Having fun with some modern web technologies

Edit: MojoCMS has been renamed to Galileo and released to CPAN. Enjoy!

Over the holiday break, I decided to have a little fun learning some things about the web. I usually get my Perl fix through science, but several upcoming projects might have some web involvement; so I thought I should brush up. The following are some reflections on that experience.

The task I set myself was to make a micro CMS (it is currently named MojoCMS, but I’m not sure I like that), leaving most of the heavy lifting to freely available Javascript libraries. I didn’t think I would be especially good at writing the actual interface, but rather the routing and functionality would be my task. In a strange way, the result was a kind of nostalgic Perl experience; Perl was the glue in my project again, not the main/only language involved.

I used several great libraries, jQuery of course, jQuery-UI for a small part, HumaneJS for notifications (works great for websocket responses!) and PageDown for a real-time markdown renderer. FYI, PageDown is the editor from the StackOverflow team. These projects make life much easier, I can’t imagine writing that kind of Javascript by hand!

I must say, Javascript still eludes me. I can parrot it, but I’m sure I’m not doing it correctly. I think the problem lies with its dependence on the HTML/browser that is running it; the odd way that the language doesn’t have a use command, and that “page”-globals can be used, still feels odd. I can definitely see the need for jQuery, but that adds even further cognitive dissonance. Anyway, I think most of this is my shortcoming, not its.

HTML5/CSS3 on the other hand is brilliant. Its easy to make the markup do what you mean without too many machinations. Of course I pull in some libraries for that too, namely Bootstrap.

Back to the Perl of it though, I must say I have high marks for Mojolicious, for many reasons, but the highest are for Websockets! Now I know Mojolicious didn’t invent them, but it makes them easy. Using Websockets I was able to make the “save page” and “update main nav” windows save without reloading. That was rather cute and feels modern.

The biggest point I want to make (long ramblings aside) is my most recent addition: DBIx::Class. I’m a scientist, not a database admin. I have setup some PHP CMSes and have used mysql just enough to get them started; terrified the entire time. So much so that I started my CMS project with the idea of using DBM::Deep for as long as possible. Soon enough though, I was nesting hash-keys three deep and wishing I had objects; if I hadn’t needed persistence I would have reached for Moose long before.

I investigated KiokuDB, and while I had some hope for it, I think I would need someone sitting in on the setup process with me. Then I remembered, throughout YAPC::NA along with the list of my favorite Modern Perl modules, everyone else adds DBIx::Class. Ok they can’t all be wrong. They weren’t. Sure the syntax is a little different from Moose, but its not that hard. The payoff for me started even before running the site, in the deploy command. With a simple script I can create all the necessary tables and inject sample content without ever needing to write SQL! After this the ORM quickly and easily replaced the DBM::Deep vestiges throughout the code, and just like that I have readable, OO structures for users, pages and the menu configuration.

Anyway, if anyone wants to play with MojoCMS (or suggest a better name!) feel free. It is still very rough but I may try to see it forward a little further. Passwords are stored in the clear for now, so be careful! But this is my next task. After that and some other work on users (like being able add them through the website!) the thing might even be able to host a small site. Not bad for a one-week side project!


Soon enough though, I was nesting hash-keys three deep and wishing I had objects; if I hadn’t needed persistence I would have reached for Moose long before.

I’m curious - DBM::Deep has always supported persisting objects. In fact, I’m pretty sure it supports persisting Moose-y objects out of the box. Did you try it?

That said, DBIx::Class is definitely the way to go in the Perl world. Glad to see you’re enjoying things.

404 on the ‘deploy’ link….

I see the MojoCMS name is being used by a Python application at


Could you point me to another URL? I’m getting a 404 on the one in this post. Thanks.

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About Joel Berger

user-pic As I delve into the deeper Perl magic I like to share what I can.