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Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason Paperback – 26 Oct 2002

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (26 Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596002254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596002251
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 644,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

is a programmer, author, and activist with a background in music composition and an obsession with Hong Kong films and the works of author Gene Wolfe. He has been actively developing Free (Perl) Software for several years and is a member of the Mason core development team. For more information about Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason please visit, a web site maintained by the authors where additional information and downloadable source code are available.

is a researcher in Document Categorization at the University of Sydney in Australia. He has written many Perl modules of varying utility, about 20 of which are available on CPAN. Like co-author Dave Rolsky, Ken is a member of the HTML::Mason core development team. His educational background is in mathematics and music. For more information about Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason please visit, a web site maintained by the authors where additional information and downloadable source code are available.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER 5 - Advanced Features

In the previous chapters you have been introduced to the basic features of Mason, and you should have a fairly good idea by now of how you might actually go about constructing a dynamic web site from Mason components. You have seen a few of Mason ’s unique features, such as the autohandler mechanism, the dhandler mechanism, and the ability to pass arbitrary data between components. In this chapter we’ll go beyond the basics and learn more about advanced ways to use Mason components to design large dynamic sites. You’ll learn how to define multiple components in the same text file, how to create components on the fly from Perl strings, how to manage multiple component root directories, and (finally!)how to use all of Mason’s object-oriented features.

Although we often imagine a one-to-one correspondence between text files and Mason components, it is actually possible to define multiple components in a single text file. This is achieved by using a block, a special Mason directive that defines one component from within another. The component embedded within the block is called a subcomponent, and it is visible only to the component within which it resides:component A may not access component B ’s subcomponents directly.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm an experienced programmer and web developer and a great fan of the O'Reilly series, so I picked up this book expecting good things. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
The book's structure and style do not provide a useful introduction to Mason for the beginner, nor is the book an easy-to-use reference when starting out; rather than helping inexperienced users avoid obstacles, it actually presents more. Unravelling the book is the greatest task I've faced yet in learning Perl and Mason. One particular problem I encountered was the introduction of seemingly random syntax and phrases (and standards) which are only explained four chapters later; the "cook-book quick start" approach is unfriendly, and confusing. Unnecessary complexity abounds from the very first pages, and the examples are bizarre and stumbling.
Overall, while this book might be a useful reference (a la Nutshell) for people who already know Mason, it completely failes to deliver on what it should; a comprehensive, easy-to-follow introduction for developers new to the subject.
A useful book if you know Mason, but otherwise only buy it if you like the pretty aqua colour of the spine.
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Format: Paperback
I am surprised that the previous review has gone unchallenged for so long. Mason is an wonderful piece of software that is used by intelligent programemers to deliver large yet elegant web solutions (for example, uses mason). This book, written by the creators of Mason, book is a perfect introduction and reference.
I have been using Mason professionaly for three years, and this is the only book I ever needed. Mason has a thriving community and pretty much all of them would agree.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get me to the edge.... 11 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am using Mason for about a year. Then I saw the Mason book. My first tought was: "Why should I buy a book about Mason - The online documentation is excellent...?".
But even the introduction chapters of this book gives you new ideas how to get things done. Starting with the second half of chapter 4 every Masonsite developer should take a close look. He will find a in deep discussion about every Mason feature - and more (e.g. The Bricolage-CMS-Appendix).
I my opinion there is no discussion "to buy or not to buy" this book. The only question is "when".
On the one hand this book can be a bit boring for "new" Mason user and as mentioned before the online documentation is very good. On the other hand if you have your first mason-site done and read this book you will have very likely the urgent desire to rewrite some code.
But this is a common perl problem: "There are many ways to get things done."
I dislike the "Example" chapter. One of the big advantages of Mason is the possibility to seperate perl-code and HTML. This ist not very well done within the example-site.
Conclusion: This book is not needed to get in touch with Mason althought usefull - but if you are really starting to deploy a site I strongly recommend this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much More Than a Reference 5 Dec. 2002
By Jason D. Underdown - Published on
Format: Paperback
Far from being just a reference, this book explains the conceptual framework behind Mason. The main idea of which is creating reusable components or building blocks to generate each element of your web site. This simple but powerful idiom is extremely useful in creating both small and very large dynamic web sites.
The book is aimed at intermediate to advanced Perl programmers, although a bright beginner could pick the material up with a little help from the Mason community's very helpful mailing list. This book is not a tutorial. Instead, the authors devote a long chapter (chapter 8) to the analysis of a fully functional web app with full source code. I preferred this approach however because it helped me focus on the application as a whole rather than silly pedantic examples that lack context.
Before reading this book, I had some experience working on a site that used a "home-brewed" templating system, but all the while I knew there had to be a better way. After reading through the first four chapters, I was able to build a rather sophisticated site and have been quite pleased with both Mason and this book. I fully recommend it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book 5 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
From the standpoint of a person who knows Perl and Apache pretty well, I have to say this book is all I needed to get going with HTML::Mason. There are excellent online docs for Mason, there are places Mason fits better (and worse), and there are viable alternatives to Mason. This book covers that ground right off the bat, and I like that.
I was able to configure a couple servers, write up some test components, throw together some quick admin tools, and remake a custom database web app in a very short time using Mason and this book. It may not be for you if you are new to Perl or Apache, but I think Amazon has a wide selection of books available on both of these topics. Buy 'em, read 'em, then get this one.
I highly recommend it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thorough and interesting 5 Aug. 2007
By Ricardo Signes - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've worked on enough PHP and other lousy web code to have cringed when I read the title of this book: Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason. "No!" I cried, "don't cross the streams!" By the end of the book, I was feeling much more at ease (but I still cringe a little at that title).Mason is (though it seems debated) a cross between a lightweight application server and a very lightweight templating system. Requests go into Mason, which dispatches them to handlers and produces a response. The handlers and dispatch are simple but powerful: they use ideas object-oriented programming and allow the programmer to easily abstract and reuse code parts.

It seems like a very powerful system, but its programmer-facing interface is fairly simple. The book walked through all the basic Mason concepts (request, autohandlers, dhandlers, components, methods, etc.) quickly, but with sufficient explanation and demonstration to make everything clear. Chapter 8 walked through the construction of a web and database application, using all the major features covered so far. The features had already been so clearly explained that I felt comfortable just skimming through the chapter.

After that, the book began to cover some more esoteric concepts. Mason is made up of a number of classes: an interpreter, a lexer, a compiler, and a resolver. A programmer can write his own class to implement any of these components, changing the system to suit his whims.At the end of all this, I felt like I could really make Mason do a lot of cool things, and that it was a nice-sized solution for a lot of problems. (I still don't see myself actually /using/ Mason for anything, but now I know it's not so bad, and I know how to use it.) The book was well-written, had the right amount of depth, and was the right length for end-to-end reading. I'm glad I read it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for every Mason user 5 Dec. 2002
By Tobias Kremer - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a longtime mason user (2 years, private and commercial use) I didn't have to think about buying this book. Dave Rolsky and Ken Williams, both core developers, introduce you to the concepts behind HTML::Mason and its many features which really make the life of a web developer way easier.... Even if you're already familiar with mason this book will serve you as an excellent reference. If you haven't heard of mason yet and you're into web development and Perl is your language of choice you should also definitely have a look at this book and mason in general.
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