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When is a module too minimal?

by Cody Pendant (Prior)
on Jul 19, 2006 at 11:04 UTC ( #562254=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I've been converting a script to a module, and of course, that means removing complexity from the script and putting it into the module. The module will have run modes like CGI::Application.

But the way I'm going, the entire script could look like this:

use MyModule; $myobject = MyModule->new( lots_of_config => 'goes here' # etc etc etc ); $myobject->go();

and the object would just figure out what mode it was in from the query string and do ... everything. The object will have its own CGI object, its own HTML::Template object and so on.

For some reason that kind of feels weird to me. When is a module too minimal? When should some of the complexity remain in the script?

($_='kkvvttuu bbooppuuiiffss qqffssmm iibbddllffss')
=~y~b-v~a-z~s; print

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Re: When is a module too minimal?
by hv (Parson) on Jul 19, 2006 at 11:18 UTC

    Your question seems rather to be "when is a script too minimal?" If the content of the module is sensible, then I have no problem with an entire script looking like:

    use MyModule; MyModule->go;

    I see no reason why you'd want to require that a script show some minimum complexity.

    The key though is that the module should not just be a dumping ground for the stuff in the script - it should follow the normal principles of module design, so that each method/function should perform a single clearly defined function that is wll described by its name, and the collection of methods should be related to each other in a way clearly encapsulated by the module name.

    If the module does what it should, and if one of its methods does everything the script wants and needs, then that's an ideal situation.


Re: When is a module too minimal?
by gellyfish (Monsignor) on Jul 19, 2006 at 11:15 UTC

    To me that is perfectly fine, there's a lot of software which is a tiny driver program over some library. You probably do want to consider whether you want a single or multiple modules though: separating presentation, application and business logic makes reuse of the components easier.


Re: When is a module too minimal?
by rodion (Chaplain) on Jul 19, 2006 at 12:19 UTC
    So, as hv suggests, you're asking when does the Module do so much that the script is too minimal.

    I agree with him that a script which has nothing in it but a single call to a module is fine, as is one that just has config info. However, I think your intuition that someting is odd might be coming from another source. You're putting code in the module so it they can be used in more than once. The things that are different from case to case aren't code, however, they are data. Thus the task could also be organized as a single script which selects among configuration as one of its actions. It could take the config data from a hash in the script, a singele config file with sections to choose from, or a set of distinct config files.

    In that model, you put the code at the top level of attention, with the config below it. That may be clearer, or it may not, and that's one of the choices you make in deciding what "simple" means in this case and it's context. Putting the config info conceptually below the code is an organization worth considering (and maybe rejecting), but I think that's what's tugging at the intuitions in the back of your head.

Re: When is a module too minimal?
by philcrow (Priest) on Jul 19, 2006 at 12:42 UTC
    I don't just think it's OK to have a trivial driver, I think it is the goal. See for example pod2html. The one installed with my Perl is 144 lines. Of those, 137 are POD and 2 others are blank.

    By carefully factoring code out of the script into modules, you allow other script and module authors to leverage your code. If you leave everything (or anything) in the script reuse becomes harder, especially if you don't use many subs.

    I think of a the ideal script as a mapper between command line arguments and one or more modules (not that I always achieve the ideal).


Re: When is a module too minimal?
by Ieronim (Friar) on Jul 19, 2006 at 13:03 UTC
    IMHO the main aim of modular programming is code reusage. It means that you put to the module any code that can be used more than once, and put to the script any code that cannot be re-used.

    But TIMTOWTDI. Nobody can prevent you from writing a "Hello world" script in the way like this:

    #in the file Acme/ package Acme::HelloWorld; use warnings; use strict; sub new {my $class = shift; bless {}, $class } sub helloworld { print "Hello world!\n" } 1; #in the file use Acme::HelloWorld; my $h = Acme::HelloWorld->new(); $h->helloworld();

    And CGI::Application enforces you to do such things. There is nothing bad in such a way—the worst thing about it is that the executable file does not contain any information about what it really does :)

    I don't know your certain case. IMHO if you can do different things (e.g. create different HTML pages for different projects) by modifying only 'config' lines in your script—it's good. Your script is simple enough and your module is complicated enough to fulfil your needs. If you can create only one certain page—there is nothing bad in it, as the page is finally created and from this point of view there is no difference how did you produce it.

         s;;Just-me-not-h-Ni-m-P-Ni-lm-I-ar-O-Ni;;tr?IerONim-?HAcker ?d;print
Re: When is a module too minimal?
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Jul 19, 2006 at 13:56 UTC

    As noted, there's nothing wrong with what you've done. Here's a bit more for you to think about.

    You've written a class with one constructor and one method. A class has a dual role. First, it must provide everything it needs to provide. That is to say, it must be "complete" and that tends to increase its size. However, a class is also frequently an element of code reuse and then it should be as small as possible. Thus, you have competing pressures on the classes and this can cause difficulties with design.

    If you have a small class which does everything you need to do, you really don't have as much worry about that competing pressure and this is a good thing. And if you're really, really crazy, you can read a bit more about the problem and strengths and weaknesses of various solutions to it.


    New address of my CGI Course.

Re: When is a module too minimal?
by Fletch (Chancellor) on Jul 19, 2006 at 12:15 UTC
    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.
    –Albert Einstein
Re: When is a module too minimal?
by Arunbear (Parson) on Jul 19, 2006 at 21:17 UTC
    ... and the object would just figure out what mode it was in from the query string and do ... everything. The object will have its own CGI object, its own HTML::Template object and so on.
    Are you are converting a CGI script into a module? If so why not just use CGI::Application i.e. why do you have start from scratch?
Re: When is a module too minimal?
by bsb (Priest) on Jul 20, 2006 at 02:30 UTC

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[LanX]: (not a high priority bug because I can use some HTML entities in the second string)
[Corion]: base64 is padded to a multiple of 4 chars (or something)
[LanX]: misunderstanding, I joined them before converting to base64
[Corion]: Also, I would be wary of encodings and try to make really sure that both input strings are UTF-8. Maybe join the input strings from one source together to see whether they decode as bad or not
[Corion]: LanX: Then the problem should persist without encoding to base64 too ;)
[LanX]: I think it's a flag problem ... I'll produce a reprodocable example for SOPW
[Corion]: "flag problem" to me sounds like "contains UTF-8 bytes but was never properly decoded to an UTF-8 string"
[LanX]: not my code ...
[choroba]: yeah, sounds like one of the strings is not flagged as UTF-8
[choroba]: which usually means its input wasn't handled correctly

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