Apache::Action - A method dispatch mechanism for Apache


        # An Apache handler to manage the cycle.
        package My::Apache::Handler;
        my $ah = new HTML::Mason::ApacheHandler...);
        sub handler {
                my ($r) = @_;
                tie %SESSION, 'Apache::Session::....';
                my $state = new Apache::Action::State(  # Or custom state class
                        Request => $r,
                        Session => \%SESSION,
                my $action = new Apache::Action(
                        Request => $r,
                        Session => \%SESSION,
                        State   => $state,
                my $status = eval { $action->run; };
                if ($@) { $state->error($@); $status = SERVER_ERROR; }
                unless ($status == OK) {
                        my $subreq = $r->lookup_uri('/error.html');
                return $ah->handle_request($r);

        # A set of action handlers
        package My::Apache::Actions;
        use base 'Apache::Action';
        __PACKAGE__->register('AppName', 'ObjectName',
                action0 => \&handler0,
                action1 => \&handler1,
        sub handler0 {
                my ($self) = @_;
                # my $user = $self->state->user;        # If user defined.


This module reads values out of the HTTP submission and dispatches to code as appropriate. The architecture requires four elements:

The apache request

This is normally a singleton instance of Apache::Request.

The persistent session

This is usually an Apache::Session, but anything which provides a hashref will do. The session stores the persistent data, and may be serialised by any method desired.

A request state

This is usually a subclass of Apache::Action::State and stores nonserialisable and per-request data.

An action dispatcher.

This is an Apache::Action instance.

It is normal to write a class which inherits Apache::Action::State, which generates and caches nonserialisable or non-normalised data on demand. Things like user id may be stored in the session, and the state may then provide a 'user' method which reads the user-id from the session and retrieves the user from the database, caching the object for the duration of the request. See eg/ in this distribution for an example.

Loaded modules may register actions with Apache::Action using the 'register' call, as described above. When an Apache::Action is 'run', it looks for the field 'action' in the HTTP request parameters. This field is of the form "application/module/action". It will then call the appropriate subref, passing itself as the one and only parameter.

When using this module with HTML::Mason, it is normal to exoprt the state and the session into the HTML::Mason::Commands namespace so that they can be accessed by pages.


Apache::Action->register($app, $module, $action)

Register a new action with Apache::Action. This is a class method and is designed to be called from the top level of any loaded Perl module. See eg/ for an example.


Construct a new Action object. This reqires three parameters: Request, Session and State. The Request is an Apache::Request instance. The Session is usually an Apache::Session instance but may be any session hash. The State is an instance of Apache::Action::State;


Search the HTTP arguments in the Request, and run an action, if appropriate.


Return the HTTP parameter named.


Return a hashref of all HTTP parameters, copying the data.


Return an Apache::Upload object as named.


Return data from the session hash, as named.

$action->session($name, $value)

Store data in the session hash, as named.


Record that an error happened during this execution. The action object will add the errors to the state object at the end of the run. It is the responsibility of the Apache handler writer to check whether any errors were recorded in the action object before continuing. This method merely provides a log.


Return a list of errors recorded in this execution.


Mostly documentation. This code has been pulled out of a running system and patched up for CPAN, so patches welcome if it doesn't run as smoothly as expected outside of that system.

This module is quite hard to test outside Apache.


Mail the author at <>




Copyright (c) 2004 Shevek. All rights reserved.

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


Apache::Action::State Apache::Session HTML::Mason