I would suggest thinking about moving away from CGI for a large
project. There are a number of good "templating" tools that allow you
to divide a web application up into sets of "components", each of
which can contain HTML, Perl or both.
Our business is building very large web systems, and we use HTML::Mason on every project. Mason is
stable, clean and has a number of nice features such as the ability to
selectively/flexibly cache components/pages. But most importantly,
using Mason doesn't limit your ability to write as much complex Perl
code as you want. Anything you can do in a standalone program, you can
do in a Mason component. And you can (and should) abstract out core
logic into app-specific modules and 'use' them from your various Mason
pieces. For big projects, this "embedded perl" approach almost always
ends up being a much more efficient way to do development than the
"shortcut-to-HTML" approach that CGI relies on.
As far as "engines" go, you might want to look at the platform we
developed over the course of the last couple of years: XML::Comma. Comma allows you to
model all of the bits and pieces of "information" that your app uses
as "documents," which can then be manipulated, stored in the
filesystem, broken apart and stored in databases, transferred across
the network, etc through a single API. If you tend to design
applications using "quasi-hooks" and run-time dispatching, you'll
probably love Comma. Most every part of the "life-cycle" of a Comma
doc is hookable.
We started out two years ago to build a temporary, XML+Perl
platform that we could use until the various critical XML specs came
together. At some point, we realized that even when XSLT and friends
become fully usable, we'll still need a more job-specific framework
for the kind of work we do. So we've continued to
rewrite/develop/extend that original platform. Last month, I finally finished a
guide to Comma, and now we're looking forward to
seeing whether this stuff is as useful to other folks as it is to
Having made a plug for the code I work on every day, I would like
to say that every project is different, and every developer is
too. You might also want to take a look at OpenInteract and AxKit. TMTOWTDI.
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