The Perl Toolchain Summit needs more sponsors. If your company depends on Perl, please support this very important event.




in httpd.conf:

  <Files *.stml>
    SetHandler perl-script
    PerlHandler +Apache::SimpleTemplate

    ### options (w/ defaults):
    #PerlSetVar SimpleTemplateCache 1
    #PerlSetVar SimpleTemplateReload 1
    #PerlSetVar SimpleTemplateDebug 0
    #PerlSetVar SimpleTemplateCascadeStatus 1
    #PerlSetVar SimpleTemplateBlockBegin "<%"
    #PerlSetVar SimpleTemplateBlockEnd "%>"
    #PerlSetVar SimpleTemplateContentType "text/html"

  ### have index.stml files handle a request for a directory name.
  #DirectoryIndex index.html index.stml

  <Location /example>
    SetHandler perl-script
    PerlHandler +Apache::SimpleTemplate
    PerlSetVar SimpleTemplateFile "/templates/example.stml"

in a template:

<%! _perl_definitions_or_declarations_ %>

     compiles the code once. (the code block is replaced by nothing.)
     can be used for defining subroutines, 'use' calls, declaring and 
     populating variables/hashes/etc.

<% _perl_code_ %>

     executes the perl code. (this block is replaced by nothing.)
     can also declare variables for use within the template.

<%= _a_perl_expression_ %>

     evaluates the perl expression, and the block gets replaced by 
     the expression's value.

     '<%+ %>' is the same as '<%= %>', but the output gets url-encoded.
     (mnemonic: '+' is a space in a url-encoded string.)

     '<%^ %>'is the same as '<%= %>', but the output gets html-escaped.
     (mnemonic: '^' looks like the '<' and '>' that get replaced.)

     '<%\ %>'is the same as '<%= %>', except the string gets escaped for
     use as a single-quoted javascript var. ("'", "\", NL, CR get escaped.)

<%- _a_comment_ %>

     is ignored and replace by nothing.
     (mnemonic: "-" as in "<!-- html comments -->".)

<%# _comment_out_text_and/or_template_blocks_ #%>

     comment out larger areas of templates, including code blocks.
     NB: the '#' on the closing tag, as this is the only tag which can 
     wrap other tags.

<% $s->include('/dir/file.stml') %>

     includes another file or parsed-template in place of this.

<%= $$inref{foo}; %>

     prints the value of the CGI/form input variable 'foo'.

<% $s->header('Location','/'); $s->status(302); return; %>

     ends execution of the template and redirects browser to '/'.

<% $s->content_type('text/xml'); %>

     sets our content-type to 'text/xml' instead of default 'text/html';

<%: _perl_code_ %> DEPRECATED

     evaluates the perl code, and the block gets replaced by the last
     value returned in the perl code, or $out if defined. (included
     mostly for backward compatability-- it's better to use a mixture
     of <% %> and <%= %> blocks.)
     (mnemonic: '<%: %>' is like a combination of '<% %>' and '<%= %>'.)


Apache::SimpleTemplate is *another* Template-with-embedded-Perl package for mod_perl. It allows you to embed blocks of Perl code into text documents, such as HTML files, and have this code executed upon HTTP request. It should take moments to set-up and learn; very little knowledge of mod_perl is necessary, though some knowledge of Apache and perl is assumed.

This module is meant to be a slim and basic alternative to more fully featured packages like Apache::Embperl, Apache::ASP, or TemplateToolkit, and more of a mod_perl counterpart to JSP or PHP. You may wish to compare approaches and features of the other perl templating schemes, and consider trade-offs in funcionality, implementation time, speed, memory consumption, etc. This module's relative lack of "features" is meant to improve both its performance and its flexibility.

Apache::SimpleTemplate has no added programming syntax, relying simply on perl itself for all programming logic in the templates. It should run with a very small memory footprint and little processing over-head. Templates get compiled into perl packages (or subroutines), and the caching and preloading options can help you increace speed and reduce memory consumption. SimpleTemplate is also designed for extension through subclasses, into which you can add the functionality you want.


The only requirement is mod_perl**. To install Apache::SimpleTemplate, run:

  perl Makefile.PL
  make install

(** Version 0.06 works with mod_perl2 in compatibility mode. Older versions may work better with mod_perl1. The CGI library is needed if you want file upload support.)

Then, to test it with Apache/mod_perl:

  1) put the httpd.conf lines above into your httpd.conf
  2) restart apache
  3) try putting an example template from below into your document root
  4) point your browser at the example


template "example.stml"

        my $foo = 'working!';
        sub not_installed_properly { return $foo;} 
    <body bgcolor="ffffff">

    <h2>Apache::SimpleTemplate seems to be <%= &not_installed_properly(); %> </h2>


template "/printenv.stml"

    <table border=3>
        <tr><th colspan=2 align=left>Environment variables</th></tr>

        <%  foreach my $e (sort keys(%ENV)) {   %>
        <%  }  %>

    <table border=3>
        <tr><th colspan=2 align=left>CGI Arguments</th></tr>

        <%  foreach my $e (sort keys %$inref) {  %>
        <%  }  %>

subclass "MySimpleTemplate"

  # in httpd.conf should set the handler: "PerlHandler +MySimpleTemplate"
  # in your template you can call: "<%= $s->my_method %>"

  package MySimpleTemplate;
  use Apache::SimpleTemplate ();
  our @ISA = qw(Apache::SimpleTemplate);

  # handler() must be defined, as it is not a method.
  # instantiate this class, and call SimpleTemplate's handler:
  sub handler {
      my $r = shift;
      my $s = new MySimpleTemplate($r);

      # you can make additional steps/logic here, including:
      #     set $s->file() for a template to use
      #     change $s->status()
      #     add headers w/ $s->header()

      return Apache::SimpleTemplate::handler($r, $s);
  sub my_method {
      my $self = shift;
      return 'this is my_method.';

Use in a CGI script or other code

  # example using SimpleTemplate in other code

  # (could use your subclass here instead.)
  use Apache::SimpleTemplate;              
  my $s = new Apache::SimpleTemplate();

  #### options: (caching won't do anything usefule in CGI mode.)

  #### call as a CGI (will get headers and status set):
  exit &Apache::SimpleTemplate::handler();

  #### or non-CGI use, just get the rendered page:
  # $s->render('/full/path/to/file.stml');
  # print ${ $s->{out} };


variables in templates:

  $r            - this instance of 'Apache', i.e. the request object.
  $s            - this instance of 'Apache::SimpleTemplate' (or your subclass)
  $inref        - a reference to a hash containing the CGI/form input args
  $____st_*     - these names are reserved for use inside the parsing function.

constructor and getters/setters:

  $s = new Apache::SimpleTemplate($r)  -- pass the Apache request object, $r.
                                          parses CGI params.
  $s = new Apache::SimpleTemplate($in) -- pass me a hash of CGI params.
  $s = new Apache::SimpleTemplate()    -- parses params from $ENV{QUERY_STRING}

  $s->block_begin()        -- get or set the beginning delimiter

  $s->block_end()          -- get or set the ending delimiter

  $s->file()               -- get or set a file for rendering

  $s->debug()              -- get or set the debug level (0=quiet - 3=verbose)

  $s->reload()             -- get or set the reload flag (0 or 1)

  $s->cache()              -- get or set the caching flag (0 or 1)

  $s->cascade_status()     -- get or set flag for cascading status codes 
  $s->cascade_status(0)       from included templates

other methods/functions (mostly useful in templates):

  $s->content_type('text/xml')   -- set our content-type to something
                                    (must be done before any call to flush().)
  $s->status(302)                -- set our status to something other than 200
                                    (must be done before any call to flush().)
  $s->header($name,$value)       -- add an outgoing header. (can add multiple 
                                    of the same name.)
                                    (must be done before any call to flush().)

  return                         -- stop running this template (within <% %>)

  $s->encode($string)            -- url-encode the $string.
  $s->decode($string)            -- url-decode the $string.
  $s->escape($string)            -- html-escape the $string.
  $s->quote_escape($string)      -- single-quote-escape the $string.
  $s->js_escape($string)         -- single-quote and newline escape (for javascript)

  $s->preload($file)             -- preload the template in $file, a full
                                    path which must match the DOCUMENT_ROOT.
                                    (for use in a file.)

  $s->include('/dir/file')       -- include another document/template.
                                    the path is relative to the DOCUMENT_ROOT

  $s->print(...)                 -- print out something from within <% %>.
  $s->flush()                    -- flush the print buffer (within <% %>).
                                    (sends HTTP headers on the first call.)

deprecated and removed vars and functions.

  $out          - deprecated template variable.
                  a <%: %> block of code could use this for the output, 
                  instead of the last value returned by the block. 
                  use <% %> or <%= %> blocks as needed instead.

  $headerref    - removed, use $s->header() instead.
  $status       - removed, use $s->status() instead.
  $content_type - removed, use $s->content_type() instead.

  Apache::SimpleTemplate::include() -- static calls no longer work.
                  instantiate if necessary, and use $s->include() instead.
                  (shouldn't have been included in the first place, as they
                  would not follow any settings other than defaults.)

PerlSetVar options

  SimpleTemplateBlockBegin    -- the delim for a code block's end ['<%']
  SimpleTemplateBlockEnd      -- the delim for a code block's start ['%>']

  SimpleTemplateCache         -- keep templates in memory? [1]
  SimpleTemplateReload        -- check templates for changes? [1]
  SimpleTemplateDebug         -- level of debug msgs in error_log (0-3) [0]
                                 (if >= 1, compile errors go to the browser.)

  SimpleTemplateContentType   -- the default content_type ['text/html']
  SimpleTemplateCascadeStatus -- set to 0 if you do not want included 
                                 templates to affect the response status.
  SimpleTemplateFile          -- template file location (w/in doc_root)
                                 probably useful only within a <Location>.
                                 [the incoming request path]


template processing

  Any errors in evaluating a code block should get logged to the error_log.
  The compilation process tries to keep the line numbers consistent with
  the template, but <%! %> declarations/definitions that are not at the
  top of the template may throw line numbers off.

  Any additional variables you wish to use must be declared (with 'my').
  If you declare them in <%! %> or <% %> blocks, they will be accessible
  in later blocks.

  Included sub-templates receive the same instance of $s, so they have the 
  same $inref, etc. Thus, they can also set headers, change status, etc.
  (Turn off "cascade_status" to prevent the latter.)

template debugging

  SimpleTemplateDebug / $s->debug() values have the following meanings
    0 quiet, errors logged to error_log
    1 quiet, errors also sent to browser
    2 info on requests, includes, status codes, etc.
    3 info on template compilation. (noisy)
    4 verbose info on template compilation. (extremely noisy)

  You can also always log your own messages to the error_log from 
  within your templates, eg: <% print STDERR "some message" %>.

performance notes

  Templates are compiled into perl packages (or anonymous subroutines if
  there is no <%! %> block.) Caching of templates, which is on by default,
  will help speed performance greatly. The only reason you might want to
  turn it off is if you have many, many templates and don't want them 
  always kept around in memory.

  Preloading via preload() in a file is a way to save more 
  memory (the template will get loaded before the webserver forks its
  children, thus keeping the template in memory shared by all the procs.)
  This also will improve speed a bit, as each newly spawned webserver
  proc will not need to load the template anew. 

  preload() may be used even with caching off (0), if you have a handful of
  templates you want to cache but many others you do not.

  Turning SimpleTemplateReload to off (0) will speed things a little bit,
  as SimpleTemplate will not check the file for updates with every request.
  However, if you are using caching/preloading and SimpleTemplateCache is 
  off (0), Apache must be restarted to see template changes.

  Finally, the regular CGI mode will probably be very slow, so you may
  want only to use it when testing something (a cached template or another
  module/subclass), or when using a host without mod_perl installed.

New in 0.04

  $s->print and $s->flush methods. Option to have errors in included 
  templates not bubble up and cause whole page to fail.

  Defaults delims are now the more conventional '<%' and '%>'.
  Users still wanting '{{' and '}}' can set the 
  SimpleTemplateBlockBegin and SimpleTemplateBlockEnd variables.

  $status, $headerref, $content_type not supported in templates.

Note for users of previous versions 0.01 or 0.02

  Anyone switching from a version previous to 0.03 should note that the
  default <% _perl_block_ %> behavior has changed. The behavior of the
  new <%: %> tag should be functionally equivalent, so switching all
  your tags to this should be an easy fix. (try 
  "perl -pi~ -e 's/\{\{/\<\%\:/g' __your_files__", and
  "perl -pi~ -e 's/\}\}/\%\>/g' __your_files__".)

  The imperfect backward-compatablility seemed worth it for the more
  intuitive behavior of the tags, and for the consistency with other
  templating mechanisms like jsp/asp.

  Note also the preferred $s->status(), $s->content_type() and
  $s->header() calls rather than $status, $content_type, $headerref.


  Version 0.06, 2005-March-11.


  peter forty 
  Please send any comments or suggestions to
  mailto: apache-simple-template _at_

  The homepage for this project is:

COPYRIGHT (c) 2001-2005

  This is free software with absolutely no warranty.
  You may use it, distribute it, and/or modify 
  it under the same terms as Perl itself.


  perl, mod_perl.