I'm pleased and proud to announce (finally) the first public release of
the Arrow Web Application Framework.
## General Information
Arrow is a web application framework for mod_ruby. It was designed to
development of web applications under Apache easier and more fun without
sacrificing the power of being able to access the native Apache API.
## Why another web framework?
We chose to write this framework despite the existance of several
and excellent frameworks already written in Ruby for several reasons:
* mod_ruby: No existing frameworks (that we know of) run under
mod_ruby, or at
least not with the same kind of access as a first-order handler.
* Apache: Some current frameworks are very compelling but for one
run using their own webserver written in Ruby. While this is fine for
lighter applications, our experience showed that this strategy does
scale as well as Apache, nor does it allow the application developer
leverage all of the other functionality already built in to Apache or
available as modules.
* Advanced features: While there are some current frameworks that
of the features we desired for application development, there were
supported them all.
* Extensibility/customizability: Many of the current frameworks make it
difficult to override or extend their built-in features. We wanted
that would allow us to adapt to any situation.
## Design Goals
Our primary intent when creating Arrow was to make development of
under mod_ruby easier without sacrificing power. To that end, we
four major goals:
1. Apache API: The developer should still have access to most or all of
Apache API, but without being required to know or care about most of
she does not want to.
2. Persistant resources: Applications should be able to take advantage
persistant resources like cached database handles, connection pools,
3. No fork overhead: Like with native mod_ruby handlers or registry
overhead of the fork and compile phase should be minimized.
4. Automatic reload: Maintain the immediacy of CGI with auto-reloaded
applications, configuration, and templates to avoid the
that is required with every change in programming with mod_ruby
We also wanted to add some features which are useful in most all web
* Templating: To separate presentation HTML from application logic, we
to provide an integrated templating system that uses valid XHTML
document fragments) for templates. We also realized that there are
many excellent templating systems available for Ruby, and so we tried
it as easy as possible to use your own preferred templating library
ours if you should so choose.
* Sessions: Many web application developers find it necessary to
between connections in their applications, so Arrow includes sessions
very easy to use, but can be configured to use one of a number of
configurable strategies on the back end for storage, locking, and key
* Argument validation/untainting: Web applications need to handle input
users which needs to be untainted and validated against a definition
constitutes legal data. Fortunately, Travis Whitton already wrote an
Ruby data-validation library called FormValidator, which is built
* Modular applications: Very often, web applications need to share
subsystems (e.g., authentication/authorization, state checkpointing
validation, etc.) which are orthogonal to the main application logic
necessary. Arrow allows some apps to act as delegators, providing some
functionality for all apps which are chained through it.
* Graceful error-handling: Sometimes applications fall on their face,
is little more frustrating than having to track down an error trace
within the bowels of your app. Arrow provides a customizable
mechanism that can be used to speed development and act on errors
* Strong introspection: One of Ruby's strengths is its strong
features, and we wanted to build on those strengths. Arrow has some
introspection facilities that let the developer examine the state of
applications, templates, sessions, etc.
## Current Status
This is a beta release. Things will probably break, but the APIs are
fixed and it's feature-complete for the 1.0.0 release. If you do find
broken, please let us know.
Thanks for your time.
Michael Granger <(E-Mail Removed)>
Rubymage, Architect, Believer
The FaerieMUD Consortium <http://www.FaerieMUD.org/>
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