emk, rx, swak: tying it all together

At long last, I’ve begun really tying together a number of things all meant to be used together. So far, it’s been a huge success and I’m really happy with it. They are:

EMK is something of a templating system for whole MIME messages. I wrote about EMK before, explaining why it’s useful and how it works and how I tried to avoid being just another templating system.

Rx is an extensible cross-language data validation system. It’s extensible and easy to use in many places. I’ve written a bit about it already, and I’ll probably write more as it gets better in the future.

Path::Resolver is not a dispatcher. I mention this only because a few of the other guys in #moose have been working on Path::Dispatcher and Path::Router, which are dispatchers, and I am not working on that problem. Instead, this is more of a generic form of HTML::Mason::Resolver. You give it something that looks like a path and, if it can find it, it hands you back the content of the entity at that path. The gimmick is that you can write resolvers that look at things other than the filesystem. I’d always thought of Mason’s facility for pluggable resolvers as sort of cute until Dieter wrote MasonX::Resolver::WidgetFactory and let us use HTML::Widget::Factory objects as if they were paths. It’s pretty amazingly useful.

Path::Resolver comes with routines for looking in directories, File::ShareDir installs, tar files, DATA sections, and (of course) the actual filesystem. It needs work, but it works for what I need.

EMK SWAK ties EMK and Path::Resolver together and EMK Rx does the same for EMK and Rx. Now I can write a manifest like this:

kit_reader: SWAK
renderer: TT
- Rx
- combine: all
  path: /dist/Pobox/rx/system-message.json
    type: //rec
    rest: //any
      account: { type: /perl/obj, isa: Pobox::Account }
      invoice: { type: /poboxrpc/invoice }
  - type: text/plain
    path: body.txt
  - type: text/html
    path: body.html
  - type: application/pdf
    body: "[% invoice.as_pdf %]"

This is exciting, for me, for a few reasons. For one thing, it’s nice to see the code I wrote getting more and more practical use without revealing some secret and horrible design flaw. (I guess I’ll have to wait until later for that.) For another, as more things are stored in YAML or JSON rather than code, it means that more people can make changes to our system without touching the Perl.

The biggest todo left on the table is improving Data::Rx’s error reporting. I’m not looking forward to doing it, but I’m looking forward to it being done.

Written on March 10, 2009
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