CGI::Persistent -- Transparent state persistence for CGI applications.
use CGI::Persistent; my $cgi = new CGI::Persistent "/directory"; print $cgi->header (); my $url = $cgi->state_url (); print "<a href=$u>I am a persistent CGI session.</a>";
HTTP is a stateless protocol; a HTTP server closes connection after serving an object. It retains no memory of the request details and doesn't relate subsequent requests with what it has already served. While this works well for static resources like HTML pages and image elements, complex user interactions often require state preservation across multiple requests and different parts of the web resource. Statefulness on a stateless server is achieved either through client-side mechanisms like Netscape cookies (which are considered distasteful on general principles of privacy) or with hidden fields in forms and value-attribute pairs in the URLs. State preserving URLs are more desirable, because they are independent of the client configuration, but tend to get unwieldy with increase in space complexity of the application.
CGI::Persistent solves this problem by introducing persistent CGI sessions that store their state data on the server side. When a new session starts, CGI::Persistent automatically generates a unique state identification string and associates it with a persistent object on the server. The identification string is used in URLs or forms to refer to the particular session. Request attributes are transparently committed to the associated object and the object data is bound to the query.
CGI::Persistent is derived from CGI.pm. CGI.pm methods have been overridden as appropriate. Very few new methods have been added.
Creates a new CGI object and binds it to its associated persistent state. A new state image is created if no associated state exists. new() takes two optional arguments. The first argument is the directory of persistence, the place where state information is stored. Ideally, this should be a separate directory dedicated to state files. When a directory is not specified, the current working directory is assumed.
new() can also take a state id on the argument list instead of getting it from the query. This might be useful if you are using this module to store configuration data that you wish to retain across different sessions.
$q = new CGI::Persistent; $q = new CGI::Persistent "/dope"; $q = new CGI::Persistent undef, "/dope/924910985.134";
Returns a URL with the state identification string. This URL should be used for referring to the persistent session associated with the query.
Returns a hidden INPUT type for inclusion in HTML forms. Like state_url(), this element is used in forms to refer to the associated persistent session.
delete() is an overridden method that deletes a named attribute from the query. The persistent object field associated with the attribute is also deleted.
Important note: Attributes that are NOT explicitly delete()ed will lurk about and come back to haunt you. Remember to clear control attributes and other context dependent fields that need clearing. See "delete()" in CGI.
Another overridden method. Deletes all attributes as well as the persistent disk image of the session. This method should be used when you want to irrevocably destroy a session. See "delete_all()" in CGI.
The accompanying CGI example, roach.cgi, illustrates the features of the module by implementing a multi-page input form.
Vipul Ved Prakash, email@example.com