Franck Cuny @franckcuny

Software and Operation engineer.

Dancer's Summer of Code

Middleware

After the French Perl Workshop, we decided to focus our efforts on bringing middleware into Dancer. As the .psgi script is now obsolete, we wanted to simplify the middleware configuration for users not familiar with Plack.

It's now possible to load a middleware by adding it to your configuration:

plack_middlewares:
    Debug:
    - panels
    -
        - DBITrace
        - Memory
        - Timer

YAPC::Eu 2010

During YAPC::EU, I've been happy to meet with squeeks, sawyer and Martin Berends. Sadly, we didn't have much time to talk and do some coding.

I had already met Martin during the FPW, where he started to port Dancer to Perl6. His first objective is to have HTTP::Server::Simple work. I was really impressed with his works; if I manage to find some spare time soon, I will join his effort.

Dancer's application

In august, Alexis brought a big effort to refactor the core of Dancer, to add the possibility to "plug" components to your application. This required a lot of rewriting, but in the meantime, we added more tests to ensure nothing would break.

With this feature, you can do the following:

package myapp::forum;
use Dancer ':syntax';

before => sub {
    ...
};

get '/' => sub {
    ...
};

package myapp:blog;
use Dancer ':syntax';

load_app 'myapp::forum', prefix => '/forum';

before => sub {
    ...
};

get '/' => sub {
    ...
};

Now you can request / and /forum. The before filter declared in the package myapp::forum will be executed when the /forum path is matched, and the filter in myapp::blog will be executed for /.

QA

The weekend following the YAPC::EU, we held a small hackaton/QA day on irc. Not many people were present, but we managed to achieve some results:

  • reached the 1K tests
  • documentation cleanup
  • added Hooks
  • improved our code coverage

Today our code average is over 92%, and we have more than 1200 tests.

With the new hook system, two new keywords have been added: before_template and after. They work as the before keyword, except the before_template is executed before sending the tokens to the template, so you can modify them (a small example can be found in the Dancer::Plugin::i18n). The after is executed before the response is sent to the user.

Sukria has also set up an autobuild system for our two main branches. Every 15 minutes, the test suite is executed when there is a new commit, and builds a report. Code coverage is also measured, so we can always know the state of our various development cycles.

WebSocket

This is the question that came back from time to time: when/will Dancer support websocket ?

We investigated various ways to do this:

  • new async. handler
  • writing our own implementation
  • ...

I didn't want to write a websocket implementation for Dancer, as the spec are not yet final and it's not easy to do. Thanks to clkao, we didn't have to care about all this, as he already wrote a Plack middleware for this: Web::Hippie.

So, what we did, is to use this middleware and add some syntactic sugar so people can use it easily in their applications. A small application is available here.

This is not yet complete, it's only available in the 'devel' branch, and subject to change. A small code sample:

websocket '/new_listener' => sub {
    my $env   = request->env;
    my $room  = $env->{'hippie.args'};
    my $topic = $env->{'hippie.bus'}->topic($room);
    $env->{'hippie.listener'}->subscribe($topic);
};

websocket '/message' => sub {
    my $env   = request->env;
    my $room  = $env->{'hippie.args'};
    my $topic = $env->{'hippie.bus'}->topic($room);

    my $msg = $env->{'hippie.message'};
    $msg->{time} = time;
    $msg->{address} = $env->{REMOTE_ADDR};
    $topic->publish($msg);
};

As you can see, a lot of stuff can be improved quite easily in terms of syntax.

Deployment

We're also in the process of reworking our current Deployment documentation. Lots of people are trying to deploy Dancer using various configurations, and not all are well documented, or don't work as expected. If you use Dancer, and have deployed an application in a way not documened in our Deployement documentation, please join us on irc (#dancer on irc.perl.org) or contact us on the mailing list, or even better, send us a patch, so we can improve this part.

Future

There is also our next Dancer's meeting meeting to organize, at the end of Septembre.

In October will take place the 2nd OSDC.fr, where I will talk about Plack, and alexis will present Dancer.

I want to thank my company (Linkfluence) and my boss (Camille) for giving me time to code on Dancer at work.

As always, thanks to blob for reviewing my (slightly improving) english :)