I've had a few people contact me indicating interest in Cgiapp, and I've noticed
a number of subscribers to the freshmeat project I've setup. In addition, we're
using the library extensively at the
National Gardening Association in developing our new
site (the current site is using a mixture of ASP and Tango, with several newer
applications using PHP). I've also been monitoring the
mailing list. As a result of all this activity, I've decided I need to develop a
roadmap for Cgiapp.
Currently, planned changes include:
Version 1.x series:
- Adding a Smarty registration for
stripslashes(the Smarty "function" call will be
param()bugfix: currently, calling
param()with no arguments simply gives you a list of parameters registered with the method, but not their values; this will be fixed.
CGI::ApplicationML brought up and implemented the idea of an
error_mode()method to register an
error_modewith the object (similar to
run_modes()). While non-essential, it would offer a standard, built-in hook for error handling.
$PATH_INFOtraversing. Again, on the
CGI::AppML, a request was brought up for built-in support for using
$PATH_INFOto determine the run mode. Basically, you would pass a parameter indicating which location in the
$PATH_INFOstring holds the run mode.
- DocBook tutorials. I feel that too much information is given in the class-level documentation, and that usage tutorials need to be written. Since I'm documenting with PhpDoc and targetting PEAR, moving tutorials into DocBook is a logical step.
- Adding a Smarty registration for
Version 2.x series:
Yes, a Cgiapp2 is in the future. There are a few changes that are either necessitating (a) PHP5, or (b) API changes. In keeping with PEAR guidelines, I'll rename the module Cgiapp2 so as not to break applications designed for Cgiapp.
Changes expected include:
Inherit from PEAR. This will allow for some built in error handling, among other things. I suspect that this will tie in with the
error_mode(), and may also deprecate
load_tmpl(). In the perl version, you would instantiate a template using
load_tmpl(), assign your variables to it, and then do your
fetch()on it. So, this:
$this->tmpl_assign('var1', 'val1'); $body = $this->load_tmpl('template.html');
$tmpl = $this->load_tmpl(); $tmpl->assign('var1', 'val1'); $body = $tmpl->fetch('template.html');
$tmpl = $this->load_tmpl('template.html'); $tmpl->assign('var1', 'val1'); $body = $tmpl->fetch();
(Both examples assume use of Smarty.) I want to revert to this behaviour for several reasons:
Portability with perl. This is one area in which the PHP and perl versions differ greatly; going to the perl way makes porting classes between the two languages simpler.
Decoupling. The current set of template methods create an object as a parameter of the application object — which is fine, unless the template object instantiator returns an object of a different kind.
Smarty can use the same object to fill multiple templates, and the current methods make use of this. By assigning the template object locally to each method, this could be lost. HOWEVER… an easy work-around would be for
load_tmpl()to create the object and store it an a parameter; subsequent calls would return the same object reference. The difficulty then would be if
load_tmpl()assumed a template name would be passed. However, even in
CGI::App, you decide on a template engine and design for that engine; there is never an assumption that template engines should be swappable.
Existing Cgiapp1 applications would need to be rewritten.
Plugin Architecture: The
CGI::AppML has produced a
::Pluginnamespace that utilizes a common plugin architecture. The way it is done in perl is through some magic of namespaces and export routines… both of which are, notably, missing from PHP.
However, I think I may know a workaround for this, if I use PHP5: the magic
My idea is to have plugin classes register methods that should be accessible by a Cgiapp-based class a special key in the
$_GLOBALSarray. Then, the
__call()method would check the key for registered methods; if one is found matching a method requested, that method is called (using
call_user_func()), with the Cgiapp-based object reference as the first reference. Voilá! instant plugins!
Why do this? A library of 'standard' plugins could then be created, such as:
- A form validation plugin
- Alternate template engines as plugins (instead of overriding the
- An authorization plugin
Since the 'exported' methods would have access to the Cgiapp object, they could even register objects or parameters with it.
If you have any requests or comments on the roadmap, please feel free to contact me.