++ed by:
5 non-PAUSE users
Author image Tomas Doran
and 1 contributors


Catalyst::Controller::REST - A RESTful controller


    package Foo::Controller::Bar;

    use base 'Catalyst::Controller::REST';

    sub thing : Local : ActionClass('REST') { }

    # Answer GET requests to "thing"
    sub thing_GET {
       my ( $self, $c ) = @_;

       # Return a 200 OK, with the data in entity
       # serialized in the body
            entity => {
                some => 'data',
                foo  => 'is real bar-y',

    # Answer PUT requests to "thing"
    sub thing_PUT {
      .. some action ..


Catalyst::Controller::REST implements a mechanism for building RESTful services in Catalyst. It does this by extending the normal Catalyst dispatch mechanism to allow for different subroutines to be called based on the HTTP Method requested, while also transparently handling all the serialization/deserialization for you.

This is probably best served by an example. In the above controller, we have declared a Local Catalyst action on "sub thing", and have used the ActionClass('REST').

Below, we have declared "thing_GET" and "thing_PUT". Any GET requests to thing will be dispatched to "thing_GET", while any PUT requests will be dispatched to "thing_PUT".

Any unimplemented HTTP methods will be met with a "405 Method Not Allowed" response, automatically containing the proper list of available methods. You can override this behavior through implementing a custom thing_not_implemented method.

If you do not provide an OPTIONS handler, we will respond to any OPTIONS requests with a "200 OK", populating the Allowed header automatically.

Any data included in $c->stash->{'rest'} will be serialized for you. The serialization format will be selected based on the content-type of the incoming request. It is probably easier to use the "STATUS HELPERS", which are described below.

The HTTP POST, PUT, and OPTIONS methods will all automatically deserialize the contents of $c->request->body based on the requests content-type header. A list of understood serialization formats is below.

If we do not have (or cannot run) a serializer for a given content-type, a 415 "Unsupported Media Type" error is generated.

To make your Controller RESTful, simply have it

  use base 'Catalyst::Controller::REST';


Catalyst::Controller::REST will automatically serialize your responses, and deserialize any POST, PUT or OPTIONS requests. It evaluates which serializer to use by mapping a content-type to a Serialization module. We select the content-type based on:

The Content-Type Header

If the incoming HTTP Request had a Content-Type header set, we will use it.

The content-type Query Parameter

If this is a GET request, you can supply a content-type query parameter.

Evaluating the Accept Header

Finally, if the client provided an Accept header, we will evaluate it and use the best-ranked choice.


A given serialization mechanism is only available if you have the underlying modules installed. For example, you can't use XML::Simple if it's not already installed.

In addition, each serializer has it's quirks in terms of what sorts of data structures it will properly handle. Catalyst::Controller::REST makes no attempt to save you from yourself in this regard. :)

text/x-yaml => YAML::Syck

Returns YAML generated by YAML::Syck.

text/html => YAML::HTML

This uses YAML::Syck and URI::Find to generate YAML with all URLs turned to hyperlinks. Only useable for Serialization.

application/json => JSON

Uses JSON to generate JSON output. It is strongly advised to also have JSON::XS installed. The text/x-json content type is supported but is deprecated and you will receive warnings in your log.

text/x-data-dumper => Data::Serializer

Uses the Data::Serializer module to generate Data::Dumper output.

text/x-data-denter => Data::Serializer

Uses the Data::Serializer module to generate Data::Denter output.

text/x-data-taxi => Data::Serializer

Uses the Data::Serializer module to generate Data::Taxi output.

application/x-storable => Data::Serializer

Uses the Data::Serializer module to generate Storable output.

application/x-freezethaw => Data::Serializer

Uses the Data::Serializer module to generate FreezeThaw output.

text/x-config-general => Data::Serializer

Uses the Data::Serializer module to generate Config::General output.

text/x-php-serialization => Data::Serializer

Uses the Data::Serializer module to generate PHP::Serialization output.

text/xml => XML::Simple

Uses XML::Simple to generate XML output. This is probably not suitable for any real heavy XML work. Due to XML::Simples requirement that the data you serialize be a HASHREF, we transform outgoing data to be in the form of:

  { data => $yourdata }

Uses a regular Catalyst view. For example, if you wanted to have your text/html and text/xml views rendered by TT:

  'text/html' => [ 'View', 'TT' ],
  'text/xml'  => [ 'View', 'XML' ],

Will do the trick nicely.

By default, Catalyst::Controller::REST will return a 415 Unsupported Media Type response if an attempt to use an unsupported content-type is made. You can ensure that something is always returned by setting the default config option:

  __PACKAGE__->config->{'default'} = 'text/x-yaml';

Would make it always fall back to the serializer plugin defined for text/x-yaml.

Implementing new Serialization formats is easy! Contributions are most welcome! See Catalyst::Action::Serialize and Catalyst::Action::Deserialize for more information.


If you would like to implement a custom serializer, you should create two new modules in the Catalyst::Action::Serialize and Catalyst::Action::Deserialize namespace. Then assign your new class to the content-type's you want, and you're done.


Since so much of REST is in using HTTP, we provide these Status Helpers. Using them will ensure that you are responding with the proper codes, headers, and entities.

These helpers try and conform to the HTTP 1.1 Specification. You can refer to it at: http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616.txt. These routines are all implemented as regular subroutines, and as such require you pass the current context ($c) as the first argument.


Returns a "200 OK" response. Takes an "entity" to serialize.


    entity => {
        radiohead => "Is a good band!",

Returns a "201 CREATED" response. Takes an "entity" to serialize, and a "location" where the created object can be found.


    location => $c->req->uri->as_string,
    entity => {
        radiohead => "Is a good band!",

In the above example, we use the requested URI as our location. This is probably what you want for most PUT requests.


Returns a "202 ACCEPTED" response. Takes an "entity" to serialize.


    entity => {
        status => "queued",

Returns a "204 NO CONTENT" response.


Returns a "400 BAD REQUEST" response. Takes a "message" argument as a scalar, which will become the value of "error" in the serialized response.


    message => "Cannot do what you have asked!",

Returns a "404 NOT FOUND" response. Takes a "message" argument as a scalar, which will become the value of "error" in the serialized response.


    message => "Cannot find what you were looking for!",

Returns a "41O GONE" response. Takes a "message" argument as a scalar, which will become the value of "error" in the serialized response.


    message => "The document have been deleted by foo",


If you want to construct your responses yourself, all you need to do is put the object you want serialized in $c->stash->{'rest'}.


This Controller ties together Catalyst::Action::REST, Catalyst::Action::Serialize and Catalyst::Action::Deserialize. It should be suitable for most applications. You should be aware that it:

Configures the Serialization Actions

This class provides a default configuration for Serialization. It is currently:

      serialize => {
         'stash_key' => 'rest',
         'map'       => {
            'text/html'          => 'YAML::HTML',
            'text/xml'           => 'XML::Simple',
            'text/x-yaml'        => 'YAML',
            'application/json'   => 'JSON',
            'text/x-json'        => 'JSON',
            'text/x-data-dumper' => [ 'Data::Serializer', 'Data::Dumper' ],
            'text/x-data-denter' => [ 'Data::Serializer', 'Data::Denter' ],
            'text/x-data-taxi'   => [ 'Data::Serializer', 'Data::Taxi'   ],
            'application/x-storable'    => [ 'Data::Serializer', 'Storable'
            'application/x-freezethaw'  => [ 'Data::Serializer', 'FreezeThaw'
            'text/x-config-general' => [ 'Data::Serializer', 'Config::General' ]
            'text/x-php-serialization' => [ 'Data::Serializer', 'PHP::Serialization' ],

You can read the full set of options for this configuration block in Catalyst::Action::Serialize.

Sets a begin and end method for you

The begin method uses Catalyst::Action::Deserialize. The end method uses Catalyst::Action::Serialize. If you want to override either behavior, simply implement your own begin and end actions and use MRO::Compat:

  my Foo::Controller::Monkey;
  use base qw(Catalyst::Controller::REST);

  sub begin :Private {
    my ($self, $c) = @_;
    ... do things before Deserializing ...
    ... do things after Deserializing ...

  sub end :Private {
    my ($self, $c) = @_;
    ... do things before Serializing ...
    ... do things after Serializing ...


I have code in production using Catalyst::Controller::REST. That said, it is still under development, and it's possible that things may change between releases. I promise to not break things unneccesarily. :)


Catalyst::Action::REST, Catalyst::Action::Serialize, Catalyst::Action::Deserialize

For help with REST in general:

The HTTP 1.1 Spec is required reading. http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616.txt

Wikipedia! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representational_State_Transfer

The REST Wiki: http://rest.blueoxen.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?FrontPage


Adam Jacob <adam@stalecoffee.org>, with lots of help from mst and jrockway

Marchex, Inc. paid me while I developed this module. (http://www.marchex.com)


J. Shirley <jshirley@cpan.org>


You may distribute this code under the same terms as Perl itself.