May 26, 2018

High-performance, dynamic web site authoring system

Mason is a tool for building, serving and managing large web sites. Its features make it an ideal backend for high load sites serving dynamic content, such as online newspapers or database driven e-commerce sites.

Mason’s various pieces revolve around the notion of “components”. A component is a mix of HTML, Perl, and special Mason commands, one component per file. So-called “top-level” components represent entire web-pages, while smaller components typically return HTML snippets for embedding in top-level components. This object-like architecture greatly simplifies site maintenance change a shared component, and you instantly changed all dependant pages that refer to it across a site or across many virtual sites.

Mason’s component syntax lets designers separate a web page into programmatic and design elements. This means the esoteric Perl bits can be hidden near the bottom of a component, preloading simple variables for use above in the HTML. In our own experience, this frees content managers i.e., non-programmers to work on the layout without getting mired in programming details. Techies, however, still enjoy the full power of Perl.

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