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Web::Scaffold -- build minimalist fancy web sites

Web::Scaffold -- build minimalist fancy web sites


  Web::Scaffold -- build minimalist fancy web sites


  use Web::Scaffold;



Web::Scaffold is a module that allows you to easily and quickly build a fancy web site with drop down menus an a variable number of columns. This is accomplished with a simple specification and a series of minimal html page includes that are written in very basic html.

In its simplest form, your web will have the following structure:

  pages/        contains minimalist html pages

  ws_sitemap/   [optional] contains sitemap in google xml format

                NOTE: link this into public_html

  public_html/  contains the index page and

                any non Web::Scaffold pages

        images/ contains web site images

        lib/    contains javascript library(s)

The index pages requires Server Side Includes (SSI) and is as follows:


  <!-- page name "index.shtml"

  place your comments, revision number, etc... here


  <!--#exec cmd="./pages.cgi" -->



Alternatively, you can use the included pages.cgi script as an example to build your own more sophisticated cgi or mod_perl application.

An illustrated sample web site can be viewed here:




A web site with drop down menus can be complete configured with two hash arrays. The %specs array configures the style and form of the site and the %pages array configures the menus and column layout.

The specifications for fonts, menu, links, colors

  %specs = (

  # directory path for 'html pages' relative to the html root

  # i.e. public_html/        defaults to:


        pagedir         => '../pages',

  # directory path for 'javascript libraries' relative to html root

  # defaults to:

        javascript      => 'lib',

  # no search conditions for building the site map. Each

  # element is evaluated as a perl match condition in the

  # context of m/element/. Include page names, extensions, etc...




        nosearch        => [ 'pdf' ],

  # Directory path for 'sitemap' page generation relative to the 

  # html root. This directory must be WRITABLE by the web server.


  # NOTE: link the file 'sitemapdir'/sitemaplxml to the 

  # appropriate location in your web directory.


  # The sitemap.xml file will be generated and updated ONLY if 

  # the 'sitemapdir' key is present in this configuration file.


  # The sitemap page will auto update if you modify pages in

  # 'pagedir' or in the 'autocheck' list below. If you modify 

  # static pages elsewhere in the web directory tree that are

  # not listed in 'autocheck', you must DELETE the sitemap.xml 

  # file to force an update.




  #     sitemapdir      => '../ws_sitemap',

  # Directories to autocheck for sitemap update.

  # you can list BOTH directories and individual files

  # here relative to the web root. The 'sitemapdir' and

  # 'pagedir' are always checked and do not need to be

  # listed here.


        autocheck       => ['docs'],

  # site map <changefreq> hint


  # defaults to:


        changefreq      => 'monthly',

  # font family used throughout the document


        face            => 'VERANDA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,SAN-SERIF',

  # background color of the web page

  # this can be a web color like 'white' or number '#ffffff'


        backcolor       => 'white',

  # Menu specifications


        barcolor        => 'red',

        menudrop        => '55',        # drop down position

        menuwidth       => '100px',     # width of menu item

        pagewidth       => '620px',     # recommended

  # menu font specifications

        menucolor       => 'black',

        menuhot         => 'yellow',    # mouse over

        menucold        => 'white',     # page selected

        menustyle       => 'normal',    # bold, italic

        menusize        => '13px',      # font points or pixels

        sepcolor        => 'black',     # separator color

  # Page link font specifications


        linkcolor       => 'blue',

        linkhot         => 'green',

        linkstyle       => 'normal',    # bold, italic

        linksize        => '13px',      # font points or pixels

  # Page Text font specifications


        fontcolor       => 'black',

        fontstyle       => 'normal',

        fontsize        => '13px',

  # Heading font specifications


        headcolor       => 'black',

        headstyle       => 'bold',      # normal, italic

        headsize        => '16px',


The specifications for menus and pages. Menus can be single link or a series of drop down menu depending on how you specifiy the page. The page names are the keys to the hash and are used as the menu-bar link text. All page files are placed in the 'pages' directory.


Files are named with the 'key' name of the page as the lefthand side and a suffix designating the file's purpose as the right hand side. For the required page 'Home', they are as follows:

 # [optional] page used if there are not individual pages

 # NOTE: neither a Default page or individual page is required

  Default.meta          # meta text loaded after <title>

  Default.head          # optional additional <head> text

                        # that is on every page, end of page           # optional body text that appears

                        # on every page before menu-bar

                        # i.e. logo, etc...

 # for each individual page

  Home.meta             # meta text loaded after <title>

  Home.head             # optional additional <head> text              # body text that appears before

                        # menu-bar. i.e. logo, etc...

  Home.c1               # [optional] column 1 content

  Home.c2               # [optional] column 2 content               # [optional] column 'n' content

  %pages = (

  # REQUIRED page


        Home    => {

  #                     SEE: detailed link format below

            menu        => ['Home', 'Page1', 'Page2', 'Page5'],

  # optional title text - if missing, 'heading' text will be used

            title       => 'page title',

            heading     => 'Text under menu, over body text',

  # number of columns and column width in pixels

            column      => [20, 200, 400],    # three columns

  # optional

            submenu     => [qw(Page3 Page4)], # drop down menu

  # optional trailer bar

            trailer     => {

  # a named page

                links   => [qw(Page5 Page6)],

  # optional right hand side text. if there are no links then the

  # text will be placed on the left hand side of the trailer bar

                text    => 'Copyright 2006, yourname',



  # next page


        Page1   =>      ... same as above



  #     ... and so on

  # for the auto-generated Sitemap page, there is one additional

  # specification element...


        Sitemap => {


  # specify the column in which the sitemap should appear

  # defaults to '1'

                autocol => 1,



  # and for debug... example

  # load this page segment as source in a single window

        '' => {

  # copy prototype page from this one page.

            debug       => 'Home',

  # optional location if not in the 'pages' directory


            location    => 'path/to/filename',




The sample index.shtml and pages.cgi script may be used together with the above specification and configuration data to produce a multi-page web site with with drop down menus. Each of the sub-pages specified in the ./pages directory may be prepared in a simple text editor with 'basic' html formating. LINKS WITHIN THE PAGE may be regular html or to take advantage of the MouseOver and STATUS reporting features of Web::Scaffold, may be specified using the special syntax:

Menu and Trailer link format

There are two acceptable formats for links used in the MENU and TRAILER sections of a page specification:

  1. PageName
  2. This is simply the key to the %pages array and its value will be used as the text for the LINK and the display value in the browser STATUS bar.

  3. {separator}key or URL{separator}link text{separator}status text
  4. This syntax allows for either a PageName as above or a file/http URL value to be used as the link target. The separator may be any printable ASCII character except {}. The link text and status text values are optional. link text will be filled from the key/URL value if it is not present. status text will be filled from the link text or from the key/URL value if link text is not present.
        # my website#MY WEBSITE#

    Note that an optional separator character may terminate the link string.

Embedded Links Within Page Text

The syntax for embedded page links is similar to above with the addition of a keyword and enclosing brackets.

  LINK<#page_name#optional link text#optional status text#>


  LINK<#URL#optional link text#optional status text#>

Exact syntax is as follows:

  uppercase word        "LINK"

  less than symbol      <

  delimiter (any char)  #

  page name or url text ./dir/file or http://....

    [optional] link and status fields

  delimiter             #

  link text             optional text for link

  delimiter             #

  status bar text       optional browser status bar text

  delimiter             # [optional] closing delimiter


  greater than symbol   >

Where the first syntax refers to a named page in the %pages array and the second syntax refers to a real URL optionally followed by the text to appear as the ``link'' text and in the status bar.

Line breaks are not allowed in LINK<#text>

Web::Scaffold builds the page with menus and incorporates the various include files (page.head,, page.c1, page.c2, etc...) to produce a website that can be easily and quickly maintained by simply editing the page includes.

Each web page assembled by Web::Scaffold as follows:



  <title> [from page title or heading] </title>

  [optional] Default.meg\ta or Page.meta

  internally generated style statements

  [optional] Default.head or Page.head



  [optional] or

  [optional] menu bar as specified for this Page

  internally generated column specification for this Page

  {    column 1    }{    column 2    }......{    column N    }

   Page.c1 or blank  Page.c2 or blank .etc.. Page.cN or blank

  [optional] trailer




Web::Scaffold will automatically write as sitemap.xml sitemap file and a corresponding scaffold page named Sitemap.htxt the first time the site is accessed if the specification KEY, 'sitemapdir' for the sitemap is present.

If you modify any pages in the scaffold 'pagedir' or pages or directories listed in the 'autocheck' list, the sitemap will auto update. If you modify a static page elsewhere in the web site that are not listed in 'autocheck', you must DELETE sitemap.xml to force and update.

You must include a spec for the Sitemap page in the %pages configuration.

If you wish to use your own sitemap, do not activate the specification KEY.


Michael Robinton <>


This notice does NOT cover the javascript libraries. Those libraries are freely usable but copyright and licensed all or in part by others and have their own copyright notices and license requirements. Please read the text in the individual libraries to determine their specific licensing and copyright notice requirements.

Copyright 2006 - 2007, Michael Robinton <>

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify

it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by

the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or

(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.