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January 21, 2004

"Perl Template Toolkit": Scalable Templating for the Web

Sebastopol, CA--Among the many different approaches to "templating" with Perl--such as Embperl, Mason, HTML::Template, and hundreds of other lesser known systems--the Template Toolkit is widely recognized as one of the most versatile. Like other templating systems, the Template Toolkit allows programmers to embed Perl code and custom macros into HTML documents in order to create customized documents on the fly. But unlike the others, the Template Toolkit can produce PDF, XML, or any other output format as easily as it produces HTML. And because it has its own simple templating language, templates can be written and edited by people who don't know Perl. In short, the Template Toolkit combines the best features of its competitors with ease-of-use and flexibility, resulting in a technology that's fast, powerful and extensible, and ideally suited to the production and maintenance of web content and other dynamic document systems.

Perl Template Toolkit (O'Reilly, US $39.95) by Darren Chamberlain, David Cross, and Andy Wardley is the first book to provide detailed coverage of this popular technology. As coauthor Darren Chamberlain notes, "Most of the available documentation on the Template Toolkit is just that: documentation. There are very few tutorials or long-running examples available, which means that people have to piece things together. With a system as complex as the Template Toolkit, there are invariably gotchas and tricks, but up until now, information about these has been available only in the mailing list archives."

In Perl Template Toolkit readers learn how to build web sites and other dynamic document systems in such a way that they can be updated, modified, and re-branded quickly and easily. Written by core members of the technology's development team, the book moves through the entire process of installing, configuring, using, and extending the Template Toolkit.

The book begins with a fast-paced but thorough tutorial on building web content with the Template Toolkit, and then walks readers through the process of generating and using data files, particularly with XML. It also provides detailed information on the Template Toolkit's modules, libraries, and tools in addition to a complete reference manual. Readers will learn to:

  • Write templates in simple template language
  • Populate templates from Perl scripts of the command line
  • Design applications around templates to simplify development and maintenance
  • Incorporate templates into CGI scripts or mod_perl applications
  • Use databases and XML with and from templates
  • Use the standard plug-ins that ship with the Template Toolkit and write custom plug-ins
  • Use template filters for reusable postprocessing
  • Create "skins" for web sites
  • The Perl Template Toolkit is essential reading for any Perl programmer who wants to create dynamic web content that is remarkably easy to maintain. This book is a surefire guide to implementing this fast, flexible, and powerful templating system.

    Additional Resources:

    Perl Template Toolkit
    Darren Chamberlain, David Cross, and Andy Wardley
    ISBN 0-596-00476-1, 574 pages, $39.95 US, $57.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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