DBIx::HTMLView - For creating web userinterfaces to DBI databases.


require DBIx::HTMLView;

# Initiate interface object my $v=new HTMLView($db, {}); $v->InitDB($table);

# Preform the actions requested by the user $v->Preform($form);

# Generate list content of $table in a html table print "<table>\n"; foreach ($v->List("SELECT * FROM $table",'<td>')) { print "<tr>" . $v->ml("CGIReq.cgi", $_->[0], "Show") . "</tr>\n"; } print "</table>\n";


This is a general propose module to simplify the creation of web userinterfaces to a DBI database, currently it can list, view, add, edit and delete entries in the databse using either <input ...> or <textarea> to gather the info. Se the new method description for info on how to define the database format and how the fields should be edited.

It's actions is highy customizable by using a database definition where most things are specified and by beeing designed to easily allow subclassing in order to change it's behaviour.

It can also edit N2N relations between two tabels using a third table to represent the connections. Eg if you have two tabels with say users and usergroups like this:

      Users                 Groups
        |uid |Name  |       |gid |Group     |
        +----+------+       +----+----------+
        |0   |root  |       |0   |Superuser |
        |1   |jhon  |       |1   |Webauthor |
        |2   |hakan |       |2   |Mailuser  |
        |3   |tom   |

Now lets say that we have one Superuser (root), three Webauthors (tom, jhon,root) and all four users are Mailusers. To represent this in the databse HTMLView uses a third table, say UsersGroups, linking uid's to gid's like this

        |id |uid |gid |
        |0  |0   |0   |   root is Superuser
        |1  |0   |1   |   root is Webauthor
        |2  |0   |2   |   root is Mailuser
        |3  |1   |1   |   jhon is Webauthor
        |4  |1   |2   |   jhon is Mailuser
        |5  |2   |2   |   hakan is Mailuser
        |6  |3   |1   |   tom is Webauthor
        |7  |3   |2   |   tim is Mailuser

This kind of relations are edited using a set of checkboxes in the post editor allowing the user to select any number of groups for each user.

Even if we have tried to make this as general as possible there are a few properties required from the database beeing edited. The most inportant one is that each table has to contain and unquire index field. Since the handling of such indexes differs between databses there is a set of methods handling them which could changed by subclassing and overridon those. The methods are:

  GetIndex - Returns the colum name for the unquire id 
  NextId   - Returns a new unquire value that could be used in a new post

See the detailed method descriptions below for more info.

The default methods are designed to work with mSQL and mySQL if the tabels are constructued in some specific ways:

As for mySQL the index field should be declaered "INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT" and made "PRIMARY KEY". It can be named anything as HTMLView are able to figgure out the primary key of a table.

As for mSQL the index field has to be called id and defined as "INT NOT NULL" in the "CREATE TABLE" request, and that the table contains a sequence (eg "CREATE SEQUENCE ...") from which values are retreved to the index. Is is also adviceable to make an index out of the id, eg "CREATE UNIQUE INDEX idx1 ON Users(uid)", to speed up the database handling, but HTMLView will probabably work anyway.


$v=new HTMLView($db, $fmt);

Creates a new HTMLView interface object representing the database $db, which should be a DBI database specification. The second argument is a hash defining how the fields of each table should be editied and which relations there are beteen the tabels. It could be as simple as {}, then all fields will be edited using the default <input ...> tag.

It is easiest explained by an example, let's get back to the Users example from the DESCRIPTION section. Let's say the Users table also contains a FingerInfo field and that the Groups table has a Description of each group, then $fmt could look like this:

$fmt = { "Groups" => { "Description" => "Multiline(80,20)", }, "Users" => { "FingerInfo" => "Multiline(80,50)", "Group" => { "Type" => "N2N Relation", "FromTable" => "Groups", "LinkTable" => "UsersGroups", "FromField" => "gid", "ToField" => "uid", "ViewVars" => "Group", }, }, }

Here we have two tables Users and Groups. Line three defines that the Description field should be editied using a Multiline(80,50) editor (which will be implemented with <textfield>...). HTMLView currently supports the following editor types:

  DEFAULT - If a field is not specifed in the fmt a standart html 
        input line will be used.
  Multiline(<W>,<H>) - A html textarea with <H> lines <W> characters 

The example also declears an N2N relation between the two tabels using the UsersGroups table for the links and is is the Group field in the Groups table that will be listed when should the related post. ViewVars can contain several variable names separated by , and or spaces.

"N2N Relation":s are the only kind supported right now.

Relations are specified in the same manner as filed types because in the user interface they look like just an other type of fields.

InputF($key, $val)

Returns a html input field editing $key with default value $val. $key will be looked up as a field-/relation-name in the fmt specification (se the new method) and an appropreate editor will be constructed.


Will inspect $fmt->{'ViewVars'} and return a variable list that can be passed to SELECT for retreval. The list will start with the table index and the table name will be prepended to each variablename so that the returned string can be used in SELECT using several tabels.


Returns the id field for the table $table. The name is retreved by sending a "SHOW INDEX FROM $table" request to the server unless it is a mSQL server, which does not support that request, instead we presume it is named "id".


Initiates the interface by making the connection to the database and downloading the field names and deciding on which to use as id (by calling GetIndex). To do this you have to specify which table we are currently viewinig ($table).


Vill prepare and sned $cmd to the database and it dies on errors. The $sth is returned.

$v->List($cmd, $join)

Will send the $cmd to the db (presumable a SELECT command) and return the result as an array of arrayreferenses. There will be one arrayreference for each row returned and the array referenced to will contain two values. The first one is the first variable specifed in the SELECT statement $cmd, presumable the id, and the second is a join of the rest using $join as glue string.

$v->ml($file, $id, $a)

Generates a link to the script $file preserving the id parameter $id and the parameters specified using $v->SetParam(...). The link's anchor text will be $a.


Deletes the post with id $id form the db.


Gets hold of the post with id $id. It is reaturned as an arrayref, with all it's variables.

$v->View($id, $key, $val)

Will return an HTML string viewing the $key field with value $val. $key is looked up as a field-/relation-name in the fmt specifed in the constructor to decide how that data should be retrived (in the case of a relation) and view.

$v->DataTable($data, $edit)

Returns a html table containing all fields of the table. The fields will contain the data in the $data arrayref with the fields mathcing the regexp $edit editable. A form and a apply button has to be placed around it in order to use it for editing. The primary key will never be editable.

$v->Insert($table, $k, $f)

Will make a "INSERT INTO $table ($k) VALUES ($f)" call to the database and return the id value the post gets. In order to do this it might have to modify the command slightly to contain the id field too.

The idea is that you can override this method in a subcalls to chnage the way we should handle id values. This default implementation will handle mSQL and mySQL servers as described in the DESCRIPTION section above.


Addes a new post to the db with the data in the hash ref $form. All it's keys that doesn not start with a _ char should match a column name in that current table. Se the UpdateRelations on how relations should be represented.

It will use the $v->Insert(...) method to do the actuall database call.

$v->UpdateRelations($idnr, $form)

This method will update $idnr's relations acording to the info found in $form. It's keys are scaned for members of the format "_<RelationName>-#" where <RelationName> is decleard in the fmt with Type="N2N Relation", and # is the id to which should be linked to (eg the gid of our users example).

If such keys are found then all relations for $idnr's post to <RelationName> are cleard out and relations to each # found is recreated.

To clear things up here is a little example. Consider the relations used in the Users example in the DESCRIPTION section. The user root there is Superuser, Webauthor and Mailuser. Let's say we want to remove him from the Webauthor group. Then that is done by specifying the other two. That is $form would contain the keys _Group-0 and __Group-2. That would first clear all three connections and then readd the two for Superuser (gid=0) and Mailuser (gid=2).

Relations not mentioned at all will not be modified. The presents a problem if you want to clear out all connections in a relation (eg remmove root from all groups). For this you'll have to use the speciall key "_<RelationName>-Clr" (eg _Group-Clr). If this key will have no efect if specifed together with a set of "_<RelationName>-#" key, eg the specified connections will be made.

Note that the value in the hash that the key is represented never is used and can thereby be anytihing.


Changes an already excisting post in the db with the data in the hash ref $form used as the new data. All it's keys that doesn not start with a _ char should match a column name in that current table. Se the UpdateRelations on how relations should be represented.


Will check if _Delete, _Changed or _Add keys excists in the hasref $form and if so preforme that action on the post with $form->{_Id} as id using the rest of the field data in $form. By calling $v->Delete, $v->Changed or $v->Add.

$v->SetParam($key, $val)

Will set a parameter that is the passed on to the links generated by $v->ml


Generates a param string to be included in the url specifying the params set using $v->SetParam