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Any WebmasterWorld folks using the Catalyst Framework?

perl catalyst framework

4:11 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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In an attempt to spur a little Perl discussion, I wanted to see if any WebmasterWorld folks were using or had tried to use the Catalyst MVC framework. I've been playing around with it in my spare time for a few months now, and while the learning curve has been rather steep for some parts, I am starting to see how handy it can be once you get the hang of it. If you don't have previous experience with Moose, Template::Toolkit, DBIx::Class, or FormBuilder, it can be like trying to learn 4 or 5 new programs at once ;)

If you have it deployed somewhere, what is your setup like, and what kind of performance are you getting out of it? Do you feel like the development process was any faster than other methods (old-school plain CGI.pm, CGI::Application, etc), or just a better/different way to organize the code on the site? Have you had trouble finding the answers to your Catalyst and related module questions (I've run into a few things that were hard to figure out on my own)?

6:51 pm on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I always wanted to get into it, just never had the time to do so (or rather lacked the pressing opportunity) but I read alot about it. How much time did you actually spend on it before you felt comfortable enough to handle the basic stuff (user auth, role management, simple form-stuff etc pp) the catalyst way? For me, it's primarily time and effort that keeps me from digging in...
5:21 pm on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sorry for the looong delay in replying--my wife and I were celebrating the birth of our first child, who decided to join the world 6 weeks early :)

So I've read the two main books written on Catalyst (The Definitive Guide to Catalyst... is MUCH better) and done lots of digging in the CPAN docs, and I have to say, for me, the learning curve was definitely a few months of on-and-off playing around with it. It wasn't the object orientedness of it all so much as you feel like to do things right, you might have to learn 3 or 4 (or 5...) new programs/skills.

For instance, not only are you learning about Catalyst, you might also want to start using DBIx::Class (I was used to DBIC::MySQL, etc), Template::Toolkit (HTML::Template was my old standby), one of the form generation modules (FormBuilder, etc), plus all of the other plugin goodness. I found that in the beginning, even though I was following the examples online and in the books, I had to do a lot of digging to figure out how to do things I knew how to do with other modules. Search engines are definitely your friends with Catalyst.

But after all that, it finally starts to click and things fall into place. For me, what really kicked things off was just starting to build a site with all of the above. Having something concrete to build with a goal in mind was a great learning tool, plus once you figure out how to do something new/tricky, you then have a reference you (should) understand easily later.

All in all, I think I'll try to stick with Catalyst for future large sites I build. CGI::Application worked well for me for many years, but Catalyst just seems so much more flexible and powerful, if not faster to develop in.