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Template::Manual::InteUsersContributed Perl DocuTemplate::Manual::Internals(3)

       Template::Manual::Internals - Template Toolkit internals

       This section of the documentation is aimed at developers	wishing	to
       know more about how the Template	Toolkit	works on the inside in order
       to extend or adapt it to	their own needs.

       If that doesn't sound like you then you probably	don't need to read
       this.  There is no test afterwards.

Outside	Looking	In
       The Template module is simply a front end module	which creates and uses
       a Template::Service and pipes the output	wherever you want it to	go
       ("STDOUT" by default, or	maybe a	file, scalar, etc).  The
       "Apache::Template" module (available separately from CPAN) is another
       front end.  That	creates	a "Template::Service::Apache" object, calls on
       it as required and sends	the output back	to the relevant
       "Apache::Request" object.

       These front-end modules are really only there to	handle any specifics
       of the environment in which they're being used.	The "Apache::Template"
       front end, for example, handles "Apache::Request" specifics and
       configuration via the httpd.conf.  The regular Template front-end deals
       with "STDOUT", variable refs, etc.  Otherwise it	is Template::Service
       (or subclass) which does	all the	work.

       The Template::Service module provides a high-quality template delivery
       service,	with bells, whistles, signed up	service	level agreement	and a
       30-day no quibble money back guarantee.	"Have a	good time, all the
       time", that's our motto.

       Within the lower	levels of the Template Toolkit,	there are lots of
       messy details that we generally don't want to have to worry about most
       of the time.  Things like templates not being found, or failing to
       parse correctly,	uncaught exceptions being thrown, missing plugin
       modules or dependencies,	and so on.  Template::Service hides that all
       away and	makes everything look simple to	the outsider. It provides
       extra features, like "PRE_PROCESS", "PROCESS" and "POST_PROCESS", and
       also provides the error recovery	mechanism via "ERROR".	You ask	it to
       process a template and it takes care of everything for you. The
       "Template::Service::Apache" module goes a little	bit further, adding
       some extra headers to the Apache::Request, setting a few	extra template
       variables, and so on.

       For the most part, the job of a service is really just one of
       scheduling and dispatching. It receives a request in the	form of	a call
       to its process()	method and schedules the named template	specified as
       an argument, and	possibly several other templates ("PRE_PROCESS", etc)
       to be processed in order. It doesn't actually process the templates
       itself, but instead makes a process() call against a Template::Context

       Template::Context is the	runtime	engine for the Template	Toolkit	- the
       module that hangs everything together in	the lower levels of the
       Template	Toolkit	and that one that does most of the real	work, albeit
       by crafty delegation to various other friendly helper modules.

       Given a template	name (or perhaps a reference to	a scalar or file
       handle) the context process() method must load and compile, or fetch a
       cached copy of a	previously compiled template, corresponding to that
       name.  It does this by calling on a list	of one or more
       Template::Provider objects (the "LOAD_TEMPLATES"	posse) who themselves
       might get involved with a Template::Parser to help turn source
       templates into executable Perl code (but	more on	that later).

       Thankfully, all of this complexity is hidden away behind	a simple
       template() method. You call it passing a	template name as an argument,
       and it returns a	compiled template in the form of a Template::Document
       object, or otherwise raises an exception.

       A Template::Document is a thin object wrapper around a compiled
       template	subroutine. The	object implements a process() method which
       performs	a little bit of	housekeeping and then calls the	template
       subroutine. The object also defines template metadata (defined in "[%
       META ...	%]" directives)	and has	a block() method which returns a hash
       of any additional "[% BLOCK xxxx	%]" definitions	found in the template

       So the context fetches a	compiled document via its own template()
       method and then gets ready to process it. It first updates the stash
       (the place where	template variables get defined - more on that shortly)
       to set any template variable definitions	specified as the second
       argument	by reference to	hash array. Then, it calls the document
       process() method, passing a reference to	itself,	the context object, as
       an argument. In doing this, it provides itself as an object against
       which template code can make callbacks to access	runtime	resources and
       Template	Toolkit	functionality.

       What we're trying to say	here is	this:  not only	does the
       Template::Context object	receive	calls from the outside,	i.e. those
       originating in user code	calling	the process() method on	a Template
       object, but it also receives calls from the inside, i.e.	those
       originating in template directives of the form "[% PROCESS template

       Before we move on to that, here's a simple structure diagram showing
       the outer layers	of the Template	Toolkit	heading	inwards, with pseudo
       code annotations	showing	a typical invocation sequence.

	    | Caller |	   use Template;
	    `--------'	   my $tt = Template->new( ... );
		 |	   $tt->process($template, \%vars);
		 |						       Outside
	   - - - | - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - T T
		 |	   package Template;				Inside
	   +----------+	   sub process($template, \%vars) {
	   | Template |	       $out = $self->SERVICE->process($template, $vars);
	   +----------+	       print $out or send it to	$self->OUTPUT;
		 |	   }
		 |	   package Template::Service;
		 |	   sub process($template, \%vars) {
		 |	       try {
	   +----------+		   foreach $p in @self->PRE_PROCESS
	   | Service  |		       $self->CONTEXT->process($p, $vars);
		 |		   $self->CONTEXT->process($template, $vars);
		 |		   foreach $p @self->POST_PROCESS
		 |		       $self->CONTEXT->process($p, $vars);
		 |	       }
		 |	       catch {
		 |		   $self->CONTEXT->process($self->ERROR);
		 |	       }
		 |	   }
		 V	   package Template::Context;
	   | Context  |	   sub process($template, \%vars) {
	   +----------+	       # fetch compiled	template
		 |	       $template = $self->template($template)
		 |	       # update	stash
		 |	       $self->STASH->update($vars);
		 |	       # process template
		 |	       $template->process($self)
		 |	   }
	   +----------+	   package Template::Document;
	   | Document |
	   +----------+	   sub process($context) {
			       $output = &{ $self->BLOCK }($context);

Inside Looking Out
       To understand more about	what's going on	in these lower levels, we need
       to look at what a compiled template looks like.	In fact, a compiled
       template	is just	a regular Perl sub-routine.  Here's a very simple one.

	   sub my_compiled_template {
	       return "This is a compiled template.\n";

       You're unlikely to see a	compiled template this simple unless you wrote
       it yourself but it is entirely valid.  All a template subroutine	is
       obliged to do is	return some output (which may be an empty of course).
       If it can't for some reason, then it should raise an error via "die()".

	   sub my_todo_template	{
	       die "This template not yet implemented\n";

       If it wants to get fancy, it can	raise an error as a
       Template::Exception object.  An exception object	is really just a
       convenient wrapper for the '"type"' and '"info"'	fields.

	   sub my_solilique_template {
	       die (Template::Exception->new('yorrick',	'Fellow	of infinite jest'));

       Templates generally need	to do a	lot more than just generate static
       output or raise errors. They may	want to	inspect	variable values,
       process another template, load a	plugin,	run a filter, and so on.
       Whenever	a template subroutine is called, it gets passed	a reference to
       a Template::Context object. It is through this context object that
       template	code can access	the features of	the Template Toolkit.

       We described earlier how	the Template::Service object calls on
       Template::Context to handle a process() request from the	outside. We
       can make	a similar request on a context to process a template, but from
       within the code of another template. This is a call from	the inside.

	   sub my_process_template {
	       my $context = shift;
	       my $output = $context->process('header',	{ title	=> 'Hello World' })
			  . "\nsome content\n"
			  . $context->process('footer');

       This is then roughly equivalent to a source template something like

	   [% PROCESS header
	       title = 'Hello World'
	   some	content
	   [% PROCESS footer %]

       Template	variables are stored in, and managed by	a Template::Stash
       object.	This is	a blessed hash array in	which template variables are
       defined.	The object wrapper provides get() and set() method which
       implement all the magical.variable.features of the Template Toolkit.

       Each context object has its own stash, a	reference to which can be
       returned	by the appropriately named stash() method. So to print the
       value of	some template variable,	or for example,	to represent the
       following source	template:

	   <title>[% title %]</title>

       we might	have a subroutine definition something like this:

	   sub {
	       my $context = shift;
	       my $stash = $context->stash();
	       return '<title>'	. $stash->get('title') . '</title>';

       The stash get() method hides the	details	of the underlying variable
       types, automatically calling code references, checking return values,
       and performing other such tricks. If '"title"' happens to be bound to a
       subroutine then we can specify additional parameters as a list
       reference passed	as the second argument to get().

	   [% title('The Cat Sat on the	Mat') %]

       This translates to the stash call:

	   $stash->get([ 'title', ['The	Cat Sat	on the Mat'] ]);

       Dotted compound variables can be	requested by passing a single list
       reference to the	"get()"	method in place	of the variable	name.  Each
       pair of elements	in the list should correspond to the variable name and
       reference to a list of arguments	for each dot-delimited element of the

	   [% foo(1, 2).bar(3, 4).baz(5) %]

       is thus equivalent to

	   $stash->get([ foo =>	[1,2], bar => [3,4], baz => [5]	]);

       If there	aren't any arguments for an element, you can specify an	empty,
       zero or null argument list.

	   [% %]
	   $stash->get([ 'foo',	0, 'bar', 0 ]);

       The set() method	works in a similar way.	It takes a variable name and a
       variable	value which should be assigned to it.

	   [% x	= 10 %]
	   $stash->set('x', 10);

	   [% x.y = 10 %]
	   $stash->set([ 'x', 0, 'y', 0	], 10);

       So the stash gives us access to template	variables and the context
       provides	the higher level functionality.

       Alongside the process() method lies the include() method. Just as with
       the "PROCESS" / "INCLUDE" directives, the key difference	is in variable
       localisation. Before processing a template, the "process()" method
       simply updates the stash	to set any new variable	definitions,
       overwriting any existing	values.	In contrast, the "include()" method
       creates a copy of the existing stash, in	a process known	as cloning the
       stash, and then uses that as a temporary	variable store.	Any previously
       existing	variables are still defined, but any changes made to
       variables, including setting the	new variable values passed aas
       arguments will affect only the local copy of the	stash (although	note
       that it's only a	shallow	copy, so it's not foolproof). When the
       template	has been processed, the	"include()" method restores the
       previous	variable state by decloning the	stash.

       The context also	provides an insert() method to implement the "INSERT"
       directive, but no "wrapper()" method. This functionality	can be
       implemented by rewriting	the Perl code and calling "include()".

	   [% WRAPPER foo -%]
	      blah blah	[% x %]
	   [%- END %]

	   $context->include('foo', {
	       content => 'blah	blah ' . $stash->get('x'),

       Other than the template processing methods "process()", "include()" and
       "insert()", the context defines methods for fetching plugin objects,
       plugin(), and filters, filter().

	   # TT	USE directive
	   [% USE foo =	Bar(10)	%]

	   # equivalent	Perl
	   $stash->set('foo', $context->plugin('Bar', [10]));

	   # TT	FILTER block
	   [% FILTER bar(20) %]
	      blah blah	blah
	   [% END %]

	   # equivalent	Perl
	   my $filter =	$context->filter('bar',	[20]);
	   &$filter('blah blah blah');

       Pretty much everything else you might want to do	in a template can be
       done in Perl code. Things like "IF", "UNLESS", "FOREACH"	and so on all
       have direct counterparts	in Perl.

	   # TT	IF directive
	   [% IF msg %]
	      Message: [% msg %]
	   [% END %];

	   # equivalent	Perl
	   if ($stash->get('msg')) {
	       $output .=  'Message: ';
	       $output .= $stash->get('msg');

       The best	way to get a better understanding of what's going on
       underneath the hood is to set the $Template::Parser::DEBUG flag to a
       true value and start processing templates.  This	will cause the parser
       to print	the generated Perl code	for each template it compiles to
       "STDERR".  You'll probably also want to set the
       $Template::Directive::PRETTY option to have the Perl pretty-printed for
       human consumption.

	   use Template;
	   use Template::Parser;
	   use Template::Directive;

	   $Template::Parser::DEBUG = 1;
	   $Template::Directive::PRETTY	= 1;

	   my $template	= Template->new();
	   $template->process(\*DATA, {	cat => 'dog', mat => 'log' });

	   The [% cat %] sat on	the [% mat %]

       The output sent to "STDOUT" remains as you would	expect:

	   The dog sat on the log

       The output sent to "STDERR" would look something	like this:

	   compiled main template document block:
	   sub {
	       my $context = shift || die "template sub	called without context\n";
	       my $stash   = $context->stash;
	       my $output  = '';
	       my $error;

	       eval { BLOCK: {
		   $output .=  "The ";
		   $output .=  $stash->get('cat');
		   $output .=  " sat on	the ";
		   $output .=  $stash->get('mat');
		   $output .=  "\n";
	       } };
	       if ($@) {
		   $error = $context->catch($@,	\$output);
		   die $error unless $error->type eq 'return';

	       return $output;

Hacking	on the Template	Toolkit
       Please feel free	to hack	on the Template	Toolkit.  If you find a	bug
       that needs fixing, if you have an idea for something that's missing, or
       you feel	inclined to tackle something on	the TODO list, then by all
       means go	ahead and do it!

       If you're contemplating something non-trivial then you'll probably want
       to bring	it up on the mailing list first	to get an idea about the
       current state of	play, find out if anyone's already working on it, and
       so on.

       The source code repository for the Template Toolkit is hosted at

       Clone the repository, make your changes,	commit them, then send a pull

       Once you've made	your changes, please remember to update	the test suite
       by adding extra tests to	one of the existing test scripts in the	"t"
       sub-directory, or by adding a new test script of	your own.  And of
       course, run "make test" to ensure that all the tests pass with your new

       Don't forget that any files you do add will need	to be added to the
       MANIFEST.  Running "make	manifest" will do this for you,	but you	need
       to make sure you	haven't	got any	other temporary	files lying around
       that might also get added to it.

       Documentation is	often something	that gets overlooked but it's just as
       important as the	code. If you're	adding a new module, a plugin module,
       for example, then it's OK to include the	POD documentation in with the
       module, but please write	it all in one piece at the end of the file,
       after the code (just look at any	other "Template::*" module for an
       example). It's a	religious issue, I know, but I have a strong distaste
       for POD documentation interspersed throughout the code. In my not-so-
       humble opinion, it makes	both the code and the documentation harder to
       read (same kinda	problem	as embedding Perl in HTML).

       Then add	a line to the Changes file giving a very brief description of
       what you've done.  There's no need to go	into detail here (save that
       for the commit message, comments	in code	or docuemtation	where

       Please also make	sure you add your name to the
       lib/Template/Manual/Credits.pod file (if	it isn't already there).

       Then commit your	changes	and send a pull	request.

perl v5.32.1			  2019-01-04	Template::Manual::Internals(3)

NAME | Introduction | Outside Looking In | Inside Looking Out | Hacking on the Template Toolkit

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