NAME

HTML::Ballot::Trusting - HTML-template-based insercure multiple-choice ballot

SYNOPSIS

# Create the poll

        use HTML::Ballot::Trusting;
        $HTML::Ballot::Trusting::CHAT = 3;
        my $p = new HTML::Ballot::Trusting {
                ARTICLE_ROOT => 'E:/www/leegoddard_com',
                URL_ROOT        => 'http://localhost/leegoddard_com',
                RPATH    => 'E:/www/leegoddard_com/vote/results.html',
                TPATH    => 'E:/www/leegoddard_com/vote/template.html',
                QPATH    =>     'E:/www/leegoddard_com/vote/vote.html',
                CPATH    => 'E:/www/leegoddard_com/CGI_BIN/vote.pl',
                ASKNAMES => 1,
                QUESTIONS => [
                        'Why?',
                        'Why not?',
                        'Only for £300.'
                ]
        };
        $p->create();

DESCRIPTION

A simple module for inseucre web ballots.

This is a very beta version that will mature over the next week or so. Please let me know how it breaks.

Features:

  • no test is made of who is voting, so users may vote any number of times, or may even vote (and surely will) thousands of times using a "LWP" hack.

  • a HTML page of voting options and one of the results of votes so far is generated from a single HTML template, and it is in these pages that ballot status is maintained, so no additional file access is required.

  • HTML output into the template is minimal, but all unique entities are given a "class" attribute for easy CSS re-definitions.

  • simple bar charts of results are generated using HTML.

  • users may submit a comment with thier vote, though no connection between the value of the vote and the user is recorded

  • users' IP addresses may be recorded, and displayed, and a chart of the IP addresses from which communication has been received the most may be displayed.

In future these features may be added:

  • A more secure version is being considered, which uses simple e-mail authentication of users, sending ony one voting password to any e-mail address: this may appear as "HTML::Ballot::MoreCynical".

  • This may be extended to include a ballot `time out'.

  • Options to have graphs based on single-pixels, or using the "GD" interface will arrive some time in the future.

USE

  1. Construct an HTML template that can be used to generate the question and answer pages. Where you wish the questions and answers to appear, insert the following element:

            <TEMPLATEITEM name='QUESTIONS'></TEMPLATEITEM>

    The template should at least define the CSS representation for votehighscorebar and votebar as having a coloured background, or you will not be able to view the results' bar graph. See "CSS SPECIFICATION" for more details on other CSS classes employed.

    Other functions may be included as below. Note that TEMPLATEITEMs may require some minimal content of at least a space character, I'm not sure, I'd better check.

    • If you wish to allow a user to submit a comment with their vote, include the following element:

              <TEMPLATEITEM name='COMMENT'>
                      This is what voter's have said:
              </TEMPLATEITEM>

      Unlike the QUESTIONS TEMPLATEITEM, any text you include in this block will be reatained at the top of a list of users' comments.

    • If you wish to have the result page display a list of the names entered by voters, also include:

              <TEMPLATEITEM name='VOTERLIST'>
                      Here is the voterlist...
              </TEMPLATEITEM>

      This acts in the manner of the COMMENT TEMPLATEITEM, above.

    • If you wish to have the result page display a list of the most frequently-posting IP addresses, include:

              <TEMPLATEITEM name='IPCHART'>
                      <H2>Top IP Addresses To Post To This Ballot</H2>
              </TEMPLATEITEM>

      To this, the module will add a SPAN of HTML that lists the top posters. Anything before that span (in this example, the H2 element) will remain.

  2. Initiate the ballot by constructnig an HTML::Ballot::Trusting object and calling create method upon it in a manner simillar to that described in "SYNOPSIS".

    In response, you should receive a list of the locations of files used and dynamically created by the process.

GLOBAL VARIABLES

Several global variables exist as system defaults. Most may be over-riden using the constructor (see the sections ARTICLE_ROOT, URL_ROOT, STARTGRAPHIC, SHEBANG in "CONSTRUCTOR (new)".>

IPCHART

THe number of items to include in the IP chart of frequent posters

CONSTRUCTOR (new)

Requires a reference to the class into which to bless, as well as a hash (or reference to such) with the following key/value content:

ARTICLE_ROOT

the root, in the filesystem, where these HTML pages begin - can over-ride the global constant of the same name;

URL_ROOT

the root, on the internet, where these HTML pages begin - can over-ride the global constant of the same name;

QUESTIONS

an array of questions to use in the ballot

TPATH

Path at which the HTML Template may be found

QPATH

Path at which to save the HTML ballot Questions' page

RPATH

Path at which to save the HTML Results page

CPATH

If you do not use the SUBMITTO attribute (below), you must use this: Path at which to save a dynamically-generated perl script that processes form submissions. Obviously must be CGI accessible and CHMOD appropriately.

SUBMITTO

If you do not use the CPATH attribute (above), you must use this: Path to the script that processes submission of the CGI voting form

SHEBANG

Represents the Shebang line you place at the start of your perl scrpts: set this to over-ride the default value taken from the global constant scalar of the same name. Could adjust this to suss the path from Config.pm or even MakeMaker, if it came to it, but time....

COMMENTLENGTH

Maximum acceptable length of text comments.

ASKNAMES

Set if users should supply their name when voting.

NAMELENGTH

If ASKNAMES (above) is defined, this value may be set to limit the possible length of a name.

METHODS

METHOD create

Creates the HTML voting page.

Accepts: just the calling object: all properties used should be set during construction (see "CONSTRUCTOR (new)").

If the page contains a COMMENT TEMPLATEITEM, will include a text box in the voting page, to allow users to submit comments. Setting COMMENTLENGTH to a value when calling the constructor will restrict the length of acceptable comments.

If the page contains a <VOTERLIST TEMPLATEITEM>, this will be updated with the name supplied by the user.

Returns: the path to the saved HTML question document.

See also "USE" and "CSS SPECIFICATION".

QUESTION PAGE

The action attribute of the FORM element is set to the CGI environment variable, SCRIPT_NAME (that is, the location of this script).

Form elements are simply seperated by linebreaks (BR): use CSS to control the layout: the radio-button HTML elements are set to be class voteoption; the SUBMIT button element is set to be class votesubmit.

RESULTS PAGE

HTML is used to create bar charts, but this should be easy to replace with a GD image, or a stretched single-pixel. Each question is given a TEMPLATEITEM element, and results will be placed within by the vote method (see "METHOD vote").

See also "CSS SPECIFICATION".

METHOD cast_vote

Casts a vote and updates the results file.

Accepts:

1. the question voted for, as defined in the HTML vote form's INPUT/value.

2. optionally, a user-submitted comment.

3. optionally, a user-submitted name.

CSS SPECIFICATION

The following CSS classes are employed (and expected) in the HTML:

votehighscorebar and votebar

the TD within the chart (above) that represent volume of votes cast. These must be defined for results to be visable, though if the NOHTML flag is set in the constructor, a red background will be used as well.

        <style type="text/css">
        <!--
        .votebar {  background-color: #990000}
        .votebar {  background-color: red}
        -->
        </style>
chart

the right-most TD, containg the chart TABLE

voteresults

the layer of the whole results section;

votequestion

the left-most TD, containing the text representing the questions;

votescore

the centre-left TD, containing the text representing the number of votes recieved by the item;

votepc

the centre-right TD, containing the text representing the percentage of vote obtained

voteoptionradio

The radio button in the question-asking phase.

voteoptiontext

The text associated with radio buttons, as above.

voteoptionsubmit

The submit button as above.

votecommenttextbox

The text box used to accept comments.

votecommenttext

Text associated with the textbox (above).

votecommentdate

The date SPAN of a comment.

voteusrname

The SPAN that covers a user-entered name in the report.

listvoteusrname

The SPAN that covers user-entered names and IP address in list context

voteusrname

The SPAN that covers the user name within listvoteusrname.

voteusrip

As above, but for IP address.

ipchartitem

An item in the IP chart.

SEE ALSO

HTML::EasyTemplate.

AUTHOR

Lee Goddard (LGoddard@CPAN.org)

COPYRIGHT AND LICENCE

This module and all associated code is Copyright (C) Lee Goddard 2001. All rights reserved.

This is free software and may be used under the same terms as Perl itself with the added condition that it not be used in a commercial setting, to make money, either directly or indirectly, without the advanced and explicit prior signed permission of the author.

5 POD Errors

The following errors were encountered while parsing the POD:

Around line 35:

Non-ASCII character seen before =encoding in '£300.''. Assuming ISO8859-1

Around line 202:

'=item' outside of any '=over'

Around line 210:

You forgot a '=back' before '=head1'

Around line 327:

'=item' outside of any '=over'

Around line 483:

You forgot a '=back' before '=head2'