November 1, 2002
Build, Organize, and Maintain Web Sites and Other Dynamically Generated Documents: O'Reilly Releases "Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason"
Sebastopol, CA--Mason doesn't aim to be the one true Perl-based
templating system for building web sites, but it's led many programmers
to abandon their custom solutions when they've seen how much easier
using Mason can be. It's a powerful, open source, Perl-based web site
development and delivery engine, with features that make it an ideal
backend for high load sites serving dynamic content. Mason uses a
concept called components: a mix of HTML, Perl, and special Mason
commands. These components can be entire web pages, or bits of HTML
that can be embedded in top-level components. Shared and reusable,
these components greatly simplify site maintenance: when a shared
component is changed, all the pages that refer to it are changed, too.
The catch is, that while using Mason isn't difficult, creating a
Mason-based site can be tricky. Written by David Rolsky and Ken
Williams, members of Mason's core development team, Embedding Perl in
HTML with Mason (O'Reilly, US $34.95) shows readers how to take
advantage of Mason's strengths while avoiding the obstacles that
inexperienced users may encounter.
"Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason" shows how to create large, complex,
dynamically driven web sites that are remarkably simple to maintain.
The authors demonstrate how to set up a Mason site and configure it
properly. They explain the design of Mason, the Mason API, and how to
use Mason with CGI or mod_perl. The book also includes a chapter of
Mason-based "recipes" with real-world examples of how things are done.
To use Mason effectively takes some planning. Hence the name "Mason"
because the components are like building blocks, and as in masonry,
there is an art to knowing how to put them together to create a stable
web site. As Williams explains, "Mason has some unique features that,
when used properly, can really streamline the design of a site or web
app. But it takes some experience to understand how those features can
be used. We cover these features, such as autohandlers and dhandlers
from several angles in our book, and both features are used in our
sample site which is covered in one of the chapters."
"Mason is becoming more and more popular as a tool for building web
sites and managing other dynamic collections," adds Rolsky. "Some
sophisticated products are being built on top of Mason, including the
release tracker RT and the content management system Bricolage. Mason
itself is about to emerge from its first major overhaul, and this book
details the result of that overhaul."
The book covers the latest release of Mason 1.12, which has many new
features, including line number reporting based on source files,
sub-requests, and easier use as a CGI. The only book to cover this
important tool, "Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason" will be valuable to
any Perl programmer who wants to simplify web site design.
Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason
Dave Rolsky and Ken Williams
ISBN 0-596-00225-4, 297 pages, $34.95 (US), $54.95 (CAN)
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