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RE: OT: (slightly) RAD RDBMS tools for perl/Apache::ASP

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  • Kulp, David
    I must admit that there s nothing that s really it in CPAN. A few months ago I spent a lot of time looking through the modules that Joshua described and
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 21, 2002
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      I must admit that there's nothing that's really "it" in CPAN. A few months
      ago I spent a lot of time looking through the modules that Joshua described
      and never found what I wanted. I didn't know about phpLens until now, but
      it looks sweet. Instead, I've been writing some Apache::ASP tags that, if I
      do say so myself, nicely abstract away a lot of the database code. I'm only
      concerned with view and search (not editting (data entry), which I believe
      to be a separate can of worms for all but the simplest databases). I hope
      to release it some day.

      The basic idea is

      <dbb:form>
      <dbb:table table="foo" DSN=$DSN />
      </dbb:form>

      and it magically inserts a paginated, CSS savvy, searchable table to your
      HTML document.
      It relies on simple meta-data in the database to control things like layout
      of numerics, etc. and you can write your own little perl "rendering" methods
      to display a cell of a table however you like. Additional tags
      <dbb:selection> and <dbb:qset> allow for exporting a selection set or the
      results of a query to a tab delimited or Excel output.

      Sound interesting to anyone besides me? If so, I might put more energy into
      making a releasable package.

      -d

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Joshua Chamas [mailto:joshua@...]
      > Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 6:08 PM
      > To: Jim Helm
      > Cc: asp@...
      > Subject: Re: OT: (slightly) RAD RDBMS tools for perl/Apache::ASP
      >
      >
      > Jim Helm wrote:
      > >
      > > This isn't specific to Apache:ASP, but I've seen a lot of
      > good advice
      > > here, and hopefully someone has already been through this.
      > >
      > > I was just wondering if anyone had used/knows of anything for perl
      > > similar to phpLens. I haven't actually used it, but it looks pretty
      > > impressive. I'd prefer to stick with perl, though. I've searched
      > > through CPAN, and on google, and haven't found anything
      > obviously like
      > > phpLens for perl, but there's a lot out there and I may
      > have just missed
      > > it. The closest I think I've seen so far is
      > DBIx::HTMLView, but it's
      > > only for mySQL and mSQL (needs some extra coding for other
      > DBD drivers -
      > > I think).
      > >
      >
      > I have always rolled by own application by application, but my
      > apps have always had to be pretty tight to the database for
      > high performance with mixed OLAP/OLTP environments.
      >
      > If you feel that RAD does not have to be GUI RAD, I might look
      > at these:
      >
      > CGI::FormBuilder ( promises 4x code reduction )
      > DBIx::XHTML_Table
      >
      > If you want something closer do the database, and don't mind doing
      > your own HTML, check out:
      >
      > DBIx::Recordset
      > Alzabo
      >
      > They at least abstract DBI slightly away from you.
      >
      > > all the bells and whistles of phpLens - though they would
      > be nice. And
      > > I need to be able to make updates - simply displaying data is fairly
      > > trivial, and I wouldn't need to ask for tools to do that -
      > they are a
      >
      > phpLens looks nice. You you want something that is more of a
      > CMS in perl,
      > you can try Bricolage or Mason:
      >
      > http://bricolage.thepirtgroup.com/
      > http://www.masonhq.com/
      >
      > Sorry, I don't think any of these quite hit it on the head for
      > you, but I thought I'd try! Best of luck, and if you find anything
      > interesting please share it with the rest of us, as it seems
      > to be a fairly common problem. Also, you might try the mod_perl
      > list & I am sure you will get some opinions :)
      >
      > --Josh
      > _________________________________________________________________
      > Joshua Chamas Chamas Enterprises Inc.
      > NodeWorks Founder Huntington Beach, CA USA
      > http://www.nodeworks.com 1-714-625-4051
      >
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    • Ellers
      ... Definitely sounds interesting to me ;) I m sure others would be too Ellers ... To unsubscribe, e-mail: asp-unsubscribe@perl.apache.org For additional
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 21, 2002
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        >...
        >
        ><dbb:form>
        ><dbb:table table="foo" DSN=$DSN />
        ></dbb:form>
        >
        >and it magically inserts a paginated, CSS savvy, searchable table to your
        >HTML document.
        >...
        >
        >Sound interesting to anyone besides me? If so, I might put more energy into
        >making a releasable package.

        Definitely sounds interesting to me ;)

        I'm sure others would be too

        Ellers


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      • Jim Helm
        Looks like CGI::FormBuilder/Template::Toolkit combined with DBIx::Recordset is probably my best bet. I knew about them individually, but for some reason just
        Message 3 of 14 , Mar 21, 2002
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          Looks like CGI::FormBuilder/Template::Toolkit combined with
          DBIx::Recordset is probably my best bet. I knew about them
          individually, but for some reason just didn't think to use them in
          combination to achieve 95% of what I wanted... I'll still have to code,
          but if I didn't have to code anything, what fun would it be! And if I
          ever do find anything better I'll be sure to pass it along. FormBuilder
          is pretty impressive looking so far - wish I head read over it more
          thoroughly before asking the question. Though it was a good exercise, I
          think.

          Thanks for the virtual whack upside the head. (doh!)

          Jim

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Joshua Chamas [mailto:joshua@...]
          Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 6:08 PM
          To: Jim Helm
          Cc: asp@...
          Subject: Re: OT: (slightly) RAD RDBMS tools for perl/Apache::ASP


          Jim Helm wrote:
          >
          > This isn't specific to Apache:ASP, but I've seen a lot of good advice
          > here, and hopefully someone has already been through this.
          >
          > I was just wondering if anyone had used/knows of anything for perl
          > similar to phpLens. I haven't actually used it, but it looks pretty
          > impressive. I'd prefer to stick with perl, though. I've searched
          > through CPAN, and on google, and haven't found anything obviously like

          > phpLens for perl, but there's a lot out there and I may have just
          > missed it. The closest I think I've seen so far is DBIx::HTMLView,
          > but it's only for mySQL and mSQL (needs some extra coding for other
          > DBD drivers - I think).
          >

          I have always rolled by own application by application, but my
          apps have always had to be pretty tight to the database for
          high performance with mixed OLAP/OLTP environments.

          If you feel that RAD does not have to be GUI RAD, I might look at these:

          CGI::FormBuilder ( promises 4x code reduction )
          DBIx::XHTML_Table

          If you want something closer do the database, and don't mind doing your
          own HTML, check out:

          DBIx::Recordset
          Alzabo

          They at least abstract DBI slightly away from you.

          > all the bells and whistles of phpLens - though they would be nice.
          > And I need to be able to make updates - simply displaying data is
          > fairly trivial, and I wouldn't need to ask for tools to do that - they

          > are a

          phpLens looks nice. You you want something that is more of a CMS in
          perl, you can try Bricolage or Mason:

          http://bricolage.thepirtgroup.com/
          http://www.masonhq.com/

          Sorry, I don't think any of these quite hit it on the head for you, but
          I thought I'd try! Best of luck, and if you find anything interesting
          please share it with the rest of us, as it seems to be a fairly common
          problem. Also, you might try the mod_perl list & I am sure you will get
          some opinions :)

          --Josh _________________________________________________________________
          Joshua Chamas Chamas Enterprises Inc.
          NodeWorks Founder Huntington Beach, CA USA
          http://www.nodeworks.com 1-714-625-4051


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        • Ellers
          ... Getting more off topic now, but thought I d mention about FormBuilder... I find CGI::FormBuilder really useful and have come to prefer it to use CGI
          Message 4 of 14 , Mar 22, 2002
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            At 11:27 PM -0800 21/3/02, Jim Helm wrote:
            >Looks like CGI::FormBuilder/Template::Toolkit combined with
            >DBIx::Recordset is probably my best bet.


            Getting more off topic now, but thought I'd mention about FormBuilder...

            I find CGI::FormBuilder really useful and have come to prefer it to
            use CGI methods or HTML code directly.

            To use it effectively in Apache::ASP several settings are useful:

            javascript => 0,
            header => 0,

            Although the javascript one can sometimes be useful, I found it made
            life more difficult than it was worth.

            Also, with multistage forms (e.g. purchaser details on page 1,
            product details page 2, card details page 3 etc) I came up with a few
            tricks which I can post if anyone is interested.

            Most of the time I used FormBuilder's inbuilt $form->render() method
            because it was easier than doing a template; it dawned on me that it
            would make sense to add another template method for FormBuilder,
            something like:

            $form->render( ASPInclude => 'inc_user_details.asp' )

            or whatever, and instead of HTML::Template variables,
            CGI::FormBuilder could just supply a hashref to the include file
            allowing stuff like:

            [inc_user_details.asp]

            <p>User Name: <%= $cgiform->{'field_user_name'} %>

            etc


            This isn't existing functionality in FormBuilder, but if anyone else
            thinks its a worthy idea it could be recommended to the author.

            Ellers


            >
            >-----Original Message-----
            >From: Joshua Chamas [mailto:joshua@...]
            >Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 6:08 PM
            >To: Jim Helm
            >Cc: asp@...
            >Subject: Re: OT: (slightly) RAD RDBMS tools for perl/Apache::ASP
            >
            >
            >Jim Helm wrote:
            >>
            >> This isn't specific to Apache:ASP, but I've seen a lot of good advice
            >> here, and hopefully someone has already been through this.
            >>
            >> I was just wondering if anyone had used/knows of anything for perl
            >> similar to phpLens. I haven't actually used it, but it looks pretty
            >> impressive. I'd prefer to stick with perl, though. I've searched
            >> through CPAN, and on google, and haven't found anything obviously like
            >
            >> phpLens for perl, but there's a lot out there and I may have just
            >> missed it. The closest I think I've seen so far is DBIx::HTMLView,
            >> but it's only for mySQL and mSQL (needs some extra coding for other
            >> DBD drivers - I think).
            >>
            >
            >I have always rolled by own application by application, but my
            >apps have always had to be pretty tight to the database for
            >high performance with mixed OLAP/OLTP environments.
            >
            >If you feel that RAD does not have to be GUI RAD, I might look at these:
            >
            > CGI::FormBuilder ( promises 4x code reduction )
            > DBIx::XHTML_Table
            >
            >If you want something closer do the database, and don't mind doing your
            >own HTML, check out:
            >
            > DBIx::Recordset
            > Alzabo
            >
            >They at least abstract DBI slightly away from you.
            >
            >> all the bells and whistles of phpLens - though they would be nice.
            >> And I need to be able to make updates - simply displaying data is
            >> fairly trivial, and I wouldn't need to ask for tools to do that - they
            >
            >> are a
            >
            >phpLens looks nice. You you want something that is more of a CMS in
            >perl, you can try Bricolage or Mason:
            >
            > http://bricolage.thepirtgroup.com/
            > http://www.masonhq.com/
            >
            >Sorry, I don't think any of these quite hit it on the head for you, but
            >I thought I'd try! Best of luck, and if you find anything interesting
            >please share it with the rest of us, as it seems to be a fairly common
            >problem. Also, you might try the mod_perl list & I am sure you will get
            >some opinions :)
            >
            >--Josh _________________________________________________________________
            >Joshua Chamas Chamas Enterprises Inc.
            >NodeWorks Founder Huntington Beach, CA USA
            >http://www.nodeworks.com 1-714-625-4051
            >
            >
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            >For additional commands, e-mail: asp-help@...


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          • Jim Helm
            Actually, using asp includes for the templating sounds great... I haven t looked at the code, but I wouldn t think it would be that hard to add. It d be
            Message 5 of 14 , Mar 22, 2002
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              Actually, using asp includes for the templating sounds great... I
              haven't looked at the code, but I wouldn't think it would be that hard
              to add. It'd be great not to have to learn yet another pseudo-language
              to accomplish this (Template::Toolkit or HTML::Toolkit) when Apache::ASP
              is something I already know! I'll start looking at the FormBuilder
              hooks, and see how involved it is - don't know if I have the time to
              actually implement it, but it's a great idea.

              I'm cc'ing Nate on this too, see what he thinks.

              Jim

              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: Ellers [mailto:ellers@...]
              |
              |
              > Most of the time I used FormBuilder's inbuilt $form->render() method
              > because it was easier than doing a template; it dawned on me that it
              > would make sense to add another template method for FormBuilder,
              > something like:
              >
              > $form->render( ASPInclude => 'inc_user_details.asp' )
              >
              > or whatever, and instead of HTML::Template variables,
              > CGI::FormBuilder could just supply a hashref to the include file
              > allowing stuff like:
              >
              > [inc_user_details.asp]
              >
              > <p>User Name: <%= $cgiform->{'field_user_name'} %>
              >
              > etc
              >
              >
              > This isn't existing functionality in FormBuilder, but if anyone else
              > thinks its a worthy idea it could be recommended to the author.
              >
              > Ellers
              >
              >


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            • Nathan Wiger
              Sure, the more templating engines the better! :-) The only caveat here is that I definitely don t have the time to implement this, and besides, I don t know
              Message 6 of 14 , Mar 22, 2002
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                Sure, the more templating engines the better! :-)

                The only caveat here is that I definitely don't have the time to implement this,
                and besides, I don't know ASP. Andy Wardley sent me a big patch to enable
                Template Toolkit support, so if somebody wants to take a whack at this and send
                me a corresponding patch, I will gladly add it. Look near the bottom of
                render(), where there are some if/elsif/else statements looking for the type of
                template specified. This shouldn't be too hard to slot in there.

                -Nate

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Jim Helm" <jjhelm@...>
                To: "'Ellers'" <ellers@...>
                Cc: <asp@...>; <nate@...>
                Sent: Friday, March 22, 2002 4:36 PM
                Subject: RE: OT: (slightly) RAD RDBMS tools for perl/Apache::ASP -> FormBuilder


                > Actually, using asp includes for the templating sounds great... I
                > haven't looked at the code, but I wouldn't think it would be that hard
                > to add. It'd be great not to have to learn yet another pseudo-language
                > to accomplish this (Template::Toolkit or HTML::Toolkit) when Apache::ASP
                > is something I already know! I'll start looking at the FormBuilder
                > hooks, and see how involved it is - don't know if I have the time to
                > actually implement it, but it's a great idea.
                >
                > I'm cc'ing Nate on this too, see what he thinks.
                >
                > Jim
                >
                > > -----Original Message-----
                > > From: Ellers [mailto:ellers@...]
                > |
                > |
                > > Most of the time I used FormBuilder's inbuilt $form->render() method
                > > because it was easier than doing a template; it dawned on me that it
                > > would make sense to add another template method for FormBuilder,
                > > something like:
                > >
                > > $form->render( ASPInclude => 'inc_user_details.asp' )
                > >
                > > or whatever, and instead of HTML::Template variables,
                > > CGI::FormBuilder could just supply a hashref to the include file
                > > allowing stuff like:
                > >
                > > [inc_user_details.asp]
                > >
                > > <p>User Name: <%= $cgiform->{'field_user_name'} %>
                > >
                > > etc
                > >
                > >
                > > This isn't existing functionality in FormBuilder, but if anyone else
                > > thinks its a worthy idea it could be recommended to the author.
                > >
                > > Ellers
                > >
                > >
                >


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              • Joshua Chamas
                ... Sounds pretty cool to me. I do not have my head around sharing taglibs like this easily yet, but you might break some ground here if you pursue this work.
                Message 7 of 14 , Mar 22, 2002
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                  "Kulp, David" wrote:
                  >
                  > I must admit that there's nothing that's really "it" in CPAN. A few months
                  > ago I spent a lot of time looking through the modules that Joshua described
                  > and never found what I wanted. I didn't know about phpLens until now, but
                  > it looks sweet. Instead, I've been writing some Apache::ASP tags that, if I
                  > do say so myself, nicely abstract away a lot of the database code. I'm only
                  > concerned with view and search (not editting (data entry), which I believe
                  > to be a separate can of worms for all but the simplest databases). I hope
                  > to release it some day.
                  >
                  > The basic idea is
                  >
                  > <dbb:form>
                  > <dbb:table table="foo" DSN=$DSN />
                  > </dbb:form>
                  >

                  Sounds pretty cool to me. I do not have my head around sharing taglibs
                  like this easily yet, but you might break some ground here if you pursue
                  this work. Though flexible the XMLSubsMatch is kind of limiting in that
                  someone cannot just "register" their XMLSubs namespace on the fly. If you
                  did pursue this we could look at how these packages could be easily
                  installed with CPAN like ease. If we had enough "standard" extensions
                  like this, Apache::ASP could be an ever increasingly useful platform.

                  --Josh
                  _________________________________________________________________
                  Joshua Chamas Chamas Enterprises Inc.
                  NodeWorks Founder Huntington Beach, CA USA
                  http://www.nodeworks.com 1-714-625-4051

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                • Ellers
                  I ve done a first cut at modifying CGI::FormBuilder to use ASP s $Response- Include() as a templating mechanism. In an ASP file your form is created:
                  Message 8 of 14 , Mar 26, 2002
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                    I've done a first cut at modifying CGI::FormBuilder to use ASP's $Response->Include() as a templating mechanism.

                    In an ASP file your form is created:

                    <<<

                    <html>
                    <head>
                    <title>Try Formbuilder with ASP</title>
                    </head>
                    <body>
                    <h2>A really simple CGI::FormBuilder example using ASP</h2>
                    <!-- before ASP/CGI::FormBuilder stuff -->
                    <%

                    require CGI::FormBuilder;

                    my $form = CGI::FormBuilder->new
                    (
                    header => 0,
                    method => 'GET',
                    fields => [qw/email /],
                    javascript => 0,
                    reset => 0,
                    required => [qw/email /],
                    validate => { email => 'EMAIL' },
                    sticky => 1, # 0 or 1
                    );

                    $form->field ( name => 'email', validate => 'EMAIL', size => 25 );

                    if ( $form->submitted( ) && $form->validate( ) )
                    {
                    print $form->confirm( );
                    }
                    else
                    {
                    print $form->render
                    (
                    submit => 'Submit',
                    template => {
                    type => 'ASPInclude',
                    template => 'inc_show_params.asp',
                    response => $Response,
                    }
                    );

                    }
                    %>

                    >>>



                    Note, in particular, the $form->render() method at the bottom. I pass $Response as a parameter as its a simple and effective way to ensure
                    that CGI::FormBuilder gets the appropriate $Response object (which may be in some odd namespace).

                    The file inc_show_params.asp is a demo that just dumps the parameters:

                    <<<
                    <p>This is my asp file

                    <p>Below is a dump of all arguments:
                    <p><hr>
                    <p><pre>
                    <%

                    use Data::Dumper;
                    $Data::Dumper::Indent = 1;

                    my ( @args ) = @_;
                    print $Server->HTMLEncode( Data::Dumper->Dump([@args], [qw(*args)]));

                    %>
                    </pre></p><hr>
                    >>>


                    The code below is a more-or-less replacement using ASP for the default CGI::FormBuilder style:

                    <<<
                    <p>This is a demo form - this content is in a separate ASP file included by CGI::FormBuilder.
                    <p>Fields marked with "*" must be supplied.

                    <%

                    my ( $formRef ) = @_;

                    my ( $fieldsArrayRef ) = $formRef->{ 'fields' };

                    if ( $formRef->{'invalid'}) { %>

                    <p><b>There were <%= $formRef->{'invalid'} %> error<%= ( $formRef->{'invalid'} > 1 ? 's' : '' ) %> in your submission.</b></p>

                    <%
                    }
                    %>

                    <p>
                    <%= $formRef->{ 'start' } %>
                    <table border="1" cellpadding="5">

                    <%

                    foreach my $fieldRef ( @{$fieldsArrayRef}) {

                    %>

                    <tr>
                    <td>
                    <%= ( $fieldRef->{ 'invalid' } ? '<font color="red">' : '' ) %>
                    <%= $fieldRef->{ 'label' } %>
                    <%= ( $fieldRef->{ 'required' } ? '*' : '' ) %>
                    <%= ( $fieldRef->{ 'invalid' } ? '</font>' : '' ) %>
                    </td>
                    <td><%= $fieldRef->{ 'field' } %>
                    </td>
                    </tr>

                    <% } %>

                    <tr>
                    <td colspan="2" align="center">
                    <%= $formRef->{ 'reset' } %>
                    <%= $formRef->{ 'submit' } %>
                    </td>
                    </tr>
                    </table>
                    <%= $formRef->{ 'end' } %>
                    >>>



                    Phew... hope this post isn't too long!


                    To achieve all this was surprisingly easy:

                    > diff /usr/local/lib/site_perl/CGI/FormBuilder.pm /my/dodgy/CGI/Customised_FormBuilder.pm

                    953c955
                    < if (ref $args{template} eq 'HASH' && $args{template}{type} eq 'TT2') {
                    ---
                    > if (ref $args{template} eq 'HASH' && $args{template}{type} =~ m/^(TT2|ASPInclude)$/ ) { # added by Ellers
                    1178a1183,1207
                    >
                    > } elsif ($tmpltype eq 'ASPInclude') { # Added by Ellers
                    >
                    > eval { require Apache::ASP };
                    > puke "Can't use templates because the Apache::ASP is not installed!" if $@;
                    >
                    > my ( $aspFile, $aspResponse, $aspContentRef, $aspArgRef );
                    > $aspFile = $tmplopt{template}
                    > || puke "ASP Include not specified";
                    > $aspResponse = $tmplopt{response}
                    > || puke "ASP Response not specified";
                    >
                    > # special fields
                    > $tmplvar{'start'} = $formtag;
                    > $tmplvar{'submit'} = $submit;
                    > $tmplvar{'reset'} = $reset;
                    > $tmplvar{'end'} = '</form>';
                    > $tmplvar{'jshead'} = $jsfunc;
                    > $tmplvar{'invalid'} = $self->{state}{invalid};
                    > $tmplvar{'fields'} = [ map $tmplvar{field}{$_},
                    > @{ $self->{field_names} } ];
                    > $aspArgRef = \%tmplvar;
                    >
                    > $aspContentRef = $aspResponse->TrapInclude( $aspFile, $aspArgRef );
                    > $outhtml = $header . $$aspContentRef;


                    If that's a bit cumbersome, I've uploaded various files including my dodgy modified FormBuilder.pm:

                    http://members.iinet.net.au/~ellers/cgi-formbuilder/

                    PLEASE NOTE:
                    1. I've done a few other changes to the above, such as spaces between multiple submit buttons etc, but it should be ok...
                    2. The server above doesn't run Apache::ASP so best to save the files and run on your own server

                    TODO:
                    - check templating work for $form->confirm()
                    - add overall doco, etc


                    It'd be great if anyone who is interested in this work could give it a go and send comments through. If/when its reliable enough I can
                    submit it as a patch to the 'real' thing.

                    Ellers



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                  • Jim Helm
                    Great work! I started to take that approach and decided to try a callback, or passing a hashref that would get populated, instead of calling another page. That
                    Message 9 of 14 , Mar 26, 2002
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                      Great work!

                      I started to take that approach and decided to try a callback, or
                      passing a hashref that would get populated, instead of calling another
                      page. That would make the render function more adaptable to other
                      frameworks, instead of having to add in specific code for each one. I
                      have done much yet, but it's essentially what you have except instead of
                      calling $Response->Include at the end of render, it just assigns that
                      tmplvar hash to the hashref I pass in so all the various html chunks can
                      be used directly by the main asp script - I'm a mininalist, so main.asp
                      calling render calling another form.asp script going against my grain a
                      bit (please, no flames here - it's just a personal preference!).
                      Hopefully I'll have time to work on it today and post the results.

                      Jim


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