=head2 Are we allowed to do this?

We then look for an appropriate C<authenticate> method to call; first
it will try calling the C<authenticate> method of the model class, or,
if that does not exist, the C<authenticate> method on itself. By
default, this allows access to everyone for everything.
Your C<authenticate> methods must return an Apache status code: C<OK> or
C<DECLINED>. These codes are defined by the L<Maypole::Constants>
module, which is automatically used by your application.

=head2 Add any additional data to the request

You can write an C<additional_data> method to do any additional fiddling
with the request object before it is despatched. Specifically, it allows
you to add to the C<template_args> slot, which is a hash of arguments to
be added to the template, like this:

    sub additional_data {
        my $self = shift;
        $self->{template_args}{answer} = 42;

which adds a new template variable C<answer> with the value 42.

=head2 Ask model for widget set

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

The model's C<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 C<objects> with an object of that class whose ID comes
from the URL arguments if there is one. For instance, C</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 C<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.

=head2 Ask view to process template

Now the view class has its C<process> method called. It finds the
appropriate templates and calls the L<Template Toolkit|Template>

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 C</beer/foo>: that is, a
specific template appropriate to the class. Next, it looks at
C</custom/foo>, a local modification, before looking for
C</factory/foo>, one of the default templates that came with

The view puts the template's output in the C<$r-E<gt>{output}> slot. The
application's C<handler> method calls the C<send_output> method to push
it to the web server.

=head2 Default template arguments

If you're looking for the list of variables that are passed to the
Template Toolkit template by default, you'll find it in the
L<View|Maypole::Manual::View> chapter.

=head2 Links

Next L<The Beer Database Revisited|Maypole::Manual::Beer>,
L<Standard Templates and Actions|Maypole::Manual::StandardTemplates>