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Day 11: Using Plack::Builder

Yesterday we saw how to enable Plack middleware components in .psgi file, using its wrap class method. The way you use the middleware and then wrap the $app with wrap is tedious and not intuitive, so we have a DSL (Domain Specific Language) to make it much easier, and that is Plack::Builder.

Using Plack::Builder

The way you use Plack::Builder is so easy. Just use the keywords builder and enable:

 my $app = sub { 
     return [ 200, [], [ "Hello World" ] ];

 use Plack::Builder;
 builder {
     enable "JSONP";
     enable "Auth::Basic", authenticator => sub { ... };
     enable "Deflater";

This takes the original application ($app) and wraps it with Deflater, Auth::Basic and JSONP middleware components (inner to outer). So it's equivalent to:

 $app = Plack::Middleware::Deflater->wrap($app);
 $app = Plack::Middleware::Auth::Basic->wrap($app, authenticator => sub { });
 $app = Plack::Middleware::JSONP->wrap($app);

but without lots of useing the module which is anti DRY.

Outer to Inner, Top to the bottom

Notice that the order of middleware wrapping is in reverse? The builder/enable DSL allows you to wrap application so the line close to the original $app is inner, while the first one in the top is outer. You can compare that with the onion picture and see that it's more obvious: something closer to the application is inner.

enable takes the middleware name without the Plack::Middleware:: prefix but in case you want to enable some other namespace, like MyFramework::PSGI::MW::Foo, you can say:

 enable "+MyFramework::PSGI::MW::Foo";

the key here is to use the plus (+) sign to indicate that it is a fully qualified class name.

What's happening behind

If you're curious what Plack::Builder is doing, take a look at the code and see what's happening. The builder takes the code block and executes the code, and take the result (return value of the last statement) as an original application ($app), and then returns the wrapped application by applying Middleware in the reverse order. So it is important to have $app in the last line inside the builder block, and have the builder statement as the final statement in .psgi file as well.

Thanks, Rack

This idea of Plack::Builder is totally an inspiration by Rack::Builder. You can see that they use the use keyword but obviously we can's use that in Perl :) so we chose enable instead. You can see that they have map which is to map applications to a different path, and we'll talk about its equivalent in Plack tomorrow ;)