Provided by: libembperl-perl_2.5.0-12build1_amd64 bug

NAME

       Embperl::Intro - Introduction to Embperl

Content

       What is Embperl?
       Embed Perl Code in HTML Documents
       Meta-Commands
       Dynamic Tables
       Form Processing
       Maintaining persistent (session) data
       Breaking up your code in components
       Debugging
       Database Access
       Security
       Escaping/Unescaping

What is Embperl?

       Embperl has started as a Perl module for simply embedding Perl into HTML and has grown to
       a full featured system to build dynamic content (not only) under mod_perl. The version 1.x
       focuses on HTML documents, also it could be used for any sort of ascii files, and brings a
       lot of features especially useful in a web-environment. These features include handling of
       form data and dynamic HTML tables/lists, session management and context sensitive escaping
       and unescaping. Moreover you can break up your documents in small reusable
       components/objects and build an object-oriented website out of such objects, by using
       inheritance and specifically overriding parts of the page. Also Embperl can cope with
       pages that are screwed up by high-level HTML editors, so your designer can still use their
       favorite tool.

       Embperl 2.0, which is a complete rewrite of the Embperl core, is not only much faster then
       1.x, but adds new possibilities. You can extend or define your own syntax, thus giving the
       chance to trigger actions on certain tags or inventing your own tags (creating a taglib).
       It is much more modularized, so specific steps could be replaced by a custom processor and
       more than one processor can act on a document before it goes to the browser (just like a
       Unix pipe). To enhance performance 2.0 introduces caching of the output or intermediate
       steps.

       Due to this modularization, it is now possible to replace the Embperl parser by an XML
       parser and to do XML processing, for example by plugging in an XSLT processer in the
       processing pipeline.  Embperl 2.0 can utilize libxml2 and libxslt for XML and XSLT
       processing.

       All versions of Embperl can be used offline (as a normal CGI script or as a module from
       other Perl code), but its real power comes when running under mod_perl and Apache. It's
       directly integrated with Apache and mod_perl to achieve the best performance by directly
       using Apache functions and precompiling your code to avoid a recompile on every request.

   How does it compare to other templating solutions ?
       Embperl is not the only processor for embedded Perl code.  I guess every second
       webprogrammer builds his own templating engine. Most of them are very similar and easy,
       but do a good job in a certain environment. Often after a while these programmer discover,
       they need more features and that other people in the same situation has already build a
       soltuion for their problems.  At the moment there are five widely used Perl modules for
       generating dynamic web content (Embperl, Apache::ASP, HTML::Mason, Template::Toolkit and
       AxKit). All of these have their special strength.  So why to use Embperl? We believe that
       Embperl, especialy the version 2.0, covers all of the aspects of these modules and
       integrates them in one module with addtionaly benefits that are unique to Embperl.
       Additionally Embperl is the fastest of these solutions, because it's engine is totaly
       written in C and is optimized for delivering dynamic content online.

       Another competitor for Embperl is PHP.  PHP is developing a strong user base, because it
       is rumored to be easy to learn, and was designed specifically for HTML. Also PHP is
       probably one of the strongest open source alternatives to using Perl in your HTML, it's
       target is very webcentric and you may discover at a certain point that is has its
       limitations when you try to realize great projects.  Also it's not true, like some
       anecdotal stories on the Web might want to make you believe, that PHP is faster than Perl.
       Perl, and therefore Embperl also, scales and performs very well for high end solution.

   Focus of this document
       This tries to be an introduction to the basics of Embperl.  "perldoc IntroEmbperlObject"
       gives you an tutorial about how to build an object-oriented website.

How to Embed Perl Code in HTML Documents

       Perl code can be embedded in three ways:

   1.)    [- ... -]    Execute code
           [- $a = 5 -]  [- $b = 6 if ($a == 5) -]

       The code between the [- and the -] is executed. No output will be generated in the HTML.
       This is mainly for assignments, function calls, database queries, etc.

   2.)    [+ ... +]    Output the result
           [+ $a +]  [+ $array[$b] +] [+ "A is $a" +]

       The code between the [+ and the +] is executed and the return value (the value of the last
       expression evaluated) is output (sent to the browser in the HTML stream).

   3.)    [! ... !]    Execute code once
           [! sub foo { my ($a, $b) = @_ ; $a * $b + 7 } !]

       Same as [- ... -], but the code is only executed for the first request.  This is mainly
       for function definitions and one-time initialization.

   Meta-Commands
       Embperl support some meta commands to control the "program flow" within the Embperl
       document. This can be compared to preprocessor commands in C. The meta commands take the
       following form:

           [$ <cmd> <arg> $]

       if, elsif, else, endif
               The if command is just the same as in Perl.  It is used to conditionally
               output/process parts of the document.  Example:

                [$ if $ENV{REQUEST_METHOD} eq 'GET' $]
                   This is a GET request
                [$ elsif $ENV{REQUEST_METHOD} eq 'POST' $]
                   This is a POST request
                [$ else $]
                   This is not GET and not POST
                [$ endif $]

               This will output one of the three lines depending on the setting of
               $ENV{REQUEST_METHOD}.

       while, endwhile
               The while command can be used to create a loop in the HTML document.  For example:

                [$ while ($k, $v) = each (%ENV) $]
                   [+ $k +] = [+ $v +] <BR>
                [$ endwhile $]

               The above example will display all environment variables, each terminated with a
               line break.

       do, until
               The do until also create a loop, but with a condition at the end.  For example:

                [- @arr = (3, 5, 7); $i = 0 -]
                [$ do $]
                   [+ $arr[ $i++ ] +]
                [$ until $i > $#arr $]

       foreach, endforeach
               Create a loop iterating over every element of an array/list.  Example:

                [$ foreach $v (1..10) $]
                   [+ $v +]
                [$ endforeach $]

       var <var1> <var2> ...
               By default, you do not need to declare any variables you use within an Embperl
               page. Embperl takes care of deleting them at the end of each request. Sometimes,
               though, you want to declare them explicitly.  You can do this by using var:

                [$ var $a @b %c $]

               Has the same effect as the Perl code:

                use strict ;use vars qw {$a @b %c} ;

       hidden  hidden is used for creating hidden form fields and is described in the form field
               section below.

Dynamic Tables

       A very powerful feature of Embperl is the processing of dynamic tables.  This feature was
       designed mainly to display Perl arrays (one or two dimensional, regular and irregular),
       but can also be used in other ways.

   Display a Perl Array
        [- @a = ( 'A', 'B', 'C') ; -]
        <TABLE BORDER=1>
          <TR>
               <TD> [+ $a[$row] +] </TD>
          </TR>
        </TABLE>

       The above example simply displays a table with three rows containing A, B and C.

       The trick is done by using the magical variable $row which contains the row count and is
       incremented for every row. The table ends if the expression which contains $row returns
       <undef>.  The same can be done with $col for columns and $cnt can be used if you need a
       table which wraps after a certain number of elements.

       This works with table/select/menu/ol/dl/dir

   Simple DBI Example
       Here is a simple DBI example that displays the result of a query as a two dimension table,
       with field names as headings in the first row:

        [-
        # connect to database
         $dbh = DBI->connect($DSN) ;

        # prepare the sql select
        $sth = $dbh -> prepare ("SELECT * from $table") ;

        # execute the query
        $sth -> execute ;

        # get the fieldnames for the heading in $head
        $head = $sth -> {NAME} ;

        #continues on the next page...
        # get the result in $dat
        $dat = $sth -> fetchall_arrayref ;
        -]

        <table>
           <tr><th>[+ $head->[$col] +]</th></tr>
           <tr><td>[+ $dat -> [$row][$col] +]</td></tr>
        </table>

Form fields

   Posted form data available in %fdat/@ffld
       The hash %fdat contains all values of  form fields. The array @ffld contains the names in
       the order in which they were submitted.

   Input/Textarea/Select tags take values from %fdat
       If you do not specify a default value for an input tag and a value for that input tag is
       available in %fdat, Embperl will automatically insert this value and send it to the
       browser. This is similar to the behavior of CGI.pm.  This means that if you post a form to
       itself, the browser will display the values you just entered.

   [$ hidden $]
       [$ hidden $] creates hidden form fields for all fields not in another input field. This
       can be used to transport data through confirmation forms.  (For example, a wizard.)

   A simple Text input / Confirmation form
       The following example shows many of the possibilities of Embperl.  It's a simple form
       where you can enter your name, your email address and a message. If you hit the send
       button, you see the data you just entered and can confirm the information by hitting the
       "send via mail" button, or you can go back to the input form to change the data. If you
       confirm your input, the data will be sent to a predefined e-mail address. The example also
       shows how you can implement error checking--if you miss your name or your e- mail address,
       you will get a corresponding error message and the input form is shown again.

       The first part is the error checking; the second part the confirmation form; the third
       part sends the mail if the input was ok and is confirmed; the last part is the input form
       itself.

       Depending on the values of $fdat{check}, $fdat{send} and if $fdat{name} and $fdat{email}
       contains data, the document decides which part to show.

        [-  $MailTo = 'richter\@ecos.de' ;

         @errors = () ;
         if (defined($fdat{check}) || defined($fdat{send}))
           {
           push @errors, "**Please enter your name" if (!$fdat{name}) ;
           push @errors, "**Please enter your e-mail address" if (!$fdat{email}) ;
           }
        -]

        [$if (defined($fdat{check}) and $#errors == -1)$]
        [-
         delete $fdat{input} ;
         delete $fdat{check} ;
         delete $fdat{send}
        -]

        <hr><h3> You have entered the following data:</h3>
        <table>
         <tr><td><b>Name</b></td><td>[+$fdat{name}+]</td></tr>
         <tr><td><b>E-Mail</b></td><td>[+$fdat{email}+]</td></tr>
         <tr><td><b>Message</b></td><td>[+$fdat{msg}+]</td></tr>
         <tr><td align="center" colspan="2">
            <form action="input.htm" method="GET">
              <input type="submit" name="send"
                     value="Send to [+ $MailTo +]">
              <input type="submit" name="input" value="Change your data">
              [$hidden$]
           </form>
           </td></tr>
        </table>

        [$elsif defined($fdat{send}) and $#errors == -1$]

        [- MailFormTo ($MailTo,'Formdata','email') -]
        <hr><h3>Your input has been sent</h3>

        [$else$]

        <hr><h3>Please enter your data</h3>

        <form action="input.htm" method="GET">
         <table>
           [$if $#errors != -1 $]
             <tr><td colspan="2">
             <table>
           <tr><td>[+$errors[$row]+]</td></tr>
             </table>
             </td></tr>
           [$endif$]
           <tr><td><b>Name</b></td> <td><input type="text"
                                               name="name"></td></tr>
           <tr><td><b>E-Mail</b></td> <td><input type="text"
                                                 name="email"></td></tr>
           <tr><td><b>Message</b></td> <td><input type="text"
                                                  name="msg"></td></tr>
           <tr><td colspan=2><input type="submit"
                                    name="check" value="Send"></td></tr>  </table>
        </form>

        [$endif$]

Maintaining persistent (session) data

        (Embperl 1.2 or above)

       While hidden fields are useful when working with forms, it's often necessary to store
       persistent data in a more general way. Embperl utilizes Apache::Session to do this job.
       Apache::Session is caple of storing persistent data in memory, in a textfile or in a
       database.  More storage methods may supported in the future. While you can simply call
       Apache::Session from an Embperl page, Embperl can do it for you. All you need to do is to
       put your data in the hash %udat. The next time the same user requests any Embperl page
       %udat will contain the same data. You can simply use this to keep state information for
       the user. Depending on your expire settings, the state can also kept between mulitiple
       sessions. A second hash, %mdat, can be used to keep a state for one page, but for multiple
       users. A simple example would be a page hit counter:

         The page is requested [+ $mdat{counter}++ +] times
         since [+ $mdat{date} ||= localtime +]

       The above example counts the page hits and shows the date when the page is first
       requested.  You don't need to worry about performance - as long as you don't touch %udat
       or %mdat, no action is taken.

Breaking your code up into components

        (Embperl 1.2 or above)

   Subroutines
       It is better to write subroutines than to keep placing repetitive pieces of code in your
       program many times. You can do this with Embperl too.  As an example, if you have text
       input fields with labels, this may work better for you:

        [$ sub textinput $]
           [- ($label, $name) = @_ -]
           [+ $label +]<input type=text name=[+ $name +]>
        [$ endsub $]

        <form>
           [- textinput ('Last Name', 'lname')  -]<p>
           [- textinput ('First Name', 'fname') -]<p>
        </form>

       The sub metacommand starts the subroutine and the parameters are passed in the array @_.
       You can do anything in the subroutine that you would normally be able to do inside normal
       Embperl pages. Embperl lets you call this subroutine just like any other Perl subroutine:
       just write its name and, if necessary, the parameter list.

   Execute
       If you are working on an entire site rather than just a few pages, you are well aware that
       there are always elements which occur in every page or across many pages. Instead of
       copying the source code to every page, you can include other Embperl pages in your page -
       so you have to write the source only once.  Such an included page could be a header, a
       footer, a navigation bar, and so on.  Embperl is not only capable of including such
       partial pages, you can also pass arguments - for example, to tell the navigation bar which
       of its own element to highlight:

        Example for a simple navigation bar

        [- @buttons = ('Index', 'Infos', 'Search') -]
        <table><tr><td>
            [$if $buttons[$col] eq $param[0]$] <bold> [$endif$]
            <a href="[+ $buttons[$col] +].html"> [+ $buttons[$col] +] </a>
            [$if $buttons[$col] eq $param[0]$] </bold> [$endif$]
        </td></tr></table>
        <hr>

       Now if you are on the "Info" page you can include the navigation bar this way:

        [- Execute ('navbar.html', 'Infos') -]

       This will include the navigation bar, which is stored in the file navbar.html, and pass as
       its first parameter the string 'Infos'. The navigation bar module itself uses a dynamic
       table to display one column - which contains the text and a link - for every item in the
       array @buttons. The text which matches that which is passed as the first parameter is
       displayed in bold. There is also a long form of the Execute call, which allows you to
       control all of the details of how the called page is executed.

   Creating Component Libraries
       Instead of creating a single file for every piece of HTML-code you wish to include, you
       can pack them together in just one library. To do this, split up every piece of code you
       want to include separately in one Embperl subroutine (sub-metacommand). Now, you can use
       the import parameter of the Execute function to import all of the subrountines defined in
       one file, into the namespace of the current page. Afterwards, you are able to call them
       just like any other Perl subroutine.

       Moreover, if you wish to have some systemwide Embperl subroutines, you can put all the
       Embperl code in a normal Perl module (a foo.pm file), install it into your Perl system (or
       a private library path), and use it just like any other Perl module - just by saying

         use mymodule;

Debugging

   Embperl log file
       The log file is the main source for debugging. It shows you what Embperl does while it
       processes your page. Depending on the debug flag settings, Embperl logs the following
       things:

       Source
       Parsing
       Compiling
       Environment
       Form data
       Evals (Source + Result)
       Table processing
       Input tag processing
       HTTP headers
       and more

       Additionally you can write your own debug information to the Embperl logfile by writing to
       the special filehandle "LOG" which is opend by Embperl.

Database access

   Plain DBI
       This is another example of using plain DBI within Embperl.  In opposition to the example I
       gave in the chapter about dynamic tables, this example works with explicit loops.

        [-
        # connect to database
        $dbh = DBI->connect($DSN) ;
        # prepare the sql select
        $sth = $dbh -> prepare ("SELECT * from $table") ;

        # execute the query
        $sth -> execute ;

        # get the fieldnames for the heading in $head
        $head = $sth -> {NAME} ;
        -]

        <table>
           <tr>
           [$ foreach $h (@$head) $]
               <th>[+ $h +]</th>
           [$ endforeach $]
           </tr>
           [$ while $dat = $sth -> fetchrow_arrayref $]
               <tr>
                   [$ foreach $v (@$dat) $]
                       <td>[+ $v +]</td>
                   [$ endforeach $]
               </tr>
           [$ endwhile $]
        </table>

   DBIx::Recordset
       DBIx::Recordset is a module for easy database access.

   Search Example
        [-*set = DBIx::Recordset -> Search ({%fdat,
                                            ('!DataSource'   => $DSN,
                                             '!Table' => $table,
                                             '$max'   => 5,)}) ; -]
        <table>
         <tr><th>ID</th><th>NAME</th></tr>
         <tr>
           <td>[+ $set[$row]{id} +]</td>
           <td>[+ $set[$row]{name} +]</td>
         </tr>
        </table>
        [+ $set -> PrevNextForm ('Previous Records',
                                 'Next Records',
                                 \%fdat) +]

   Search sets up a Recordset object
       Search will take the values from %fdat and use them to build a SQL WHERE expression. This
       way, what you search for depends on what is posted to the document.  For example, if you
       request the document with http://host/mydoc.html?id=5 the above example will display all
       database records where the field 'id' contains the value 5.

   Data can accessed as array or via the current record
       The result of the query can be accessed as an array (this does not mean that the whole
       array is actually fetched from the database).  Alternative, you can directly access the
       current record just by accessing the fields.

           set[5]{id}   access the field 'id' of the sixth found record
           set{id}      access the field 'id' of the current record

   Fields can be accessed by name
       While normal DBI let you access your data by column numbers, DBIx::Recordset uses the
       field names. This makes your program easier to write, more verbose and independent of
       database changes.

   PrevNextForm generates no/one/two buttons depending if there are more records to display
       The PrevNextButtons function can be used to generate button for showing the previous
       record or the next records. PrevNextButton generates a small form and includes all
       necessary data as hidden fields. To get it to work, it's enough to feed this data to the
       next request to Search.

   As for Search there are methods for Insert/Update/Delete
       Example for Insert

       If %fdat contains the data for the new record, the following code will insert a new record
       into the database.

        [-*set = DBIx::Recordset -> Insert ({%fdat,
                                             ('!DataSource'   => $DSN,
                                              '!Table' => $table)}) ; -]

   Database table can also tied to a hash
       DBIx::Recordset can also tie a database table to a hash. You need to specify a primary key
       for the table, which is used as key in the hash.

           $set{5}{name}    access the name with the id=5
                            (id is primary key)

Security

       When running under mod_perl, all Perl code shares the same interpreter.  This means that
       every application can access data from every other application. Embperl maintains a
       separate namespace for every document, which is enough to avoid accidentally overwriting
       other applications data, but there is no real security. You can access any data from any
       other application that runs on the same server process under mod_perl if you explicitly
       specify a package name.  This is not a problem of Embperl itself, but caused by the design
       of Apache and mod_perl.

Escaping/Unescaping

   Input: unescaping
       Embperl is able to unescape the source it reads. That is usfull when you use a high level
       HTML editor, which might add unwanted html tags like <BR> into your Perl code.

       This feature if off by default in Embperl 2.0 and can be turned on with the configuration
       directive EMBPERL_INPUT_ESCMODE.

       When turned on it does

       convert HTML escapes to characters (e.g. &lt; to <)
       remove HTML tags from Perl code (e.g. <br> insert by high level editor)

   Output: escaping
       It's very important to do a correct escing of your HTML output, to avoid security problems
       like cross-site-scripting. Therefor Embperl escapes all output that comes from Perl. This
       escaping is context sensitv and uses HTML or URL escaping, depending on the context. It's
       also possible to use XML escaping.

       The output escaping can be configured by the configuration directive "EMBPERL_ESCMODE" or
       changed anytime inside any page by setting $escmode

How to continue

       There are two addtionaly introduction documents:

       "perldoc IntroEmbperlObject" gives you an tutorial about how to build an object-oriented
       website.

       "perldoc IntroEmbperl2" describes the advanced features of Embperl 2

       For a full documentation read "perldoc Embperl" and "perldoc Config".

       You can find additional information on http://perl.apache.org/embperl