NAME Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming - allow old style CGI applications to use the plack streaming protocol SYNOPSIS in your app.psgi: use Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming; Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming->new(root=>...)->to_app; DESCRIPTION With Plack already comes Plack::App::CGIBin. "Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming" serves a very similar purpose. So, why do I need another module? The reason is that Plack::App::CGIBin first collects all the output from your CGI scripts before it prints the first byte to the client. This renders the following simple clock script useless: use strict; use warnings; $|=0; my $boundary='The Final Frontier'; print <<"EOF"; Status: 200 Content-Type: multipart/x-mixed-replace;boundary="$boundary"; EOF $boundary="--$boundary\n"; my $mpheader=<<'HEADER'; Content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8; HEADER for(1..100) { print ($boundary, $mpheader, '


\n"); $|=1; $|=0; sleep 1; } print ($boundary); Although multipart HTTP messages are quite exotic, there are situations where you rather want to prevent this buffering. If your document is very large for example, each instance of your plack server allocates the RAM to buffer it. Also, you might perhaps send out the "" section of your HTTP document as fast as possible to enable the browser load JS and CSS while the plack server is still busy with producing the actual document. "Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming" compiles the CGI scripts using CGI::Compile and provides a runtime environment similar to "Plack::App::CGIBin". Compiled scripts are cached. For production environments, it is possible to precompile and cache scripts at server start time, see the "preload" option below. Every single request is represented as an object that inherits from Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::Request. This class mainly provides means for handling response headers and body. Options The plack app is built as usual: $app=Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming->new(@options)->to_app; @options is a list of key/value pairs configuring the app. The "Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming" class inherits from Plack::App::File. So, everything recognized by this class is accepted. In particular, the "root" parameter is used to specify the directory where your CGI programs reside. Additionally, these parameters are accepted: request_class specifies the class of the request object to construct for every request. This class should implement the interface described in Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::Request. Best if your request class inherits from Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::Request. This parameter is optional. By default "Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::Request" is used. request_params specifies a list of additional parameters to be passed to the request constructor. By default the request constructor is passed 2 parameters. This list is appended to the parameter list like: $R = $class->new( env => $env, responder => $responder, @{$self->request_params//[]}, ); preload In a production environment, you probably want to use a (pre)forking server to run the application. In this case is is sensible to compile as much perl code as possible at server startup time by the parent process because then all the children share the RAM pages where the code resides (by copy-on-write) and you utilize your server resources much better. One way to achieve that is to keep your CGI applications very slim and put all the actual work into modules. These modules are then "use"d or "require"d in your app.psgi file. As a simpler alternative you can specify a list of "glob" patterns as "preload" value. "Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming" will then load and compile all the scripts matching all the patterns when the app object is created. This technique has benefits and drawbacks: pro: more concurrent worker children in less RAM see above con: no way to reload the application on the fly when your scripts change you have to restart the server. Without preloading anything you could just kill all the worker children (or signal them to do so after the next request). pro/con: increased privileges while preloading the HTTP standard port is 80 and, thus, requires root privileges to bind to. scripts are preloaded before the server opens the port. So, even if it later drops privilges, at preload time you still are root. Runtime environment Additional to the environment provided by CGI::Compile, this module provides: the global variable $Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::R For the request lifetime it contains the actual request object. This variable is "local"ized. There is also a way to access this variable as class method. If you use a Coro based plack server, make sure to replace the guts of this variable when switching threads, see "swap_sv()" in Coro::State. "Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming->request" or "Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::request" This function/method returns the current request object or "undef" if called outside the request loop. %ENV is populated everything from the plack environment except keys starting with "plack" or "psgi." is copied to %ENV. "STDIN" and "STDOUT" "STDIN" depends on the plack server implementation. It is simply an alias for the "psgi.input" PSGI environment element. "STDOUT" is configured using the Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::IO PerlIO layer to capture output. The layer sends the output to the request object. Flushing via $| is also supported. Pitfalls and workarounds During the implementation I found a wierd bug. At least on Linux, perl supports "CHLD" and "CLD" as name of the signal that is sent when a child process exits. Also, when Perl calls a signal handler, it passes the signal name as the first parameter. Now the question arises, which name is passed when a child exits. As it happens the first assignment to %SIG{CHLD} or $SIG{CLD} determines that name for the rest of the lifetime of the process. Now, several plack server implementations, e.g. Starman, rely on that name to be "CHLD". As a workaround, "Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming" contains this code: BEGIN { local $SIG{CHLD}=$SIG{CHLD}; } If your server dies when it receives a SIGCHLD, perhaps the module is loaded too late. EXAMPLE This distribution contains a complete example in the eg/ directory. After building the module by perl Build.PL ./Build you can try it out: (cd eg && starman -l :5091 --workers=2 --preload-app app.psgi) & Then you should be able to access * * The clock example is basically the script displayed above. It works in Firefox. Other browsers don't support multipart HTTP messages. The flush example demonstrates filtering. It has been tested wich Chromium 35 on Linux. The script first prints a part of the page that contains the HTML comment "". The filter recognizes this token and pushes the page out. You should see a red background and the string "loading -- please wait". After 2 seconds the page should turn green and the string should change to "loaded". All of this very much depends on browser behavior. The intent is not to provide an example that works for all of them. Instead, the capabilities of this module are shown. You can also test these links with "curl" instead. The example PSGI file also configures an access_log and an error_log. AUTHOR Torsten Förtsch COPYRIGHT Copyright 2014 LICENSE This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the the Artistic License (2.0). A copy of the full license is provided by the LICENSE file in this distribution and can be obtained at SEE ALSO * Plack::App::CGIBin * CGI::Compile * Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::Request * Plack::App::CGIBin::Streaming::IO