Back in December 2009 I wrote about PlebGUI, an experimental branch of WebGUI with mod_perl replaced with Plack/PSGI. As a result, I was able to demonstrate WebGUI running on shared hosting via Plack + FastCGI.
For the next few months I worked through the process of turning the proof of concept into something core-worthy. Primarily that meant removing PlebGUI’s faked Apache2::Request object, completely eliminating any mod_perl dependencies from the WebGUI core and instead baking in WebGUI::Request and WebGUI::Response which are thin layers over Plack::Request and Plack::Response.
By about April most of the basic pieces were in place, performance was looking good, and I’d started the fun task of refactoring WebGUI to take advantage of the value-add features that Plack brings such as Middleware and stealing liberally from other Plack projects such as Tatsumaki‘s streaming API. But there was still lots of work to be done getting the test suite passing again and smoothing off the rough edges. Progress was slow due to my work commitments and frequent travel.
Then three of the main WebGUI committers got involved, first haarg++, then perlDreamer++ and preaction++. The pace accelerated dramatically. This week we officially merged the PSGI branch into the main development branch, meaning that the next major release of WebGUI will officially be a PSGI app!
Huge credit and thanks to haarg, perlDreamer and preaction (and anyone else who contributed too) for getting us over the hump. These guys are also the main driving force behind the other awesome features that are being baked into WebGUI 8, so if you like anything you see in the next version, make sure you buy them a beer or two.
Here are some screenshots of WebGUI with the Plack::Middleware::Debug bar turned on.
Previously, in debug mode WebGUI would append all debug output to the bottom of the page. Now, thanks to haarg’s custom Plack::Middleware::Debug panels, debug messages are contained within the “Logger” panel. Notice also the “Asset Performance” panel, which displays WebGUI::Asset performance metrics. This is only the beginning.
It’s such a buzz to have the PSGI branch merged in; now the real fun starts! I’ll be speaking about the WebGUI PSGI branch at the WebGUI User Conference in Madison in September, and at the rate things are going, who knows how much fun stuff we’ll be able to show off..
I’m also really looking forward to attending YAPC::NA next week (my first YAPC on American soil) and meeting/hanging out with lots other people who have been doing awesome things in the Perl web app space (and beyond). Vive la renaissance Perl!