CGI::Application::Structured - A medium-weight, MVC, DB web micro-framework.


A simple, medium-weight, MVC, DB web micro-framework built on CGI::Application. The framework combines tested, well known plugins and helper scripts to provide a rapid development environment.

The bundled plugins mix the following methods into your controller runmodes:







    $c->log->info('This also works')

    my $value = $c->session->param('key')

    my $conf_val = $c->cfg('field');

    my $select = $c->superform->select(
                        name    => 'select',
                        default => 2,
                        values  => [ 0, 1, 2, 3 ],
                        labels  => {
                                0 => 'Zero',
                                1 => 'One',
                                2 => 'Two',
                                3 => 'Three'

    sub method: Runmode {my $c = shift; do_something();}

    $c->fill_form( \$template )

    my  $results = $ ->check_rm(
              || return $c->check_rm_error_page;


I have taken to heart a recent comment by Mark Stosberg on the CGIApp mailing list:

    "Titanium is just one vision of what can be built on top of CGI::Application. Someone else could easily combine their own combination of CGI::Application and different favorite plugins, and publish that with a different name."

CGI::Application::Structured, like Titanium, is an opinionated framework, based on CGI::Application. Both frameworks includes a number of vetted CGI-App plugins each of which are well documented and tested. C::A::Structured, however takes the view that developer time and consistent projects structures can often be more cost-effective than focusing on the highest performance on low cost hosting solutions. That being said, C::A::Structured can be deployed on CGI, FastCGI or mod_perl based on your needs.

C::A::Structured focuses on:

  • adequate performance under CGI, but with more focus speed of development.

  • a well-defined project structure with directories for model classes, controllers and view templates.

  • a powerful templating DSL via Template Toolkit integration.

  • a integrated Object Relational Mapper, DBIx::Class

  • no runmode configuration required.

  • integrated form building to simplify creation of complex HTML form elements.

  • clean url-to-controller mapping by default.

C::A::Structured comes in two packages:

  • CGI::Application::Strutured - encapsulates the runtime environment.

  • CGI::Application::Structured::Tools - includes project creation and developemt scripts for developers.

CGI::Application::Structured::Tools are used to generate a micro-architecture and helper scripts that work within that structure to speed development and maintain project structure across development teams and projects. The helper scripts eliminate the tedium of error-prone manual creation of controllers, templates and database mappings and provide a recognizeable structural conventions that reduced stress on the developer when working across multiple apps, or working with other developers code on the same project.

The first script that is used is ''. This script is used to generate the initial project skeleton. The skeleton app contains a base controller class rather than runnable module as would be found in Titanium. Also generated is a default 'Home' controller subclass and a URL dispatcher that is customized to default to the Home controllers generated 'index' runmode. also generates additional helper scripts in your projects 'scripts' subdirectory:



'' is used by the developer to generate additional controller subclasses of your base module with a default 'index' runmode and a default TT template for that runmode.

'' generates a DBIx::Class::Schema subclass and a set of resultset subclasses for your database. These Object Relational Maps (ORM) will greatly simplify and speed database assess and manipulation in the development process.

Finally CGI::Application::Structured aims to be as compatible as possible with Catalyst. Many plugins used in CGI::Application::Structured are also available for Catalyst, or are even defaults in Catalyst. If your projects needs grow in scope or scale to require Catalyst, porting much of your code will be very easy.

CGI::Application::Structured Tutorial

In this tutorial we will build a simplistic database driven web application using CGI::Application::Structured to demonstrate using the starter and helper scripts as well as the minimal required configuration.

CGI::Application::Structured assumes that you have a database that you want to use with the web. If you have a database you can use for this tutorial. Otherwise, jump to the "Create The Example Database" section at the bottom of this page before starting the tutorial.


You will need to install CGI::Application::Structured which provides the runtime requirements. You will also need to install CGI::Application::Structured::Tools which supplies the development environment.

    ~/dev$ sudo cpan
    cpan> install CGI::Application::Structured
          ... ok
    cpan> install CGI::Application::Structured::Tools
          ... ok
    cpan> exit

Creating A Project

    ~/dev$ --module=MyApp1 \
                               --author=gordon \
                               --email="" \
    Created MyApp1
    Created MyApp1/lib
    Created MyApp1/lib/                      # YOUR *CONTROLLER BASE CLASS* !
    Created MyApp1/t
    Created MyApp1/t/pod-coverage.t
    Created MyApp1/t/pod.t
    Created MyApp1/t/01-load.t
    Created MyApp1/t/test-app.t
    Created MyApp1/t/perl-critic.t
    Created MyApp1/t/boilerplate.t
    Created MyApp1/t/00-signature.t
    Created MyApp1/t/www
    Created MyApp1/t/www/PUT.STATIC.CONTENT.HERE
    Created MyApp1/templates/MyApp1/C/Home
    Created MyApp1/templates/MyApp1/C/Home/index.tmpl # DEFAULT HOME PAGE TEMPLATE
    Created MyApp1/Makefile.PL
    Created MyApp1/Changes
    Created MyApp1/README
    Created MyApp1/MANIFEST.SKIP
    Created MyApp1/t/perlcriticrc
    Created MyApp1/lib/MyApp1/C                       # YOUR CONTROLLERS GO HERE 
    Created MyApp1/lib/MyApp1/C/               # YOUR *DEFAULT CONTROLLER SUBCLASS*
    Created MyApp1/lib/MyApp1/             # YOUR CUSTOM DISPATCHER
    Created MyApp1/config
    Created MyApp1/config/               # YOU CONFIG -- MUST BE EDITED BY YOU!
    Created MyApp1/script
    Created MyApp1/script/       # IMPORTANT HELPER SCRIPT
    Created MyApp1/script/        # ANOTHER IMPORTANT HELPER SCRIPT.
    Created MyApp1/                          # SERVER USES YOUR CUSTOM DISPATCH.PM
    Created MyApp1/MANIFEST
    Created starter directories and files

Configure Your Database

CGI::Application::Structured is database centric in some sense and expects that you have a database. Before running your app via you need to configure your database access.

The example config is generated at MyApp1/config/ The contents are shown here.

        use strict;
        my %CFG;                        

        $CFG{db_dsn} = "dbi:mysql:myapp_dev";
        $CFG{db_user} = "root";
        $CFG{db_pw} = "root";
        $CFG{tt2_dir} = "templates";
        return \%CFG;

Using the root account is shown here as a worst-practice. You should customize the file supplying the correct database dsn, user and passwords for your database.

If you do not have a database and want to use an example see "Create Example Database" below before continuing.

The configuration file will be found automatically when running with the built in server, but when you deploy your application you may want, or need, to update the config file location in lib/MyApp1/ to point to your production config file.

For information on advanced configuration see: CGI::Application::Plugin::ConfigAuto

Generate A DBIx::Class Schema For Your Database

From your project root directory run the helper script to generate DBIx::Class::Schema and Resultset packages. This will use the configuration you supplied in to produce a in your apps lib/MAINMODULE directory

        ~/dev/My-App1$ perl script/ 
        Dumping manual schema for DB to directory /home/gordon/dev/MyApp1/lib/MyApp1/DB ...
        Schema dump completed.

Given the example database shown below your resulting DBIx::Class related files and folders would look like this:

    ~/dev/MyApp1$ find lib/MyApp1/ | grep DB

For more information see: CGI::Application::Plugin::DBIC::Schema, DBIx::Class

Run Your App

Now that your database is configured and the schema generated you can run your app.

Run the server:

    ~/dev/MyApp1$ perl 
    access your default runmode at /cgi-bin/index.cgi
    CGI::Application::Server: You can connect to your server at http://localhost:8060/

Open your browser and test at


For more information on the nature of the development server see: CGI::Application::Server

Try Plugin::DebugScreen;

CAS comes with CGI::Application::Plugin::DebugScreen. Plugin::DebugScreen provides a very useful stack trace with multi-line source quotations for each level of the stack. has put in your project root directory. It sets up the environment for Plugin::DebugPage and runs the built in server.

Edit lib/MyApp1/C/ to generate an error to demonstrate the DebugScreen:

    sub index: StartRunmode {
        my ($c) = @_;

        # add this line for demo of debug screen
        die "testing";

            message => 'Hello world!',
            title   => 'C::Home'
        return $c->tt_process();

Run the server in debug mode:

    ~/dev/MyApp1$ bash
    access your default runmode at /cgi-bin/index.cgi
    CGI::Application::Server: You can connect to your server at http://localhost:8060/

Open your browser and test/demo the Plugin::DebugScreen:


Remove the line you added to

For more information on Plugin::DebugScreen see: CGI::Application::Plugin::DebugScreen

Create A New Controller

This is where the helper script comes in very handy. will create a new controller with a default runmode called 'index', and an index template to go with it.

As an example we can generate a new module to interact with the Orders table of the example database.

    ~/dev/MyApp1$ perl script/ --name=Orders
    will try to create lib/MyApp1/C
    Created lib/MyApp1/C/
    will try to create template directory templates/MyApp1/C/Orders
    Created templates/MyApp1/C/Orders
    Created templates/MyApp1/C/Orders/index.tmpl

You can restart and view default output at:


Add a new runmode to lib/MyApp1/C/ to show the orders that we have from the example database.

    sub list: Runmode{
        my $c = shift;

        my @orders = $c->resultset("MyApp1::DB::Result::Orders")->all;

        $c->tt_params(orders =>\@orders);
        return $c->tt_process();


Then add a template for this runmode at templates/MyApp1/C/Orders/list.tmpl with the following content:

    <h1>Order List</h1>
      <tr><th>Cust No</th><th>Order No</th></tr>
      [% FOREACH order = orders %]
           <td>[% order.customer_id %]</td>
           <td>[% %]</td>
      [% END %]

Restart and visit page to see list of orders at:


For advanced information on creating controllers, runmodes and templates see: CGI::Application::Plugin::AutoRunmode, CGI::Application::Plugin::TT, CGI::Application and Template::Toolkit.

Creating The Example Database (if you don't already have one)

The CGI::Application::Structured distrubution contains an example sql file that you can use for this example app. Use the download link at CGI::Application::Structured on CPAN, grab the archive and extract the file from the 'examples' directory of the distribution.

The script will create the 'myapp1_dev' database, create 2 tables and load a few Notice that the create table statements end with 'engine=InnoDB'. This is important since our DBIC generator script will create perl modules to represent database table relationships, based on the metadata in the database. While the InnoDB engine will work, the default engine for mysql will not store the relationship metadata and you would then need to hand-craft the relationships at the botton of the generated DB::Result classes.


        ~/dev/MyApp1$ mysql -u root -p < example_tables.mysql.ddl 

The contents of the example sql file are as follows:

        CREATE DATABASE myapp1_dev;
        USE myapp1_dev;

        CREATE TABLE customer(
           id integer not null auto_increment PRIMARY KEY,
           last_name varchar(25) null,
           first_name varchar(25) not null

        CREATE TABLE orders(
          id integer not null auto_increment PRIMARY KEY,
          customer_id integer not null,
          order_status varchar(10) default "OPEN" not null,     
          order_date TIMESTAMP DEFAULT CURRENT_TIMESTAMP not null,
          CONSTRAINT orders_customer_id_fk FOREIGN KEY (customer_id) REFERENCES customer(id)

        INSERT INTO customer (last_name, first_name) VALUES("Doe","John");
        INSERT INTO orders (customer_id) VALUES(  1 );
        INSERT INTO orders (customer_id) VALUES(  1 );
        INSERT INTO orders (customer_id) VALUES(  1 );

If you did not use 'engine=InnoDB' or your database does not support relationships, you can paste the following in the bottom of your "MyApp/DB/Result/" to tell DBIx::Class how the example tables relate:

   # Created by DBIx::Class::Schema::Loader v0.04006 @ 2009-09-15 16:05:33

      { id => "customer" },

See documentation for DBIx::Class::Manual for more information on configuring and using relationships in your model.

Further Reading

See CGI::Application::Structured::Tools for more information on developer tools package.

See CGI::Application::Plugin::DBIC::Schema for more information on accessing DBIx::Class from your CGI::Application::Structured modules.

See CGI::Application::Plugin::SuperForm for form building support that is build into CGI::Application::Structured.

See DBIx::Class::Manual::Intro for more information on using the powerful ORM included with CGI::Application::Structured.

See Template::Toolkit and CGI::Application::Plugin::TT for more information on advanced templating.

See CGI::Application for lots of good ideas and examples that will work with your CGI::Application::Structured app.


There are no known bugs for this distribution.

Please report any bugs or feature requests through the web interface at

I will be notified, and then you'll automatically be notified of progress on your bug as I make changes.


I recommend joining the cgi-application mailing list.


    Gordon Van Amburg
    vanamburg at


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

The full text of the license can be found in the LICENSE file included with this module.