PERLFAQ9(1)            Perl Programmers Reference Guide            PERLFAQ9(1)

       perlfaq9 - Web, Email and Networking

       version 5.021011

       This section deals with questions related to running web sites, sending
       and receiving email as well as general networking.

   Should I use a web framework?
       Yes. If you are building a web site with any level of interactivity
       (forms / users / databases), you will want to use a framework to make
       handling requests and responses easier.

       If there is no interactivity then you may still want to look at using
       something like Template Toolkit <>
       or Plack::Middleware::TemplateToolkit so maintenance of your HTML files
       (and other assets) is easier.

   Which web framework should I use?
       There is no simple answer to this question. Perl frameworks can run
       everything from basic file servers and small scale intranets to massive
       multinational multilingual websites that are the core to international

       Below is a list of a few frameworks with comments which might help you
       in making a decision, depending on your specific requirements. Start by
       reading the docs, then ask questions on the relevant mailing list or
       IRC channel.

           Strongly object-oriented and fully-featured with a long development
           history and a large community and addon ecosystem. It is excellent
           for large and complex applications, where you have full control
           over the server.

           Young and free of legacy weight, providing a lightweight and easy
           to learn API.  Has a growing addon ecosystem. It is best used for
           smaller projects and very easy to learn for beginners.

           Fairly young with a focus on HTML5 and real-time web technologies
           such as WebSockets.

           Currently experimental, strongly object-oriented, built for speed
           and intended as a toolkit for building micro web apps, custom
           frameworks or for tieing together existing Plack-compatible web
           applications with one central dispatcher.

       All of these interact with or use Plack which is worth understanding
       the basics of when building a website in Perl (there is a lot of useful

   What is Plack and PSGI?
       PSGI is the Perl Web Server Gateway Interface Specification, it is a
       standard that many Perl web frameworks use, you should not need to
       understand it to build a web site, the part you might want to use is

       Plack is a set of tools for using the PSGI stack. It contains
       middleware <>
       components, a reference server and utilities for Web application
       frameworks.  Plack is like Ruby's Rack or Python's Paste for WSGI.

       You could build a web site using Plack and your own code, but for
       anything other than a very basic web site, using a web framework (that
       uses Plack) is a better option.

   How do I remove HTML from a string?
       Use HTML::Strip, or HTML::FormatText which not only removes HTML but
       also attempts to do a little simple formatting of the resulting plain

   How do I extract URLs?
       HTML::SimpleLinkExtor will extract URLs from HTML, it handles anchors,
       images, objects, frames, and many other tags that can contain a URL.
       If you need anything more complex, you can create your own subclass of
       HTML::LinkExtor or HTML::Parser. You might even use
       HTML::SimpleLinkExtor as an example for something specifically suited
       to your needs.

       You can use URI::Find to extract URLs from an arbitrary text document.

   How do I fetch an HTML file?
       (contributed by brian d foy)

       Use the libwww-perl distribution. The LWP::Simple module can fetch web
       resources and give their content back to you as a string:

           use LWP::Simple qw(get);

           my $html = get( "" );

       It can also store the resource directly in a file:

           use LWP::Simple qw(getstore);

           getstore( "", "foo.html" );

       If you need to do something more complicated, you can use
       LWP::UserAgent module to create your own user-agent (e.g. browser) to
       get the job done. If you want to simulate an interactive web browser,
       you can use the WWW::Mechanize module.

   How do I automate an HTML form submission?
       If you are doing something complex, such as moving through many pages
       and forms or a web site, you can use WWW::Mechanize. See its
       documentation for all the details.

       If you're submitting values using the GET method, create a URL and
       encode the form using the "query_form" method:

           use LWP::Simple;
           use URI::URL;

           my $url = url('L<')>;
           $url->query_form(module => 'DB_File', readme => 1);
           $content = get($url);

       If you're using the POST method, create your own user agent and encode
       the content appropriately.

           use HTTP::Request::Common qw(POST);
           use LWP::UserAgent;

           my $ua = LWP::UserAgent->new();
           my $req = POST 'L<'>,
                          [ module => 'DB_File', readme => 1 ];
           my $content = $ua->request($req)->as_string;

   How do I decode or create those %-encodings on the web?
       Most of the time you should not need to do this as your web framework,
       or if you are making a request, the LWP or other module would handle it
       for you.

       To encode a string yourself, use the URI::Escape module. The
       "uri_escape" function returns the escaped string:

           my $original = "Colon : Hash # Percent %";

           my $escaped = uri_escape( $original );

           print "$escaped\n"; # 'Colon%20%3A%20Hash%20%23%20Percent%20%25'

       To decode the string, use the "uri_unescape" function:

           my $unescaped = uri_unescape( $escaped );

           print $unescaped; # back to original

       Remember not to encode a full URI, you need to escape each component
       separately and then join them together.

   How do I redirect to another page?
       Most Perl Web Frameworks will have a mechanism for doing this, using
       the Catalyst framework it would be:


       If you are using Plack (which most frameworks do), then
       Plack::Middleware::Rewrite is worth looking at if you are migrating
       from Apache or have URL's you want to always redirect.

   How do I put a password on my web pages?
       See if the web framework you are using has an authentication system and
       if that fits your needs.

       Alternativly look at Plack::Middleware::Auth::Basic, or one of the
       other Plack authentication <>

   How do I make sure users can't enter values into a form that causes my CGI
       script to do bad things?
       (contributed by brian d foy)

       You can't prevent people from sending your script bad data. Even if you
       add some client-side checks, people may disable them or bypass them
       completely. For instance, someone might use a module such as LWP to
       submit to your web site. If you want to prevent data that try to use
       SQL injection or other sorts of attacks (and you should want to), you
       have to not trust any data that enter your program.

       The perlsec documentation has general advice about data security.  If
       you are using the DBI module, use placeholder to fill in data.  If you
       are running external programs with "system" or "exec", use the list
       forms. There are many other precautions that you should take, too many
       to list here, and most of them fall under the category of not using any
       data that you don't intend to use. Trust no one.

   How do I parse a mail header?
       Use the Email::MIME module. It's well-tested and supports all the
       craziness that you'll see in the real world (comment-folding
       whitespace, encodings, comments, etc.).

         use Email::MIME;

         my $message = Email::MIME->new($rfc2822);
         my $subject = $message->header('Subject');
         my $from    = $message->header('From');

       If you've already got some other kind of email object, consider passing
       it to Email::Abstract and then using its cast method to get an
       Email::MIME object:

         my $mail_message_object = read_message();
         my $abstract = Email::Abstract->new($mail_message_object);
         my $email_mime_object = $abstract->cast('Email::MIME');

   How do I check a valid mail address?
       (partly contributed by Aaron Sherman)

       This isn't as simple a question as it sounds. There are two parts:

       a) How do I verify that an email address is correctly formatted?

       b) How do I verify that an email address targets a valid recipient?

       Without sending mail to the address and seeing whether there's a human
       on the other end to answer you, you cannot fully answer part b, but the
       Email::Valid module will do both part a and part b as far as you can in

       Our best advice for verifying a person's mail address is to have them
       enter their address twice, just as you normally do to change a
       password. This usually weeds out typos. If both versions match, send
       mail to that address with a personal message. If you get the message
       back and they've followed your directions, you can be reasonably
       assured that it's real.

       A related strategy that's less open to forgery is to give them a PIN
       (personal ID number). Record the address and PIN (best that it be a
       random one) for later processing. In the mail you send, include a link
       to your site with the PIN included. If the mail bounces, you know it's
       not valid. If they don't click on the link, either they forged the
       address or (assuming they got the message) following through wasn't
       important so you don't need to worry about it.

   How do I decode a MIME/BASE64 string?
       The MIME::Base64 package handles this as well as the MIME/QP encoding.
       Decoding base 64 becomes as simple as:

           use MIME::Base64;
           my $decoded = decode_base64($encoded);

       The Email::MIME module can decode base 64-encoded email message parts
       transparently so the developer doesn't need to worry about it.

   How do I find the user's mail address?
       Ask them for it. There are so many email providers available that it's
       unlikely the local system has any idea how to determine a user's email

       The exception is for organization-specific email (e.g. where policy can be codified in your program. In
       that case, you could look at $ENV{USER}, $ENV{LOGNAME}, and
       getpwuid($<) in scalar context, like so:

         my $user_name = getpwuid($<)

       But you still cannot make assumptions about whether this is correct,
       unless your policy says it is. You really are best off asking the user.

   How do I send email?
       Use the Email::MIME and Email::Sender::Simple modules, like so:

         # first, create your message
         my $message = Email::MIME->create(
           header_str => [
             From    => '',
             To      => '',
             Subject => 'Happy birthday!',
           attributes => {
             encoding => 'quoted-printable',
             charset  => 'utf-8',
           body_str => "Happy birthday to you!\n",

         use Email::Sender::Simple qw(sendmail);

       By default, Email::Sender::Simple will try `sendmail` first, if it
       exists in your $PATH. This generally isn't the case. If there's a
       remote mail server you use to send mail, consider investigating one of
       the Transport classes. At time of writing, the available transports

           This is the default. If you can use the mail(1) or mailx(1) program
           to send mail from the machine where your code runs, you should be
           able to use this.

           This transport contacts a remote SMTP server over TCP. It
           optionally uses SSL and can authenticate to the server via SASL.

           This is like the SMTP transport, but uses TLS security. You can
           authenticate with this module as well, using any mechanisms your
           server supports after STARTTLS.

       Telling Email::Sender::Simple to use your transport is straightforward.

             transport => $email_sender_transport_object,

   How do I use MIME to make an attachment to a mail message?
       Email::MIME directly supports multipart messages. Email::MIME objects
       themselves are parts and can be attached to other Email::MIME objects.
       Consult the Email::MIME documentation for more information, including
       all of the supported methods and examples of their use.

   How do I read email?
       Use the Email::Folder module, like so:

         use Email::Folder;

         my $folder = Email::Folder->new('/path/to/email/folder');
         while(my $message = $folder->next_message) {
           # next_message returns Email::Simple objects, but we want
           # Email::MIME objects as they're more robust
           my $mime = Email::MIME->new($message->as_string);

       There are different classes in the Email::Folder namespace for
       supporting various mailbox types. Note that these modules are generally
       rather limited and only support reading rather than writing.

   How do I find out my hostname, domainname, or IP address?
       (contributed by brian d foy)

       The Net::Domain module, which is part of the Standard Library starting
       in Perl 5.7.3, can get you the fully qualified domain name (FQDN), the
       host name, or the domain name.

           use Net::Domain qw(hostname hostfqdn hostdomain);

           my $host = hostfqdn();

       The Sys::Hostname module, part of the Standard Library, can also get
       the hostname:

           use Sys::Hostname;

           $host = hostname();

       The Sys::Hostname::Long module takes a different approach and tries
       harder to return the fully qualified hostname:

         use Sys::Hostname::Long 'hostname_long';

         my $hostname = hostname_long();

       To get the IP address, you can use the "gethostbyname" built-in
       function to turn the name into a number. To turn that number into the
       dotted octet form (a.b.c.d) that most people expect, use the
       "inet_ntoa" function from the Socket module, which also comes with

           use Socket;

           my $address = inet_ntoa(
               scalar gethostbyname( $host || 'localhost' )

   How do I fetch/put an (S)FTP file?
       Net::FTP, and Net::SFTP allow you to interact with FTP and SFTP (Secure
       FTP) servers.

   How can I do RPC in Perl?
       Use one of the RPC modules( <> ).

       Copyright (c) 1997-2010 Tom Christiansen, Nathan Torkington, and other
       authors as noted. All rights reserved.

       This documentation is free; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
       under the same terms as Perl itself.

       Irrespective of its distribution, all code examples in this file are
       hereby placed into the public domain. You are permitted and encouraged
       to use this code in your own programs for fun or for profit as you see
       fit. A simple comment in the code giving credit would be courteous but
       is not required.

perl v5.26.1                      2020-10-19                       PERLFAQ9(1)
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