Maypole::Manual::Plugins - the Maypole Plugin API


This version written for Maypole 2.10


Plugins occupy the Maypole::Plugin::* namespace on CPAN. At time of writing, there are 16 plugin modules available - see

Plugins are loaded into a Maypole application by Maypole::Application. For instance, to add HTML::QuickTable support to the BeerDB example application:

   package BeerDB;
   use strict;
   use warnings;

   use Maypole::Application( 'QuickTable' );

Note that the leading Maypole::Plugin::* is omitted.

For some plugins, that's it. You probably have a bunch of new methods available on your Maypole request objects - see the documentation for the plugin.

For others, you will need to set configuration variables or customise other parts of the application. For instance, to add sessions to your application, you can use Maypole::Plugin::Session:

   package BeerDB;
   use strict;
   use warnings;

   use Maypole::Application( 'Session' );

That's all, if you're willing to stick with the defaults (Apache::Session::File backend, session and lock files in /tmp/sessions and /tmp/sessionlock). Otherwise, you need to supply some configuration:

   __PACKAGE__->config->session( { class => "Apache::Session::Flex",
                                   args  => {
                                       Store     => 'DB_File',
                                       Lock      => 'Null',
                                       Generate  => 'MD5',
                                       Serialize => 'Storable'
                                   } );

The plugin module is responsible for adding slots to Maypole::Config, in this case, the session accessor.


Modifying the Maypole request object

Plugins are inserted into the @ISA of the Maypole request object. So method calls on the request object will first search the plugin classes, before looking in Maypole. Methods defined in the plugin are therefore directly available on the request. That also goes for methods inherited by the plugin. I'm not aware of any plugins that currently inherit from another package, but there's no reason not to.

Note that if you need simple accessor methods on the request, you can add them by saying

   Maypole->mk_accessors( qw/ fee fi fo / );

at the start of your plugin. Under mod_perl, you've just added these accessors to all Maypole applications on the server, even ones that do not use this plugin. You could instead make the call inside the setup method:

   $r->mk_accessors( qw/ fee fi fo / );

Now the accessors are only added to applications that use this plugin.

Initialisation with setup

After loading plugins via Maypole::Application, setting configuration variables in calls to __PACKAGE__->config->foo( 'bar' ), and optionally defining custom request methods, your application should call its setup method, generally including arguments for the database connection:

   __PACKAGE__->setup( $dsn, $user, $pass, @more_args );

All of these arguments will be passed to the setup_database method of the model class.

Maypole::setup() is responsible for loading the model class, calling the setup_database method on the model class, and making each table class in the application inherit from the model. It is therefore recommended that you call setup after setting up all your configuration options.

Plugins can intercept the call to setup to carry out their own initialisation, as long as they propagate the call up through the hierarchy. A common idiom for this is:

   use strict;
   use warnings;

   use NEXT;

   sub setup
       my $r = shift;


       # Foo initialisation goes here
       my $option = $r->config->foo_option;

       # do something with $option

NEXT is a replacement for the built-in SUPER syntax. SUPER dispatches a call to the superclass of the current package - but it determines the superclass at compile time. At that time, the superclass is something like main::. NEXT does the superclass lookup at runtime, after Maypole::Application has inserted the plugin into the request class's inheritance chain.

The DISTINCT modifier ensures each plugin's setup method is only called once, and protects against diamond inheritance. This may or may not be an issue in your app - and if you always use the DISTINCT syntax, it won't be.

Notice that the setup call is re-dispatched before running the plugin's own initialisation code. This allows Maypole::setup() to set up the database, model, and table classes, before your plugin starts tweaking things.

You can use the setup method to load modules into the request class namespace. Maypole::Plugin::I18N has:

   sub setup {
       my $r = shift;
       require Locale::Maketext::Simple;
       import Locale::Maketext::Simple
         Class  => $r,
         Export => '_loc',
         Path   => $r->config->lexicon;

Now the application namespace has a _loc function (exported by Locale::Maketext::Simple), (plus lang and maketext methods inherited from Maypole::Plugin::I18N).

More initialisation with init

Maypole also defines an init method. It pulls the name of the view class from the config, loads it, instantiates an object in the view class, and sets this in the view_object config slot.

In CGI applications, init is called at the start of every request.

Under mod_perl, this method will only ever be called once per server child, at the start of the first request after server startup. If instead, you call this method in your application module (after the call to setup), then the code loaded by this call will be shared by all child servers.

See Hacking the view for a plugin that uses init.

Adding configuration

The configuration object can be retrieved from the Maypole request object ($r->config) or as a class method on the application (e.g. BeerDB->config).

If your plugin needs some custom configuration settings, you can add methods to the config object by saying

   Maypole::Config->mk_accessors( qw/ foo bar baz / );

at the start of your plugin. In the application, after the Maypole::Application call, these methods will be available on the config object.

Modifying the Maypole model

Replacing the model

To load a different model, set __PACKAGE__->config->model( 'Custom::Model' ) in the application before calling setup. You could instead set $r->config->model before re-dispatching the setup call, but this is going to confuse and annoy your users.

Hacking the model

CAVEAT: the way I do this just seems dirty, so there must be a Better Way.

Maypole::Plugin::FormBuilder (part of the Maypole::FormBuilder distribution), in its setup method, loads a custom pager class into the model by saying

   eval "package $model; use $pager";

Yuk. Note that under mod_perl, you have just forced every application using $model to also use $pager.

Maypole::Plugin::AutoUntaint::setup() loads an extra method into the model by saying

   no strict 'refs';
   *{"$model\::auto_untaint"} = \&Class::DBI::Plugin::AutoUntaint::auto_untaint;

Yuk again. And again, under mod_perl, now every application using $model has an auto_untaint method added to its model.

Same plugin, next line has

   eval "package $model; use Class::DBI::Plugin::Type";

Same yuk, same mod_perl caveat.

Modifying the Maypole view

Replacing the view

Again, just specify a different view in the application configuration.

Hacking the view

Maypole::Plugin::FormBuilder intercepts the init call to override the vars method in the view class. First it re-dispatches the init call, which will set up either a default view class and object, or those configured in the application. Then it builds a new view class on-the-fly, and makes this new class inherit from Maypole::FormBuilder::View and from the original view class. Finally it replaces the view and view_object in the application's config object.

   sub init
       my ( $class ) = @_;

       my $config = $class->config;


       my $old_view = $class->config->view ||
           die "Please configure a view in $class before calling init()";

       my $virtual_view = "$class\::__::View";

       eval <<VIEW;
   package $virtual_view;
   use base qw( Maypole::FormBuilder::View $old_view );

       die $@ if $@;

       $config->view( $virtual_view );

       $class->view_object( $virtual_view->new );

There really must be a Better Way.


David Baird, <>


Copyright 2005 David Baird, All Rights Reserved.

This text is free documentation; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl documentation itself.