Provided by: libcgi-application-dispatch-perl_3.12-2_all bug


       CGI::Application::Dispatch - Dispatch requests to CGI::Application based objects


   Out of Box
       Under mod_perl:

           <Location /app>
               SetHandler perl-script
               PerlHandler CGI::Application::Dispatch

       Under normal cgi:

       This would be the instance script for your application, such as /cgi-bin/dispatch.cgi:

           use FindBin::Real 'Bin';
           use lib Bin() . '/../../rel/path/to/my/perllib';
           use CGI::Application::Dispatch;

   With a dispatch table
           package MyApp::Dispatch;
           use base 'CGI::Application::Dispatch';

           sub dispatch_args {
               return {
                   prefix  => 'MyApp',
                   table   => [
                       ''                => { app => 'Welcome', rm => 'start' },
                       ':app/:rm'        => { },
                       'admin/:app/:rm'  => { prefix   => 'MyApp::Admin' },

       Under mod_perl:

           <Location /app>
               SetHandler perl-script
               PerlHandler MyApp::Dispatch

       Under normal cgi:

       This would be the instance script for your application, such as /cgi-bin/dispatch.cgi:

           use FindBin::Real 'Bin';
           use lib Bin() . '/../../rel/path/to/my/perllib';
           use MyApp::Dispatch;


       This module provides a way (as a mod_perl handler or running under vanilla CGI) to look at
       the path (as returned by dispatch_path) of the incoming request, parse off the desired
       module and its run mode, create an instance of that module and run it.

       It currently supports both generations of mod_perl (1.x and 2.x). Although, for
       simplicity, all examples involving Apache configuration and mod_perl code will be shown
       using mod_perl 1.x.  This may change as mp2 usage increases.

       It will translate a URI like this (under mod_perl):


       or this (vanilla cgi)


       into something that will be functionally similar to this

           my $app = Module::Name->new(..);
           $app->mode_param(sub {'run_mode'}); #this will set the run mode


       This is the primary method used during dispatch. Even under mod_perl, the handler method
       uses this under the hood.

           use strict;
           use CGI::Application::Dispatch;

               prefix  => 'MyApp',
               default => 'module_name',

       This method accepts the following name value pairs:

           Specify a value to use for the path if one is not available.  This could be the case
           if the default page is selected (eg: "/" ).

           This option will set the string that will be prepended to the name of the application
           module before it is loaded and created. So to use our previous example request of


           This would by default load and create a module named 'Module::Name'. But let's say
           that you have all of your application specific modules under the 'My' namespace. If
           you set this option to 'My' then it would instead load the 'My::Module::Name'
           application module instead.

           This is a hash of arguments that are passed into the "new()" constructor of the

           In most cases, simply using Dispatch with the "default" and "prefix" is enough to
           simplify your application and your URLs, but there are many cases where you want more
           power. Enter the dispatch table. Since this table can be slightly complicated, a whole
           section exists on its use. Please see the "DISPATCH TABLE" section.

           Set to a true value to send debugging output for this module to STDERR. Off by

           This string is similar to Apache ErrorDocument directive. If this value is not
           present, then Dispatch will return a NOT FOUND error either to the browser with simple
           hardcoded message (under CGI) or to Apache (under mod_perl).

           This value can be one of the following:

           A string with error message - if it starts with a single double-quote character (""").
           This double-quote character will be trimmed from final output.

           A file with content of error document - if it starts with less-than sign ("<"). First
           character will be excluded as well. Path of this file should be relative to server

           A URI to which the application will be redirected - if no leading """ or "<" will be

           Custom messages will be displayed in non mod_perl environment only. (Under mod_perl,
           please use ErrorDocument directive in Apache configuration files.)  This value can
           contain %s placeholder for sprintf Perl function. This placeholder will be replaced
           with numeric HTTP error code. Currently CGI::Application::Dispatch uses three HTTP

           400 Bad Request - If there are invalid characters in module name (parameter :app) or
           runmode name (parameter :rm).

           404 Not Found - When the path does not match anything in the "DISPATCH TABLE", or
           module could not be found in @INC, or run mode did not exist.

           500 Internal Server Error - If application error occurs.

           Examples of using error_document (assume error 404 have been returned):

               # return in browser 'Opss... HTTP Error #404'
               error_document => '"Opss... HTTP Error #%s'

               # return contents of file $ENV{DOCUMENT_ROOT}/errors/error404.html
               error_document => '</errors/error%s.html'

               # internal redirect to /errors/error404.html
               error_document => '/errors/error%s.html'

               # external redirect to
               # http://host.domain/cgi-bin/errors.cgi?error=404
               error_document => 'http://host.domain/cgi-bin/errors.cgi?error=%s'

           This tells Dispatch that you are using REST by default and that you care about which
           HTTP method is being used. Dispatch will append the HTTP method name (upper case by
           default) to the run mode that is determined after finding the appropriate dispatch
           rule. So a GET request that translates into "MyApp::Module->foo" will become

           This can be overridden on a per-rule basis in a custom dispatch table.

           In combinaion with auto_rest this tells Dispatch that you prefer lower cased HTTP
           method names.  So instead of "foo_POST" and "foo_GET" you'll have "foo_post" and

       This method returns the path that is to be processed.

       By default it returns the value of $ENV{PATH_INFO} (or "$r->path_info" under mod_perl)
       which should work for most cases.  It allows the ability for subclasses to override the
       value if they need to do something more specific.

       This method is used so that this module can be run as a mod_perl handler.  When it creates
       the application module it passes the $r argument into the PARAMS hash of new()

           <Location /app>
               SetHandler perl-script
               PerlHandler CGI::Application::Dispatch
               PerlSetVar  CGIAPP_DISPATCH_PREFIX  MyApp
               PerlSetVar  CGIAPP_DISPATCH_DEFAULT /module_name

       The above example would tell apache that any url beginning with /app will be handled by
       CGI::Application::Dispatch. It also sets the prefix used to create the application module
       to 'MyApp' and it tells CGI::Application::Dispatch that it shouldn't set the run mode but
       that it will be determined by the application module as usual (through the query string).
       It also sets a default application module to be used if there is no path.  So, a url of
       "/app/module_name" would create an instance of "MyApp::Module::Name".

       Using this method will add the "Apache-"request> object to your application's "PARAMS" as

           # inside your app
           my $request = $self->param('r');

       If you need more customization than can be accomplished with just prefix and default, then
       it would be best to just subclass CGI::Application::Dispatch and override dispatch_args
       since "handler()" uses dispatch to do the heavy lifting.

           package MyApp::Dispatch;
           use base 'CGI::Application::Dispatch';

           sub dispatch_args {
               return {
                   prefix  => 'MyApp',
                   table   => [
                       ''                => { app => 'Welcome', rm => 'start' },
                       ':app/:rm'        => { },
                       'admin/:app/:rm'  => { prefix   => 'MyApp::Admin' },
                   args_to_new => {
                       PARAMS => {
                           foo => 'bar',
                           baz => 'bam',


       And then in your httpd.conf

           <Location /app>
               SetHandler perl-script
               PerlHandler MyApp::Dispatch

       Returns a hashref of args that will be passed to dispatch(). It will return the following
       structure by default.

               prefix      => '',
               args_to_new => {},
               table       => [
                   ':app'      => {},
                   ':app/:rm'  => {},

       This is the perfect place to override when creating a subclass to provide a richer
       dispatch table.

       When called, it receives 1 argument, which is a reference to the hash of args passed into

       This method is used to control how the module name is translated from the matching section
       of the path (see "Path Parsing").  The main reason that this method exists is so that it
       can be overridden if it doesn't do exactly what you want.

       The following transformations are performed on the input:

       The text is split on '_'s (underscores) and each word has its first letter capitalized.
       The words are then joined back together and each instance of an underscore is replaced by
       The text is split on '-'s (hyphens) and each word has its first letter capitalized. The
       words are then joined back together and each instance of a hyphen removed.

       Here are some examples to make it even clearer:

           module_name         => Module::Name
           module-name         => ModuleName
           admin_top-scores    => Admin::TopScores

       This class method is used internally by CGI::Application::Dispatch to take a module name
       (supplied by get_module_name) and require it in a secure fashion. It is provided as a
       public class method so that if you override other functionality of this module, you can
       still safely require user specified modules. If there are any problems requiring the named
       module, then we will "croak".



       Sometimes it's easiest to explain with an example, so here you go:

           prefix      => 'MyApp',
           args_to_new => {
               TMPL_PATH => 'myapp/templates'
           table       => [
               ''                         => { app => 'Blog', rm => 'recent'},
               'posts/:category'          => { app => 'Blog', rm => 'posts' },
               ':app/:rm/:id'             => { app => 'Blog' },
               'date/:year/:month?/:day?' => {
                   app         => 'Blog',
                   rm          => 'by_date',
                   args_to_new => { TMPL_PATH => "events/" },

       So first, this call to dispatch sets the prefix and passes a "TMPL_PATH" into args_to_new.
       Next it sets the table.

       Just so we all understand what we're talking about....

       A table is an array where the elements are gouped as pairs (similar to a hash's key-value
       pairs, but as an array to preserve order). The first element of each pair is called a
       "rule". The second element in the pair is called the rule's "arg list".  Inside a rule
       there are slashes "/". Anything set of characters between slashes is called a "token".

       When a URL comes in, Dispatch tries to match it against each rule in the table in the
       order in which the rules are given. The first one to match wins.

       A rule consists of slashes and tokens. A token can one of the following types:

           Any token which does not start with a colon (":") is taken to be a literal string and
           must appear exactly as-is in the URL in order to match. In the rule


           "posts" is a literal token.

           Any token which begins with a colon (":") is a variable token. These are simply wild-
           card place holders in the rule that will match anything in the URL that isn't a slash.
           These variables can later be referred to by using the "$self->param" mechanism. In the


           ":category" is a variable token. If the URL matched this rule, then you could retrieve
           the value of that token from whithin your application like so:

               my $category = $self->param('category');

           There are some variable tokens which are special. These can be used to further
           customize the dispatching.

               This is the module name of the application. The value of this token will be sent
               to the translate_module_name method and then prefixed with the prefix if there is

           :rm This is the run mode of the application. The value of this token will be the
               actual name of the run mode used. The run mode can be optional, as noted below.


               If no run mode is found, it will default to using the "start_mode()", just like
               invoking CGI::Application directly. Both of these URLs would end up dispatching to
               the start mode associated with /foo:


           Any token which begins with a colon (":") and ends with a question mark (<?>) is
           considered optional. If the rest of the URL matches the rest of the rule, then it
           doesn't matter whether it contains this token or not. It's best to only include
           optional-variable tokens at the end of your rule. In the rule


           ":month?" and ":day?" are optional-variable tokens.

           Just like with variable tokens, optional-variable tokens' values can also be retrieved
           by the application, if they existed in the URL.

               if( defined $self->param('month') ) {

           The wildcard token "*" allows for partial matches. The token MUST appear at the end of
           the rule.


           By default, the "dispatch_url_remainder" param is set to the remainder of the URL
           matched by the *. The name of the param can be changed by setting "*" argument in the
           "ARG LIST".

             'posts/list/*' => { '*' => 'post_list_filter' }

           You can also dispatch based on HTTP method. This is similar to using auto_rest but
           offers more fine grained control. You include the method (case insensitive) at the end
           of the rule and enclose it in square brackets.

             ':app/news[post]'   => { rm => 'add_news'    },
             ':app/news[get]'    => { rm => 'news'        },
             ':app/news[delete]' => { rm => 'delete_news' },

       The main reason that we don't use regular expressions for dispatch rules is that regular
       expressions provide no mechanism for named back references, like variable tokens do.

       Each rule can have an accompanying arg-list. This arg list can contain special arguments
       that override something set higher up in dispatch for this particular URL, or just have
       additional args passed available in "$self->param()"

       For instance, if you want to override prefix for a specific rule, then you can do so.

           'admin/:app/:rm' => { prefix => 'MyApp::Admin' },

Path Parsing

       This section will describe how the application module and run mode are determined from the
       path if no "DISPATCH TABLE" is present, and what options you have to customize the
       process.  The value for the path to be parsed is retrieved from the dispatch_path method,
       which by default uses the "PATH_INFO" environment variable.

   Getting the module name
       To get the name of the application module the path is split on backslahes ("/").  The
       second element of the returned list (the first is empty) is used to create the application
       module. So if we have a path of


       then the string 'module_name' is used. This is passed through the translate_module_name
       method. Then if there is a "prefix" (and there should always be a prefix) it is added to
       the beginning of this new module name with a double colon "::" separating the two.

       If you don't like the exact way that this is done, don't fret you do have a couple of
       options.  First, you can specify a "DISPATCH TABLE" which is much more powerful and
       flexible (in fact this default behavior is actually implemented internally with a dispatch
       table).  Or if you want something a little simpler, you can simply subclass and extend the
       translate_module_name method.

   Getting the run mode
       Just like the module name is retrieved from splitting the path on slashes, so is the run
       mode. Only instead of using the second element of the resulting list, we use the third as
       the run mode. So, using the same example, if we have a path of


       Then the string 'mode2' is used as the run mode.


       ·       CGI query strings

               CGI query strings are unaffected by the use of "PATH_INFO" to obtain the module
               name and run mode.  This means that any other modules you use to get access to you
               query argument (ie, CGI, Apache::Request) should not be affected. But, since the
               run mode may be determined by CGI::Application::Dispatch having a query argument
               named 'rm' will be ignored by your application module.


       With a dispatch script, you can fairly clean URLS like this:


       However, including "/cgi-bin/dispatch.cgi" in ever URL doesn't add any value to the URL,
       so it's nice to remove it. This is easily done if you are using the Apache web server with
       "mod_rewrite" available. Adding the following to a ".htaccess" file would allow you to
       simply use:


       If you have problems with mod_rewrite, turn on debugging to see exactly what's happening:

        RewriteLog /home/project/logs/alpha-rewrite.log
        RewriteLogLevel 9

   mod_rewrite related code in the dispatch script.
       This seemed necessary to put in the dispatch script to make mod_rewrite happy.  Perhaps
       it's specific to using "RewriteBase".

         # mod_rewrite alters the PATH_INFO by turning it into a file system path,
         # so we repair it.
         $ENV{PATH_INFO} =~ s/^$ENV{DOCUMENT_ROOT}// if defined $ENV{PATH_INFO};

   Simple Apache Example
         RewriteEngine On

         # You may want to change the base if you are using the dispatcher within a
         # specific directory.
         RewriteBase /

         # If an actual file or directory is requested, serve directly
         RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
         RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

         # Otherwise, pass everything through to the dispatcher
         RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /cgi-bin/dispatch.cgi/$1 [L,QSA]

   More complex rewrite: dispatching "/" and multiple developers
       Here is a more complex example that dispatches "/", which would otherwise be treated as a
       directory, and also supports multiple developer directories, so "/~mark" has its own
       separate dispatching system beneath it.

       Note that order matters here! The Location block for "/" needs to come before the user

         <Location />
           RewriteEngine On
           RewriteBase /

           # Run "/" through the dispatcher
           RewriteRule ^home/project/www/$ /cgi-bin/dispatch.cgi [L,QSA]

           # Don't apply this rule to the users sub directories.
           RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/~.*$
           # If an actual file or directory is requested, serve directly
           RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
           RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
           # Otherwise, pass everything through to the dispatcher
           RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /cgi-bin/dispatch.cgi/$1 [L,QSA]

         <Location /~mark>
           RewriteEngine On
           RewriteBase /~mark

           # Run "/" through the dispatcher
           RewriteRule ^/home/mark/www/$ /~mark/cgi-bin/dispatch.cgi [L,QSA]

           # Otherwise, if an actual file or directory is requested,
           # serve directly
           RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
           RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

           # Otherwise, pass everything through to the dispatcher
           RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /~mark/cgi-bin/dispatch.cgi/$1 [L,QSA]

           # These examples may also be helpful, but are unrelated to dispatching.
           SetEnv DEVMODE mark
           SetEnv PERL5LIB /home/mark/perllib:/home/mark/config
           ErrorDocument 404 /~mark/errdocs/404.html
           ErrorDocument 500 /~mark/errdocs/500.html


       While Dispatch tries to be flexible, it won't be able to do everything that people want.
       Hopefully we've made it flexible enough so that if it doesn't do The Right Thing you can
       easily subclass it.


       Michael Peters <>

       Thanks to Plus Three, LP ( for sponsoring my work on this module


       This module is a part of the larger CGI::Application community. If you have questions or
       comments about this module then please join us on the cgiapp mailing list by sending a
       blank message to "". There is also a community wiki
       located at <>


       A public source code repository for this project is hosted here:


       ·   Shawn Sorichetti

       ·   Timothy Appnel

       ·   dsteinbrunner

       ·   ZACKSE

       ·   Stew Heckenberg

       ·   Drew Taylor <>

       ·   James Freeman <>

       ·   Michael Graham <>

       ·   Cees Hek <>

       ·   Mark Stosberg <>

       ·   Viacheslav Sheveliov <>


       Since C::A::Dispatch will dynamically choose which modules to use as the content
       generators, it may give someone the ability to execute random modules on your system if
       those modules can be found in you path. Of course those modules would have to behave like
       CGI::Application based modules, but that still opens up the door more than most want. This
       should only be a problem if you don't use a prefix. By using this option you are only
       allowing Dispatch to pick from a namespace of modules to run.


       CGI::Application, Apache::Dispatch


       Copyright Michael Peters and Mark Stosberg 2008, all rights reserved.

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