Provided by: libhtml-mason-perl_1.58-1_all bug


       HTML::Mason::FAQ - Frequently asked questions


   Can I set a page's inheritance dynamically at request time (e.g. based on URL arguments)?
       No. Inheritance is a fixed property of a component, determined once when the component is
       loaded. Dynamic inheritance is on the todo list.

   How can I tell Mason to use autohandlers or dhandlers when calling one component from another
       component (i.e. internal redirect)?
       Usually this situation arises when a top-level component makes a run-time decision to use
       a second component as the "real" page, and calls it via <& &> or $m->comp.

       Autohandlers and dhandlers are only triggered for the top-level component of a request. In
       1.1, you can use an Apache internal redirect or a Mason subrequest ($m->subexec) to solve
       the problem.

   I added a simple autohandler to a directory and now my pages don't appear.
       Make sure to include a call to $m->call_next somewhere in the autohandler.

   Where does a dhandler inherit from? Can I change it to inherit based on the URL path?
       A dhandler's inheritance is determined by its location in the hierarchy, not by the URL
       that invoked it.

       Consider a site with the following components:


       and suppose a request comes in for /products/index.html. /dhandler will handle the request
       but will still inherit from /autohandler.

       This is not always the desired behavior, but there is no easy way to change it. If you
       want /products/* requests to use /products/autohandler, you'll need to create
       /products/dhandler as well.

   Can I change the value of an attribute dynamically, based on the request?
       No, attributes are static. The closest thing to a dynamic attribute is a method. If you've
       been using an attribute widely and don't want to change it to a method everywhere,
       consider using an attribute/method combination. Suppose your attribute is called
       'bgcolor'. Create a default method called 'bgcolor' in the autohandler:

              <%method bgcolor>
              return $m->base_comp->attr('bgcolor');

       Then replace every other





              <& SELF:bgcolor &>

       Now you can leave the attribute definitions alone, but define a method if and when you
       need a dynamically computed value.

   When using multiple component roots and autohandlers, does every autohandler in every root get
       called, and in what or
       Mason will try each autohandler path in turn, e.g.


       For each path, it will search all of the component roots, and only run the *first*
       autohandler found. Some of the autohandlers might come from one root and some from
       another.  However, there is no way that multiple autohandlers would be run for the same
       path (/foo/autohandler, for example.) There is also no way for /foo/autohandler in root 1
       to explicitly call /foo/autohandler in root 2.

       People sometimes ask for this behavior to be changed. We feel it's a bad idea because
       multiple component roots, right now, are very clean in both behavior and implementation.
       Trying to run multiple autohandlers for the same path would require a complex set of
       precedence rules that would almost certainly lead to unpredictable behavior. (Think about
       multiple versions of multiple autohandlers at different directory levels, and trying to
       predict which order they'd run in.)


   When I change a component I don't always see the results in the output. How do I invalidate
       Mason code caches?
       Mason employs two kinds of code caching. First, Mason caches loaded components in memory.
       Second, Mason keeps an object file (a compiled version of the component) for every loaded
       component under data_root/obj.

       Before executing a memory-cached component, Mason compares the stored timestamp with the
       timestamp of the source file. If the source file has a later timestamp, Mason will load
       the component from the filesystem.

       Similarly, before using an object file, Mason compares the modified timestamp of the
       source and object files. If the source file has a later timestamp, then it is reparsed and
       the object file is overwritten.

       The system is designed so that you will immediately see the effects of source file
       changes. There are several ways for this system to breakdown; most are easy to avoid once
       you know about them.

       * If you copy or move in a component source file from elsewhere, it will retain the
       original file's timestamp, which may be earlier than the object file.

       * If you use tar, rsync, rdist or similar programs to transfer components, the timestamps
       of the created files may not be updated to the current time. Check the program's
       documentation for timestamp-related options.

       * If you use a shared file system like NFS, the timestamps of locally created files may
       not jibe with timestamps of NFS files due to differences in machine clocks.

       * If you ftp files onto a running server, Mason may read the file while it is incomplete.
       If the ftp then completes within the same second, Mason will not notice the change, and
       won't ever read the complete file.

       When in doubt, touching the source files (with the Unix touch command, or by re-saving in
       an editor) should force Mason to reload the component. If that does not work, try removing
       the object files and/or restarting the server to clear the memory cache. However, these
       remedies should be necessary only to diagnose the caching problem, not for normal Mason
       operation. On a normal Mason system cache expiration should just work "as expected".

   Mason code caching breaks down often in my situation. Couldn't you do something smarter than
       just comparing the timestamps?
       When coming up with invalidation schemes, we must consider efficiency as well as failure
       predictability. The current scheme does fail in certain situations, but those situations
       are very predictable. If you incorrectly use tar or copy or another technique mentioned
       above, you'll see the cache invalidation failure very quickly.

       Some alternatives that have been suggested:

       * Compare the sizes of the files as well as timestamps, or use the more liberal "source
       timestamp != object timestamp". This would indeed increase the chance of catching a
       change. But it would still fail occasionally (e.g. when changing a single character, or
       when copying an old-timestamp file that just happens to match the current timestamp),
       resulting in intermittent, head-scratching errors. In our opinion, it is better to fail
       miserably up front and be forced to fix your system than to have a mostly-working system
       that fails once a week. This is especially true when you are relying on Mason's cache
       invalidation on a production system.

       * Comparing MD5 or other signatures of the content. This would be very accurate, but would
       require reading and processing the source file instead of just performing a stat. This
       extra expense reduces the effectiveness of the cache.

       The bottom line: If you are relying on Mason's cache invalidation on a production system,
       you should take the time and build in the appropriate infrastructure to ensure that source
       file timestamps are always up-to-date after they are copied/untarred into place.

   When I change code in a library file I don't see the results. How can I get Mason to reread
       the library files?
       mod_perl processes, in general, do not automatically reread your library files. You either
       have to stop and start the server whenever you change a library file, or install something
       like Apache::Reload which will automate their reloading. However, see ApacheReload for
       important usage information.

   Once I've made an error in a component, the error keeps appearing in the logs, no matter how
       many times I fix it and reload!
       Are you using Apache::Reload in its default (!ReloadAll) mode? If so, see ApacheReload for

   Do data cache files expire automatically when a component or its dependencies change?
       Unfortunately they do not. This is on the to-do list.

       With Mason 1.1x and beyond, you can use the following idiom to say ``expire when my
       component source file changes'':

               expire_if=>sub {
                     (stat($m->current_comp->source_file))[9] > $_[0]->get_created_at
               } )

       With Mason <= 1.05, the idiom looks like:

                expire_if=>sub {
                     (stat($m->current_comp->source_file))[9] > $_[0]
                } )


   What is a component?
       A component is a file that contains some combination of text (typically HTML), perl code
       and HTML::Mason directives.

       Some components are accessed directly by web browsers. These are called top-level
       components. A top-level component might consist purely of static HTML.

       Other components are support components, which are called by top-level components or other
       support components. These components are analogous to perl subroutines -- they allow you
       to create small packages of code that you can reuse throughout your project.

   How do components communicate with each other?
       Components can return values to their callers, just like subroutines.

       Some components may have very simple return values. As an example, consider a component
       called isNetscape which returns a true value when the client's browser is Netscape and
       undef when it is not. The isNetscape component could then be used easily in an if() or
       other control statement.

       Of course, components can also return strings of text, arrays, hashes or other arbitrarily
       complex perl data structures.

   How do I use modules in components?
       Technically you can just say "use module-name" at the beginning of a component. The
       disadvantages of this method are that:

       * the module will be used separately by every httpd child process, costing both time and

       * it is difficult to keep track of all the modules being used on a site.

       A more efficient method is to put the use line in the or use the PerlModule
       directive. If you want components to be able to refer to symbols exported by the module,
       you need to use the module inside the HTML::Mason::Commands package. See the "External
       modules" section of the Administrator's Guide:

   Can I define subroutines in components?
       Defining a named subroutine in a <%perl> or <%init> section does not work reliably because
       such a definition would end up residing inside another subroutine, and Perl doesn't like

       You can technically define named subroutines inside the <%once> section of any component,
       but we highly discourage this, because all components are executed in the same namespace.
       This makes it easy to create two subroutines with the same name in two different

       Consider the following options:

       * If the routine is going to display HTML, use a separate component or a <%def>

       * If the subroutine is only of use in your component, use an anonymous subroutine defined
       in <%once>. Even though you could define the anonymous subroutine in any section, a
       <%once> is recommended, both for performance and to avoid nested-anonymous-subroutine
       leaks in Perl <=5.6. Example:

             my $foo = sub {


             % $foo->()

       * If the subroutine is of interest to more than just your component, have you considered
       putting it in a module?

       Note that calling a component, while reasonably fast, is about an order of magnitude
       slower than calling an equivalent subroutine. So if you're going to call the routine many
       times in a loop, you may wish to use the anonymous subroutine for performance reasons.
       Benchmark for yourself.

   Does Mason set the current working directory (".") for me?
       Mason does not touch the working directory, as this would entail an unnecessary
       performance hit for the majority of users that don't need it.

       In an Apache environment, the working directory will be set in a more-or-less random way,
       depending on such seemingly irrelevant factors as whether you started the server in
       single-process mode or not. In a non-Apache environment the working directory will be
       whatever it was before Mason started executing.

       Often people expect the working directory to be the directory of the current component.
       You can, instead, get that directory manually with


   How do I exit from all components including the ones that called me?
       Use $m->abort, documented in the Request manual:

   Why does my output have extra newlines/whitespace and how can I get rid of it?
       Any newlines that are not either inside a tag or on a %-line will become part of the
       output. Since browsers ignore extra whitespace this is not generally a problem, but there
       are situations where it matters, e.g. within <pre> tags.

       First, for components that only return a value and shouldn't output *any* content, you
       should always use <%init>:


             This content will be ignored.

              my $bar = $dbh->selectrow_array("SELECT bar FROM t WHERE foo=?", $foo);
              return $bar;

       In components that do display content, there are various strategies. To eliminate selected
       newlines, use the backslash. For example,

              % if (1) {
              % }

       outputs "foobarbaz" with no newlines.

       To prevent a component from outputting any newlines, use a filter:


       To emit binary data without the risk of inserting extra whitespace, surround your code
       with $m->clear_buffer and $m->abort, to suppress any preceding and following content:

              my $fh = IO::File->new('< binary_file') or die $!;
              my $buffer;
              while (read $fh, $buffer, 8192) {

       At some point Mason will probably offer a "reasonable" whitespace removal feature,
       controlled by parameter.

   I'm trying to generate an image or other binary file, but it seems to be getting corrup
       This is almost always caused by unwanted whitespace at the beginning or end of your binary
       data. Put a $m->clear_buffer before, and an $m->abort after, your code. See the last part
       of the answer above.

       In Apache 1.0 a real working example looks like this:

          my $fh;
          my $fileName = '/tmp/mypic.jpg';
          open ( $fh, $fileName ) or die $!;

          $r->content_type( 'image/jpeg' ); # set mime-type
          $r->send_fd ( $fh );
          close ( $fh );

       In Apache 2.0 use:

          use Apache2::Const qw(HTTP_OK)

          my $fileName = 'someimage.jpg';
          $r->content_type( 'image/jpeg' );
          $r->sendfile( $fileName )
          $r->abort( Apache2::Const::HTTP_OK );

   How do I put comments in components?
       * Put general comments in the <%doc> section.

       * In the <%init> and <%cleanup> sections, and in a <%perl> block, use standard Perl
       comments ('#').

       * In Mason 1.3 and beyond, use <%# %> for single or multi-line comments anywhere outside
       of Perl sections. Before 1.3, this syntax isn't guaranteed to work; one alternative is to
       begin a line with %#.

       * If you are producing HTML, you can use standard HTML comments delimited by <!-- -->. The
       difference is that these comments will appear in the final output.

   What's a good way to temporarily comment out code in a component?
       For HTML, you might be tempted to surround the section with <!-- -->. But be careful! Any
       code inside the section will still execute. Here's a example of commenting out a call to
       an ad server:

             <!-- temporarily comment out
             <& FetchAd &>

       The ad will still be fetched and counted, but not displayed!

       A better way to block out a section is if (0):

             % if (0) {
             % }

       Code blocked out in this way will neither be executed nor displayed, and multiple if (0)
       blocks can be nested inside each other (unlike HTML comments).

       Another way to block out code is with a <%doc> tag or a <%# %> comment, although these not
       cannot be nested.

   How can I capture the output of a component (and modify it, etc.) instead of having it
       automatically output?
       Use $m->scomp, documented in the Request manual:

   Can I use globals in components?
       All HTML::Mason components run in the same package (HTML::Mason::Commands), so if you set
       a global variable in one you'll be able to read it in all the others. The only problem is
       that Mason by default parses components with strict mode on, so you'll get a warning about
       the global (and Mason considers all such warnings fatal). To avoid errors, simply declare
       your globals via the MasonAllowGlobals parameter.

             PerlSetVar MasonAllowGlobals $dbh
             PerlAddVar MasonAllowGlobals $user

       If you have a file, you can also declare global variables in the handler()
       subroutine as long as you explicitly put them in the HTML::Mason::Commands package.

             package HTML::Mason::Commands;
             use vars qw(...);

       or use the Parser allow_globals parameter.

       Alternatively you can turn off strict entirely by passing:

             use_strict => 0

       when you create the Parser object. Then you can use all the globals you want. Doing this
       is terribly silly, however, and is bound to get you in trouble down the road.

   How do I share variables between components?
       First, you can pass variables from one component to another.

       Second, you can use globals. All components run in the same package (HTML::Mason::Commands
       as of this writing), so globals in this package are visible to all components. See the
       previous question.

       There is no way to share a variable between just a few components; this is a limitation of
       Perl's scoping rules. You can make a variable /visible/ to only certain components using
       'our' declarations:

               our ($shared_var);

       See the Perl documentation on 'our' to make sure you understand what this is doing.

       The <%shared> section is /not/ for sharing variables among different file components. It
       is for sharing variables among the subcomponents and methods of a single file component.

   Why does the order of output get mixed up when I use print or $r->print?
       This should no longer happen with Mason 1.10+. For those users still using older versions
       of Mason, read the following:

       Since your server is most likely in batch mode, all Mason output gets buffered til the end
       of the request. print and $r->print circumvent the buffer and thus come out before other
       Mason output.

       Solution: don't use print or $r->print. Use $m->out if you must output inside a Perl
       section. See the section on output mode in the Administrator's Guide.

       and the section on $m->out in the Request manual.

   Why doesn't my <%cleanup> code run every time the component runs?
       A <%cleanup> block is equivalent to a "<%perl>" block at the end of the component. This
       means it will NOT execute if the component explicitly returns, or if an abort or error
       occurs in that component or one of its children.

       If you need code that is guaranteed to run when the component or request exits, consider
       using a mod_perl cleanup handler, or creating a custom class with a DESTROY method.

   Is <%args> exactly like %ARGS, and do I need to worry about it?
       Mason allows you to predeclare arguments to components by specifying variables to hold
       those arguments in an <%args></%args> section. Because these are perl variables that you
       are predeclaring, they must have legal perl identifier names -- they can't, for example,
       contain periods.

       If you want to pass arguments that are not identified with legal perl names, you must
       manually pull those arguments out of the %ARGS hash that mod_perl sets up for you. Why
       would you want to name your arguments un-legally, you ask? Well, just for starters, the
       form input element <input type="image" name="clickable"> will pass arguments clickable.x
       and clickable.y to the action url automatically. If you want to access these, you'd have
       to use $ARGS{clickable.x} and $ARGS{clickable.y} rather than trying to declare them in

   Why does Mason display the wrong line numbers in errors?
       Due to limitations in the 1.0x parser, Mason can only display line numbers relative to
       object files.

       In 1.1 and on, error line numbers correctly reflect the component source.

   How can I get a list of components matching a path pattern?
       Use the resolver's glob_path method:

             my @paths = $m->interp->resolver->glob_path('/some/comp/path/*');

       This will work even with multiple component roots; you'll get a combined list of all
       matching component paths in all component roots.

   Can I access $m (the request object) from outside a component, e.g. inside a subroutine?
       In 1.1x and on, use

             my $m = HTML::Mason::Request->instance;

       Before 1.1x, use

             my $m = HTML::Mason::Commands::m;

   How can I make the |h escape flag work with my Russian/Japanese/other-non-western encoding?
       The |h flag is implemented with [=HTML::Entities::encode_html]. This function, by default,
       escapes control chars and high-bit chars as well as <, >, &, and ". This works well for
       ISO-8559-1 encoding but not with other encodings.

       To make |h escape just <, >, &, and ", which is often what people want, put the following
       in your Apache configuration:

              PerlSetVar  MasonEscapeFlags  "h => \&HTML::Mason::Escapes::basic_html_escape"

       Or, in a top-level autohandler:

              $m->interp->set_escape( h => \&HTML::Mason::Escapes::basic_html_escape );

   When using multiple component roots, is there a way to explicitly call a component in a
       specific root?
       Multiple component roots were designed to work just like Perl's @INC.  A given component
       path matches exactly one file, the first file found in an ordered search through the
       roots. There is no way to explicitly ask for a file in a specific root.

       People sometimes ask for the ability to do this. We feel it's a bad idea because it would
       endanger the cleanliness of multiple component roots in both behavior and implementation.
       As it stands now, the rules are very easy to understand and the implementation is very
       clean and isolated; only the resolver really needs know about multiple component roots.

       If you want to be able to explicitly refer to components in a given root, put an extra
       subdirectory between the root and the components.  e.g. put your components in


       then add the root as

           ['global', '/usr/local/htdocs/global']

       Now you can prefix a path with /global to refer to any component in that root.

       Alternatively, [
       MasonX::Request::ExtendedCompRoot] is a subclass of Mason that does allow you to call
       components in a specific component root.

   Is there a syntax checker like perl -c for components?
       It is impossible to write a truly generic standalone script to syntax check components,
       because components rely on certain globals and modules to be present in their environment.
       Mason may report compile errors from such a script even though they would not occur in
       your normal web environment.

       The best you can do is write a standalone script that mimics your web environment as much
       as possible - in particular, declaring the same globals and loading the same modules.
       Instead of actually executing components, your script need only load them with
       $interp->load(). This method will throw a fatal error if a component fails to load.


   How do I access GET or POST arguments?
       GET and POST arguments are automatically parsed and placed into named component arguments
       just as if you had called the component with <& &> or $m->comp. So you can get at GET/POST
       data by pre-declaring argument names and/or using the %ARGS hash which is always

   How can I access the raw content of a POST in a Mason component?
       It depends on your environment as to what you can do.

       Apache/mod_perl has an easier way of doing it than CGI/FCGi, which uses FakeApache. As you
       can see from the comment, since FakeApache implements read, I couldn't get it to be
       completely dynamic:

               my $inputText;
               # FakeApache implements read, so we can't automatically tell
               # if we're in mod_perl or FCGI
               if (0 && $r->can('read')){
                       $r->read( $inputText, $r->headers_in->{'Content-length'} );
               else {
                       my %params = $r->params;
                       my $posted_content = $params{POSTDATA} || $params{keywords};
                       $posted_content ||= join '', %params if ($r->method eq 'POST');
                       $posted_content = join '', @$posted_content if (ref $posted_content eq 'ARRAY');
                       $inputText = $posted_content

       -- Gareth Kirwan

       Probably $r->params does not work. there is no such method in 'man Apache'

       -- Rajesh Kumar Mallah.

   What happens if I include query args in a POST?
       As of Mason 1.01, query string and POST arguments are always combined.

   Should I use to read GET/POST arguments?
       No! HTML::Mason automatically parses GET/POST arguments and places them in declared
       component arguments and %ARGS (see previous question). If you create a CGI object in the
       usual way for a POST request, it will hang the process trying to read $r->content a second

   Can I use to output HTML constructs?
       Yes. To get a new CGI object, use

             my $query = new CGI('');

       You have to give the empty string argument or CGI will try to read GET/POST arguments.

       To print HTML constructs returned by CGI functions, just enclose them in <%%>, e.g.

             <% $query->radio_group(...) %>

   How do I modify the outgoing HTTP headers?
       Use the usual functions, such as $r->header_out. See the "Sending HTTP Headers"
       section in the Component Developer's Guide.

   How do I do an external redirect?
       In Mason 1.0x, use code like this:

               # The next two lines are necessary to stop Apache from re-reading
               # POSTed data.
               $r->header_out('Location' => $location);

       In Mason 1.1x, use the [=$m->redirect] method.

       See the next question if your redirect isn't producing the right status code.

   When trying to use $m->redirect I get 'Can't locate object method "redirect" via package
       $m->redirect is supported only in Mason 1.1x and on. Check your Mason version by putting

              Version = <% $HTML::Mason::VERSION %>

       in a component.

   Why isn't my status code reaching users' browsers?
       If you are using a, your handler() routine should always return the error code
       that handle_request($r) produces. Otherwise, things like $m->abort() will not work
       correctly. So a very, very simple handler() routine would look like this:

             sub handler {
               my $r = shift;

       If you are using $m->abort or $m->redirect and there is an eval() wrapped directly or
       indirectly around the call, you must take care to propagate abort exceptions after the
       eval(). This looks like:

              eval { $m->comp('...') };
              if ($@) {
                 if ($m->aborted) {
                     die $@;
                 } else {
                     # deal with non-abort exceptions

   How can I handle file uploads under Mason?
       The basic HTML for an upload form looks like:

              <form action="..." method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
              Upload new file:
              <input name="userfile" type="file" class="button">
              <input type="submit" value="Upload">

       The way you handle the submission depends on which args method you chose for the
       !ApacheHandler class.

       Under the 'CGI' method (default for 1.0x), you can use the [=$m->cgi_object] method to
       retrieve a object which can be used to retrieve the uploaded file. Here is an
       example using the 'CGI' method:

         my $query = $m->cgi_object;

         # get a filehandle for the uploaded file
         my $fh = $query->upload('userfile');

         # print out the contents of the uploaded file
         while (<$fh>) {

       Please see the [ documentation]
       for more details.

       Under the 'mod_perl' method (default for 1.1x), the request object available as [=$r] in
       your components will be an object in the Apache::Request class (as opposed to the Apache
       class). This object is capable of returning Apache::Upload objects for parameters which
       were file uploads. Please see the [Apache::Request
       documentation] for more details.  Here is an example using the 'mod_perl' method:


          # NOTE: If you are using libapreq2 + mod_perl2 + Apache 2,
          # you will need to uncomment the following line:
          # use Apache::Upload;

          # you can store the file's contents in a scalar
          my $file_contents;

          # create an Apache::Upload object
          my $upload = $r->upload;

          # get a filehandle for the uploaded file
          my $upload_fh = $upload->fh;

          while(<$upload_fh>) {
              # loop through the file and copy each line to $file_contents
              $file_contents .= $_;

       For more information on how to manually set the args method, see the !ApacheHandler

       If you are using, there are some configuration issues to be aware of. needs
       a tmp directory, and you probably want to be able to specify what that directory is.

       Try doing this in your httpd.conf or

             use CGI qw(-private_tempfiles);

       You must do this _before_ you load either the HTML::Mason or HTML::Mason::!ApacheHandler

       That may change which directories CGI tries to use.

       You could also try

             $CGI::TempFile::TMPDIRECTORY = '/tmp';

       during startup, either in your httpd.conf or

       The root of the problem is probably that the temp directory is being chosen when the
       module loads uring server startup while its still root. It sees it can write to /usr/tmp
       and is happy. Then when actually running as nobody it dies.

       I bet Lincoln would welcome a patch (hint, hint). One solution would be to check if you're
       running under mod_perl and you're root. If so, then check Apache->server->uid and see if
       that id can write to the temp directory too.

   How can I redirect the current request to be a file download?
       A detailed explanation is provided in ForceFileDownload.

   How can I manipulate cookies?
       You can use the helpful modules Apache::Cookie and CGI::Cookie. It's also fairly easy to
       roll your own cookie-manipulation functions, using the methods provided by the $r global.

       One thing to avoid: the combination of CGI::Cookie, Apache::Request, and POST requests has
       caused people problems. It seems that Apache::Cookie and Apache::Request make a better

   How can I populate form values automatically?
       Several CPAN modules provide form-filling capabilities. HTML::!FillInForm is one good
       choice and works well with Mason. Here's a sample code snippet:

            $_ = HTML::FillInForm->new->fill(scalarref => \$_, fdat => \%ARGS );

       This will work for any component that contains a complete form in its output.

       If you are using Apache::Request to process incoming arguments under mod_perl (the default
       as of 1.10), then you can also do this:

            use HTML::FillInForm;
            $_ = HTML::FillInForm->new->fill(scalarref => \$_, fobject => $r );

       These two examples are slightly different from each other, in that each makes a different
       set of parameters available to HTML::!FillInForm. In the first example, the arguments used
       are those that were explicitly passed to the component. In the second example, the
       arguments are those that were passed in the initial HTTP request. Of course, variations on
       this are possible by mixing and matching %ARGS, $m->request_args, $m->caller_args, and so


   What else do I need to use Mason?
       If you are planning on using Mason in a web environment with the Apache webserver, you'll
       need a working copy of Apache and mod_perl installed. Make sure that your mod_perl
       installation works correctly before trying to get Mason working. Also, if you are running
       RedHat Linux, beware the mod_perl RPMs that ship with RedHat. They were unreliable for a
       very long time, and their current state is still murky.

   What platforms does Mason run on?
       Because Mason consists of only Perl code, it should work anywhere Perl runs (including
       most Unix and Win32 variants). If it doesn't work on your operating system, let us know.

   Can I run Mason outside a web server?
       Yes, in fact Mason can be useful for generating a set of web pages offline, as a general
       templating tool, or even as a code generator for another language. See the "Standalone
       Mode" section of the Interpreter manual.

   Can I run Mason via CGI?
       Yes. See "Using Mason from a CGI script" in the Interpreter manual.

       The examples in the docs requires that you have Mason 1.10+ installed.

       Note that running Mason under CGI (or other non-persistent environments) will entail a
       substantial performance hit, since the perl interpreter will have to load, load up Mason
       and its supporting modules for every CGI execution. Using mod_perl or similar persistent
       environments (SpeedyCGI, FastCGI, etc.) avoids this performance bottleneck.

   Can I use Mason with Apache/mod_perl 2.0?
       Yes, as of Mason 1.27 (released 10/28/2004), there is support for Apache/mod_perl 2.0 in
       the core Mason code. You may find other hints at ApacheModPerl2.

   Where can I find a web host supporting Mason?
       Please check the [Hosting] page for a list of hosting providers supporting HTML::Mason.
       You may also be interested in the list of [ ISPs
       supporting mod_perl], however, there are reports that this document has not been
       maintained in several years.

   What does the error "Can't locate object method 'TIEHASH' via package 'Apache::Table'" mean?
       It means that Mason is trying to use some of mod_perl's "table" interface methods, like
       $r->dir_config->get('key') or the like. It's failing because your mod_perl server wasn't
       compiled with support for Apache's Table API.

       To fix the problem, you'll have to recompile your server, adding the PERL_TABLE_API=1 flag
       (or EVERYTHING=1).

       If you can't recompile your server, you can edit the Mason source code. Find a line in that looks like this (it's line 365 in Mason 1.04):

             my @val = $mod_perl::VERSION < 1.24 ? $c->dir_config($p) :

       and change it to:

             my @val = Apache::perl_hook('TableApi') ? $c->dir_config->get($p) :

       Recent versions of Mason use that, or a variant of it.

   What does the error "Can't locate Apache/ in @INC" m
       You are using the default !ApacheHandler args_method ('mod_perl'), which requires that you
       have installed the Apache::Request package (libapreq).

       You can either install libapreq, or change args_method to 'CGI'. The latter is a bit
       slower and uses more memory.

   Why am I getting segmentation faults (or silently failing on startup)?
       There are a few known mod_perl issues that cause segmentation faults or a silent failure
       on the part of Apache to start itself up. Though not specific to Mason, they are worth
       keeping in mind:

       * Are you using a dynamically-linked mod_perl? DSO mod_perl builds were unstable for a
       long time, although they might finally be getting better. Rebuild Apache with mod_perl
       linked statically and see if the problem goes away. Also see

       * Earlier versions of XML::Parser and Apache could conflict, because both  would
       statically compile in expat for XML parsing. This was fixed as of Apache version 1.3.20
       and XML::Parser 2.30, both of which can be compiled against the same shared libexpat. You
       can also build Apache with '--disable-rule=EXPAT'. Matthew Kennedy points out that 'If
       "strings `which httpd` | grep -i xml" returns anything, you have this problem.'

       * Are you using Perl 5.6.0? Though not widespread, Perl 5.6.0 can generate sporadic
       segmentation faults at runtime for some Perl code. Specifically, evals of moderate
       complexity appear problematic. And, since Mason uses lots of evals of moderate complexity,
       you can't avoid them. If the two suggestions above don't solve your segfault problem and
       you are running Perl 5.6.0, try upgrading to Perl 5.6.1.


   Where did the name come from?
       It was inspired by a recent reading of Ken Follett's "The Pillars Of The Earth." The book
       centered around the life of a mason, a builder of great churches and buildings.


   Is Mason fast?
       It is typically more than fast enough. 50-100 requests per second for a simple component
       is typical for a reasonably modern Linux system. Some simple benchmarking indicates that a
       Mason component is typically about two to three times slower than an equivalent, hand-
       coded mod_perl module.

       Although benchmarks on [ Apache Hello World! benchmarks] site
       shows that Mason code is five (simple Hello World page, [=hello.mas]) to ten (heavyweight
       template, [=h2000.mas]) times slower than mod_perl solution.

       Beware of "Hello World!" and other simple benchmarks. While these benchmarks do a good job
       of measuring the setup and initialization time for a package, they are typically not good
       measures of how a package will perform in a complex, real-world application. As with any
       program, the only way to know if it meets your requirements is to test it yourself.

       In general, however, if your application is fast enough in pure mod_perl, it will most
       likely be fast enough under HTML::Mason as well.

   How can I make my Mason application run faster?
       The first thing you can do to optimize Mason performance is to optimize your mod_perl
       installation. Consider implementing some of the tuning tips recommended in
       mod_perl_tuning, which ships with every copy of mod_perl.

       If your application still needs to run faster, consider using Mason's caching methods
       ($m->cache and $m->cache_self) to avoid regenerating dynamic content unnecessarily.

   Does Mason leak memory?
       Mason 1.10 and 1.11 do have a memory leak. This is fixed with 1.12. Earlier versions of
       Mason may leak some memory when using the "mod_perl" args_method, due to what is arguably
       a bug in Apache::Request.

       If you do find other memory leaks that are traceable to Mason, please check the known bugs
       list to make sure it hasn't already been reported. If it hasn't, simplify your
       (if you have one) and the offending component as much as possible, and post your findings
       to the mason-users mailing list.

       Of course it is always possible for your own component code to leak, e.g. by creating and
       not cleaning up global variables. And mod_perl processes do tend to grow as they run
       because of "copy-on-write" shared-memory management. The mod_perl documentation and
       performance faq make good bedtime reading.

       If you are using RedHat's mod_perl RPM, or another DSO mod_perl installation, you will
       leak memory and should switch to a statically compiled mod_perl.


   Why are my config file changes not taking effect?
       1. After changing an httpd.conf or or other server configuration file, make
       sure to do a FULL stop and start of the server. By default, the server will not reread
       Perl scripts or configuration when using "apachectl restart" or when sending a HUP or USR1
       signal to the server.

       For more details see "Server Stopping and Restarting" in the mod_perl guide.

       2. Note that you cannot use Mason httpd parameters (MasonCompRoot, MasonErrorMode, etc.)
       and a script that creates an ApacheHandler object at the same time. Depending
       on how you declare your PerlHandler, one or the other will always take precedence and the
       other will be ignored. For more details see "Site Configuration Methods" in the Admin

   What filename extensions should I use for Mason components?
       Unlike many templating systems, Mason comes with no obvious filenaming standards. While
       this flexibility was initially considered an advantage, in retrospect it has led to the
       proliferation of a million different component extensions (.m, .mc, .mhtml, .mcomp, ...)
       and has made it more difficult for users to share components and configuration.

       The Mason team now recommends a filenaming scheme with extensions like .html, .txt, .pl
       for top-level components, and .mhtml, .mtxt, .mpl for internal (non-top-level) components.

       Whatever naming scheme you choose should ideally accomplish three things:

       * Distinguish top-level from internal components. This is obviously crucial for security.

       * Distinguish output components from those that compute and return values. This improves
       clarity, and forces the component writer to decide between outputting and returning, as it
       is bad style to do both.

       * Indicate the type of output of a component: text, html, xml, etc. This improves clarity,
       and helps browsers that ignore content-type headers (such as IE) process non-HTML pages

   Can I serve images through a HTML::Mason server?
       If you put images in the same directories as components, you need to make sure that the
       images don't get handled through HTML::Mason. The reason is that HTML::Mason will try to
       parse the images and may inadvertently find HTML::Mason syntax (e.g. "<%"). Most images
       will probably pass through successfully but a few will cause HTML::Mason errors.

       The simplest remedy is to have HTML::Mason decline image and other non-HTML requests, thus
       letting Apache serve them in the normal way.

       Another solution is to put all images in a separate directory; it is then easier to tell
       Apache to serve them in the normal way. See the next question.

       For performance reasons you should consider serving images from a completely separate
       (non-HTML::Mason) server. This will save a lot of memory as most requests will go to a
       thin image server instead of a large mod_perl server. See Stas Bekman's mod_perl guide and
       Vivek Khera's performance FAQ for a more detailed explanation. Both are available at

   How can I prevent a particular subdirectory from being handled by HTML::Mason?
       Suppose you have a directory under your document root, "/plain", and you would like to
       serve these files normally instead of using the HTML::Mason handler. Use a Location
       directive like:

             <Location /plain>
               SetHandler default-handler

       Or suppose you have a "/cgi-bin" that you want to process via CGI:

             <Location /cgi-bin>
               SetHandler cgi-script

       When you have multiple Location directives, the latest ones in the configuration have the
       highest precedence. So to combine the previous directive with a typical Mason directive:

             <Location />
               SetHandler perl-script
               PerlHandler HTML::Mason

             <Location /cgi-bin>
               SetHandler cgi-script

       More generally, you can use various Apache configuration methods to control which handlers
       are called for a given request. Ken Williams uses a FilesMatch directive to invoke Mason
       only on requests for ".html" files:

              <FilesMatch  "\.html$">
                SetHandler perl-script
                PerlHandler HTML::Mason

       Or you could reverse this logic, and write FilesMatch directives just for gifs and jpegs,
       or whatever.

       If you are using a, you can put the abort decision in your handler() routine.
       For example, a line like the following will produce the same end result as the <Location
       /plain> directive, above.

             return -1 if $r->uri() =~ m|^/plain|;

       However, performance will not be as good as the all-Apache configuration.

   Why am I getting 404 errors for pages that clearly exist?
       The filename that Apache has resolved to may not fall underneath the component root you
       specified when you created the interpreter in HTML::Mason requires the file to
       fall under the component root so that it can call it as a top-level component. (For
       various reasons, such as object file creation, HTML::Mason cannot treat files outside the
       component root as a component.)

       If you believe the file is in fact inside the component root and HTML::Mason is in error,
       it may be because you're referring to the Apache document root or the HTML::Mason
       component root through a symbolic link. The symbolic link may confuse HTML::Mason into
       thinking that two directories are different when they are in fact the same. This is a
       known "bug", but there is no obvious fix at this time. For now, you must refrain from
       using symbolic links in either of these configuration items.

       The same thing could also happen in any context with more than one way to specify a
       canonical filename. For example, on Windows, if your document root starts with "C:" and
       your component root starts with "c:", you might have this problem even though both paths
       should resolve to the same file.

       With Mason 0.895 and above, if you set Apache's LogLevel to warn, you will get appropriate
       warnings for these Mason-related 404s.

   Some of my pages are being served with a content type other than text/html.  How do I get
       HTML::Mason to properly set the content type?
       HTML::Mason doesn't actually touch the content type -- it relies on Apache to set it
       correctly. You can affect how Apache sets your content type in the configuration files
       (e.g. srm.conf). The most common change you'll want to make is to add the line

             DefaultType text/html

       This indicates that files with no extension and files with an unknown extension should be
       treated as text/html. By default, Apache would treat them as text/plain.

   Microsoft Internet Explorer displays my page just fine, but Netscape or other browsers just
       display the raw HTML code.
       The most common cause of this is an incorrect content-type. All browsers are supposed to
       honor content-type, but MSIE tries to be smart and assumes content-type of text/html based
       on filename extension or page content.

       The solution is to set your default content-type to text/html. See previous question.

   My configuration prevents HTML::Mason from processing anything but html and text extensions,
       but I want to generate a dynamic image using HTML::Mason.  How can I get HTML::Mason to
       set the correct MIME type?
       Use mod_perl's $r->content_type function to set the appropriate MIME type. This will allow
       you to output, for example, a GIF file, even if your component is called
       dynamicImage.html. However there's no guarantee that every browser (e.g. Internet
       Explorer) will respect your MIME type rather than your file extension. Make sure to test
       on multiple browsers.

   How do I bring in external modules?
       Use the PerlModule directive in your httpd.conf, or if you have a file, put the
       'use module' in there. If you want components to be able to refer to symbols exported by
       the module, however, you'll need to use the module inside the HTML::Mason::Commands
       package. See the "External modules" section of the Administrator's Guide.

   How do I adjust Perl's INC path so it can find my modules?
       You can do this:

           use lib ...

       or this:

           PerlSetEnv PERL5LIB /path/one:/path/two:...

   How do I use Mason in conjunction with UserDir to support Mason in user's home directories?
       The idea is to create one ApacheHandler for each user, dynamically. You will need to use a or other wrapper code (see "Writing a Wrapper" in the Adminstrator's Manual).

       Outside your handler subroutine:

              # $user_regexp: a regexp that matches the root directory of Mason.
              #               Make sure there is one arg in parens that represents
              #               the actual username--the handler uses this.
              my $user_regexp = qr'/Users/([^/]*)/(?:public_html|Sites)';
              my %user_handlers;

              # Create base ApacheHandler object at startup.
              my $base_ah = new HTML::Mason::ApacheHandler( comp_root => $comp_root,
                                                         data_dir  => $data_dir );

       Inside your handler subroutine:

              sub handler
                  my $r=$_[0];
                  # Have a different handler for each home directory
                  my $curr_ah;
                  my $filename = $r->filename();
                  if($filename =~ m!$user_regexp!) {
                      my $user_name = $1;
                      $curr_ah = $user_handlers{$user_name};
                      if(!$curr_ah) {
                          $filename =~ m!($user_regexp)!;
                          my $user_dir = $1;
                          $curr_ah = new HTML::Mason::ApacheHandler(comp_root=>[[$user_name => $user_dir]],
                          $user_handlers{$1} = $curr_ah;
                  } else {
                      $curr_ah = $base_ah;
                  my $status = $curr_ah->handle_request($r);

                  return $status;

   How do I connect to a database from Mason?
       The short answer is that most any perl code that works outside Mason, for connecting to a
       database, should work inside a component. I sometimes do draft development and quick
       debugging with something like:

             use DBI;

             my $dbh = DBI->connect ( blah, blah );

       The long answer is, of course, longer. A good deal of thought should be put into how a web
       application talks to databases that it depends on, as these interconnections can easily be
       both performance bottlenecks and very un-robust.

       Most people use some sort of connection pooling -- opening and then re-using a limited
       number of database connections. The Apache::DBI module provides connection pooling that is
       reliable and nearly painless. If Apache::DBI has been use'd, DBI->connect() will
       transparently reuse an already open connections, if it can.

       The "right" place to ask Apache::DBI for database handles is often in a top level

       For example:

             my $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:mysq:somedb', 'user', 'pw');
             ... # other processing
             $m->call_next( %ARGS, dbh => $dbh );

       Alternately, $dbh could be a global variable which you set via MasonAllowGlobals.

       You can use Apache::DBI in your httpd.conf file quite easily simply by adding:

             PerlModule Apache::DBI

       If you want to do more with Apache::DBI, like call connect_on_init, you can use a <Perl>

             use Apache::DBI;
             Apache::DBI->connect_on_init('dbi:mysql:somedb', 'user', 'pw');
             Apache::DBI->setPingTimeOut('dbi:mysql:somedb', 0);

       Others may simply use a file. Georgiou Kiriakos writes:

             You can connect in the - I find it convenient to setup a
             global $dbh in it.  You just need to make sure you connect inside
             the handler subroutine (using Apache::DBI of course).  This way a)
             each httpd gets it's own connection and b) each httpd reconnects if
             the database is recycled.

       Regardless of whether you set up global $dbh variables in, the static sections
       of should set up Apache::DBI stuff:

             # List of modules that you want to use from components (see Admin
             # manual for details)
                package HTML::Mason::Commands;
                use Apache::DBI;
                # use'ing Apache::DBI here lets us connect from inside components
                # if we need to.
                # --
                # declare global variables, like $dbh, here as well.

             # Configure database connection stuff
             my $datasource = "DBI:blah:blah";
             my $username = "user";
             my $password = "pass";
             my $attr = { RaiseError=>1 ,AutoCommit=>1 };
             Apache::DBI->connect_on_init($datasource, $username, $password, $attr);
             Apache::DBI->setPingTimeOut($datasource, 0);

   How come a certain piece of Perl code runs fine under "regular" perl, but fails under Mason?
       Mason is usually a red herring in this situation. Mason IS "regular" perl, with a very
       simple system to translate Mason component syntax to Perl code.  You can look at the
       object files Mason creates for your components (in the obj/ subdirectory of the Mason data
       directory) to see the actual Perl code Mason generates.

       If something suddenly stops working when you place it in a Mason environment, the problem
       is far more likely to rest with the following environmental changes than with Mason

       * With mod_perl, the server is running under a different user/group and thus has different
       permissions for the resource you're trying to access

       * With mod_perl, code can stay resident in the perl interpreter for a long time.

       * Your headers may be sent differently under mod_perl than under your previous CGI
       situation (or whatever it was)

       Mason does not have anything to do with sending mail, or accessing a database, or
       maintaining user accounts, or server authentication, so if your problems are in areas like
       these, your time will be better spent looking at other environmental changes like the ones
       mentioned above.

   I'm using HTML::Mason::!ApacheHandler and I have decline_dirs disabled and am using a dhandler
       to handle directory requests. But when a request comes in without the final slash after
       the directory name, relative links are broken. What gives?
       Mason has always incorrectly handled such directory requests; this issue will be resolved
       in the 1.3 release. The reason it will only be fixed in the next major version is that
       some folks may have come to rely on this functionality. So it's considered breaking
       backwards compatibility. But if you need it to do the right thing now, fear not! There are
       a number of workarounds to ensure that Apache adds a slash and redirects the browser to
       the appropriate URL. See HandlingDirectoriesWithDhandlers for all the juicy details.

       UPGRADING TO 1.1x

   After upgrading, I see this error whenever I load a page: "The following parameter was passed
       in the call to HTML::Mason::Component::FileBased->new() but was not listed in the
       validation options: create_time"
       Delete all of your object files.

   When I try to start my server I see an error like: "The resolver class your Interp object uses
       does not implement the apache_request_to_comp_path' method.
       This means that ApacheHandler cannot resolve requests.

       Are you using a file created before version 1.10?  Please see the
       sample that comes with the latest version of Mason.

       You are explicitly creating an Interp object in your and then passing that to

       Instead, simply pass all of your Interp parameters to ApacheHandler->new directly. The
       parameters will end up going where they belong.

   When I start Apache (or try to use Mason) I get an error like this: "The Parser module is no
       longer a part of HTML::Mason.  Please see the Lexer and Compiler modules, its
       The Parser module is no longer used.

   I get an error like: "The following parameters were passed in the call to
       HTML::Mason::Container::new but were not listed in the validation options: error_format
       error_mode request_class resolver_class" when using ApacheHandler
       Do you have PerlFreshRestart turned on? Turn it off.

       See - "Evil things might happen
       when using PerlFreshRestart".

   I get an error like this: 'Can't locate object method "make_ah"
       package "Apache"' === We're not kidding. PerlFreshRestart is evil. Turn it off. See
       question above.

   I get: "Unknown config item 'comp_root'" or "Unknown config item 'comp_root'" or something
       similar with ApacheHandler.
       Turn PerlFreshRestart off. Really.

   I get this with a custom 'Can't call method "handle_request" on an undefined value
       at ...'
       Just in case you weren't convinced that PerlFreshRestart is a bad idea, this should help
       convince you.

   After upgrading, I get this error for all my components: '<%' without matching '%>' ...
       The "perl_' prefix for Mason tags, like <%perl_args>, is no longer supported. Remove this


   Where do I obtain HTML::Mason?
       HTML::Mason is available from CPAN (the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network). Details about
       CPAN are available at See the [FAQ:Installation] section of this
       document for tips on obtaining and installing Mason.

   Where can I ask questions about HTML::Mason?
       See ContactUs and MailingLists.