ModPerl::PackageRegistry - Map URIs to perl package namespaces



 <Location /dynamic>
  SetHandler perl-script
  PerlResponseHandler ModPerl::PackageRegistry
  PackageNamespace MyWebsite::pages
  PackageBase /dynamic
  PackageIndex index
  PackageHandler ->page


 package MyWebsite::pages::index;

 use strict;
 use warnings;
 use Apache2::RequestRec ();
 use Apache2::Const q(OK);
 return 1;
 sub page {
     my($class, $r) = @_;
     return OK;


This mod_perl2 handler allows you to directly map a path in your apache 2.x server to a package namespace in perl. When the handler is invoked, it transforms the URI requested into the name of a perl module, and if that module is found, executes the handler specified by the PackageHandler directive.


The transformation is done as follows:

  • The PackageBase directive is applied.

    If a URI is specified in the PackageBase directive, that is stripped from the beginning of the URI in the request. (eg; if the browser requests /foo/bar/baz, and PackageBase is /foo/bar, we are going to be searching for /baz.)

    PackageBase defaults to "/".

    Note that ModPerl::PackageRegistry will decline to act as a handler if PackageBase is defined, and the URL the browser requested doesn't match it.

  • Any file extensions are removed.

    The dot (.) is not a good character for a perl module's name, so anything found after it is removed. This allows you to do stuff like:

     <Files "*.pr">
      SetHandler perl-script
      PerlResponseHandler ModPerl::PackageRegistry
      PackageNamespace MyPackage::foo

    Then, if somebody requested /some/, ModPerl::PackageRegistry would look for a handler in MyPackage::foo::some::stuff.

  • Slashes are converted to double-colons (::)

    This is pretty self-explanitory; the web's namespace separator is /, whereas perl's is ::.

  • PackageNamespace is prepended to the package's name.

    Again, pretty self-explanitory; if PackageNamespace is foo and we're looking for bar::baz, the actual package we're going to try to load is foo::bar::baz.

  • PackageIndex is applied if the request is for a directory.

    The PackageIndex parameter allows you to specify what to append to the package name if a directory was requested. For example, if somebody requested /somewhere/else and PackageIndex was set to hello, we would be looking for MyPackage::foo::somehwere::else::hello.

We then attempt to load the module. If loading the module is successful, then we try to invoke it's handler. The handler is specified by the PackageHandler directive. (By default, it is set to the mod_perl default, handler). If you would like your handler to be invoked as a method rather than a function, then place a "->" in front of the method's name, like so:

 PackageHandler ->method

At that point, ModPerl::PackageRegistry is done it's work and the rest is up to you!


The Directory Must Exist

Apache needs to be able to at least find a directory to serve from, even if the content it's serving is from a perl namespace. One way around this is to make your DocumentRoot the start of your perl namespace, eg:

 DocumentRoot /usr/local/lib/perl/5.8.4/MyWebsite/pages


PackageIndex will only work correctly if ModPerl::PackageRegistry is the handler for your entire directory tree. This is because of the way Apache interprets the DirectoryIndex directive.

If you have a handler for ".pl" files, that handler will be invoked when you request /, whether or not actually exists.

However, if you request /, and that is resolved to / by a DirectoryIndex directive, must exist or else apache2 will return a NOT_FOUND response without ever invoking your handler.

If you wish to mix static and dynamic content in the same directory tree, there are three ways (that I know of) to get around this problem.

  • Make stub files for all of your indexes

    If you have an empty file called index.whatever in each of your directories, that will cause your handler to be invoked as usual.

  • Make your DocumentRoot your perl namespace's root.

    Also solves the "Directory Must Exist" problem above, but this means that you have to scatter your static content around with your perl modules. (Is that actually such a bad thing?)

  • Use a LocationMatch directive to force apache to use your handler for directories

    Like so:

     <LocationMatch "/$">
      SetHandler perl-script
      PerlResponseHandler ModPerl::PackageRegistry
      PackageIndex index
      PackageNamespace MyWebsite::pages


Tyler "Crackerjack" MacDonald <>.

The "TestCommon::LogDiff" package, used by the test suite, was pilfered from the mod_perl 2.0.2 distribution.


This is free software; you may redistribute it under the same terms as perl itself.