I admit it. I love navigation bars. I go completely green with
envy whenever I browse one of those fancy web sites with navigation bars
that change color as you move the mouse over them or expand and contract
a table of contents with one click.
Sometimes I think, “Okay, that’s it. I’m going to install a
navigation bar like this one right now.” So I
download the HTML source code for the page and have a peek. What I see
always diminishes my enthusiasm substantially. Navigation bars are a lot
of work! Either they’re done by hand using individually crafted HTML
pages, or they require a slow-loading Java applet, or most frequently,
workarounds for various makes and models of browser.
One of the cardinal virtues of programming is laziness, and as a
Perl programmer I have this virtue in spades. I don’t want to do any
hard work to create my navigation bar. I just want it to appear,
automatically, when I write an HTML page and save it into my web site’s
document directory. When I finally bit the bullet and got down to
writing a site-wide navigation bar, I used mod_perl, the nifty embedded
Perl module for Apache, to create a system that automatically adds a
navigation bar to all my pages without my having to lift a finger. You
need the Apache web server, Version 1.3.3 or higher, mod_perl Version
1.16 or higher, and Perl 5.004_03 or higher to use this system.