The London Perl and Raku Workshop takes place on 26th Oct 2024. If your company depends on Perl, please consider sponsoring and/or attending.


Catalyst::Plugin::Static::Simple - Make serving static pages painless.


    package MyApp;
    use Catalyst qw/ Static::Simple /;
    # that's it; static content is automatically served by Catalyst
    # from the application's root directory, though you can configure
    # things or bypass Catalyst entirely in a production environment
    # one caveat: the files must be served from an absolute path
    # (i.e. /images/foo.png)


The Static::Simple plugin is designed to make serving static content in your application during development quick and easy, without requiring a single line of code from you.

This plugin detects static files by looking at the file extension in the URL (such as .css or .png or .js). The plugin uses the lightweight MIME::Types module to map file extensions to IANA-registered MIME types, and will serve your static files with the correct MIME type directly to the browser, without being processed through Catalyst.

Note that actions mapped to paths using periods (.) will still operate properly.

If the plugin can not find the file, the request is dispatched to your application instead. This means you are responsible for generating a 404 error if your application can not process the request:

   # handled by static::simple, not dispatched to your application

   # static::simple will not find the file and let your application
   # handle the request. You are responsible for generating a file
   # or returning a 404 error

Though Static::Simple is designed to work out-of-the-box, you can tweak the operation by adding various configuration options. In a production environment, you will probably want to use your webserver to deliver static content; for an example see "USING WITH APACHE", below.


By default, Static::Simple will deliver all files having extensions (that is, bits of text following a period (.)), except files having the extensions tmpl, tt, tt2, html, and xhtml. These files, and all files without extensions, will be processed through Catalyst. If MIME::Types doesn't recognize an extension, it will be served as text/plain.

To restate: files having the extensions tmpl, tt, tt2, html, and xhtml will not be served statically by default, they will be processed by Catalyst. Thus if you want to use .html files from within a Catalyst app as static files, you need to change the configuration of Static::Simple. Note also that files having any other extension will be served statically, so if you're using any other extension for template files, you should also change the configuration.

Logging of static files is turned off by default.


Configuration is completely optional and is specified within MyApp->config->{Plugin::Static::Simple}. If you use any of these options, this module will probably feel less "simple" to you!

Enabling request logging

Since Catalyst 5.50, logging of static requests is turned off by default; static requests tend to clutter the log output and rarely reveal anything useful. However, if you want to enable logging of static requests, you can do so by setting MyApp->config->{Plugin::Static::Simple}->{logging} to 1.

Forcing directories into static mode

Define a list of top-level directories beneath your 'root' directory that should always be served in static mode. Regular expressions may be specified using qr//.

        'Plugin::Static::Simple' => {
            dirs => [

Including additional directories

You may specify a list of directories in which to search for your static files. The directories will be searched in order and will return the first file found. Note that your root directory is not automatically added to the search path when you specify an include_path. You should use MyApp->config->{root} to add it.

        'Plugin::Static::Simple' => {
            include_path => [

With the above setting, a request for the file /images/logo.jpg will search for the following files, returning the first one found:


The include path can contain a subroutine reference to dynamically return a list of available directories. This method will receive the $c object as a parameter and should return a reference to a list of directories. Errors can be reported using die(). This method will be called every time a file is requested that appears to be a static file (i.e. it has an extension).

For example:

    sub incpath_generator {
        my $c = shift;

        if ( $c->session->{customer_dir} ) {
            return [ $c->session->{customer_dir} ];
        } else {
            die "No customer dir defined.";

Ignoring certain types of files

There are some file types you may not wish to serve as static files. Most important in this category are your raw template files. By default, files with the extensions tmpl, tt, tt2, html, and xhtml will be ignored by Static::Simple in the interest of security. If you wish to define your own extensions to ignore, use the ignore_extensions option:

        'Plugin::Static::Simple' => {
            ignore_extensions => [ qw/html asp php/ ],

Ignoring entire directories

To prevent an entire directory from being served statically, you can use the ignore_dirs option. This option contains a list of relative directory paths to ignore. If using include_path, the path will be checked against every included path.

        'Plugin::Static::Simple' => {
            ignore_dirs => [ qw/tmpl css/ ],

For example, if combined with the above include_path setting, this ignore_dirs value will ignore the following directories if they exist:


Custom MIME types

To override or add to the default MIME types set by the MIME::Types module, you may enter your own extension to MIME type mapping.

        'Plugin::Static::Simple' => {
            mime_types => {
                jpg => 'image/jpg',
                png => 'image/png',

Controlling caching with Expires header

The files served by Static::Simple will have a Last-Modified header set, which allows some browsers to cache them for a while. However if you want to explicitly set an Expires header, such as to allow proxies to cache your static content, then you can do so by setting the "expires" config option.

The value indicates the number of seconds after access time to allow caching. So a value of zero really means "don't cache at all", and any higher values will keep the file around for that long.

        'Plugin::Static::Simple' => {
            expires => 3600, # Caching allowed for one hour.

Compatibility with other plugins

Since version 0.12, Static::Simple plays nice with other plugins. It no longer short-circuits the prepare_action stage as it was causing too many compatibility issues with other plugins.

Debugging information

Enable additional debugging information printed in the Catalyst log. This is automatically enabled when running Catalyst in -Debug mode.

        'Plugin::Static::Simple' => {
            debug => 1,


While Static::Simple will work just fine serving files through Catalyst in mod_perl, for increased performance you may wish to have Apache handle the serving of your static files directly. To do this, simply use a dedicated directory for your static files and configure an Apache Location block for that directory This approach is recommended for production installations.

    <Location /myapp/static>
        SetHandler default-handler

Using this approach Apache will bypass any handling of these directories through Catalyst. You can leave Static::Simple as part of your application, and it will continue to function on a development server, or using Catalyst's built-in server.

In practice, your Catalyst application is probably (i.e. should be) structured in the recommended way (i.e., that generated by bootstrapping the application with the script, with a main directory under which is a lib/ directory for module files and a root/ directory for templates and static files). Thus, unless you break up this structure when deploying your app by moving the static files to a different location in your filesystem, you will need to use an Alias directive in Apache to point to the right place. You will then need to add a Directory block to give permission for Apache to serve these files. The final configuration will look something like this:

    Alias /myapp/static /filesystem/path/to/MyApp/root/static
    <Directory /filesystem/path/to/MyApp/root/static>
        allow from all
    <Location /myapp/static>
        SetHandler default-handler

If you are running in a VirtualHost, you can just set the DocumentRoot location to the location of your root directory; see Catalyst::Engine::Apache2::MP20.


serve_static_file $file_path

Will serve the file located in $file_path statically. This is useful when you need to autogenerate them if they don't exist, or they are stored in a model.

    package MyApp::Controller::User;

    sub curr_user_thumb : PathPart("my_thumbnail.png") {
        my ( $self, $c ) = @_;
        my $file_path = $c->user->picture_thumbnail_path;


Static::Simple extends the following steps in the Catalyst process.


prepare_action is used to first check if the request path is a static file. If so, we skip all other prepare_action steps to improve performance.


dispatch takes the file found during prepare_action and writes it to the output.


finalize serves up final header information and displays any log messages.


setup initializes all default values.


The old style of configuration using the 'static' config key was deprecated in version 0.30. A warning will be issued if this is used, and the contents of the config at this key will be merged with the newer 'Plugin::Static::Simple' key.

Be aware that if the 'include_path' key under 'static' exists at all, it will be merged with any content of the same key under 'Plugin::Static::Simple'. Be careful not to set this to a non-arrayref, therefore.


Catalyst, Catalyst::Plugin::Static,


Andy Grundman, <>


Marcus Ramberg, <>

Jesse Sheidlower, <>

Guillermo Roditi, <>

Florian Ragwitz, <>

Tomas Doran, <>

Justin Wheeler (dnm)

Matt S Trout, <>

Toby Corkindale, <>


The authors of Catalyst::Plugin::Static:

    Sebastian Riedel
    Christian Hansen
    Marcus Ramberg

For the include_path code from Template Toolkit:

    Andy Wardley


Copyright (c) 2005 - 2011 the Catalyst::Plugin::Static::Simple "AUTHOR" and "CONTRIBUTORS" as listed above.


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