Application structure


  • Browser/Javascript based web-application
  • Request handling
  • Perl application logic (mostly left over from pre-1.3)
  • PostgreSQL based authentication and authorization framework
  • PL/pgSQL based stored procedures (application logic)
  • PostgreSQL based data storage (tables) with SQL and PL/pgSQL based data integrity checks

Browser/web application

Before 1.5, all state changes in the browser were handled through the traditional CGI paradigm of "Submit+reload page", with some minor Javascript (JS) helpers to hide/show screen sections.

As of 1.5, there are other options due to more tight integration with the Dojo framework. In 1.5 pages are still reloaded using the "Submit+reload page" paradigm (mostly), but instead of letting the browser do so in a frame, the reloads are handled as asynchronous XHR requests.

Request handling

Webserver/Perl web-glue

Multiple web-frontends are supported, through through the web-glue framework Plack. For development purposes, Starman is the easiest way to get started.


Request handling in 1.6+

  1. The PSGI compatible server receives a request
  2. Plack parses the request and dispatches to the configured route handlers
    1. Dispatch for pre-1.3 code
    2. Dispatch for post-1.3 code

Note that dispatching differs between pre- and post-1.3 code, but that the dispatch mechanism described below was implemented in the 1.6 development cycle.

Dispatching to post-1.3 code

  1. The function psgi_app in LedgerSMB::PSGI receives the request environment
  2. Based on the name of the script, the module LedgerSMB::Scripts::<script-name>.pm is loaded
  3. A LedgerSMB::Auth object is instantiated
  4. A LedgerSMB object is instantiated, taking many parameters from the request environment and the LedgerSMB::Auth object
  5. A session cookie is extracted from the request environment
  6. The session and auth data are used to authenticate the session (unless the entry point indicates that's not desirable)
  7. The authenticated session is added to the LedgerSMB instance
  8. The request is dispatched to the script's entry point, with the LedgerSMB instance as a parameter
  9. The entry point constructs ORM mapper objects where necessary
  10. The entry point invokes the required state changes where applicable
  11. The entry point determines which output screens to generate, selecting a template from UI/
  12. The entry point passes the collected results and template to the rendering engine
  13. The rendering engine generates the output, request headers and result code
  14. The entry point returns the PSGI result triplet to the dispatcher
  15. The dispatch routine cleans up after the request, committing the transaction on success or rolling back the transaction in case of error
  16. The dispatch routine returns the triplet to the Plack caller

Dispatching to pre-1.3 code

  1. The PSGI "app" returned by "old_app" in LedgerSMB::PSGI sets up a full CGI environment based on the PSGI environment
  2. After creating a full CGI environment, the STDOUT handle is bound to a temporary file
  3. The executing process is forked (in the _run_old() function of LedgerSMB::PSGI)
  4. The forked process dispatches handling of the request to ''
  5. tries to clean the namespaces used by pre-1.3 code
    (this is to support pre-loading of modules, so code won't need to be reloaded on every request)
  6. old-handler sets up a $form object (LedgerSMB/ and creates a database transaction
  7. old-handler loads a script from old/bin/
  8. old-handler invokes the function specified in the 'action' query parameter
    Note: this could also be an 'action' or 'nextsub' POST parameter
  9. the invoked action generates the response by printing bits and pieces of the required HTML response inline with the code to decode web input and handling state change
  10. cleans up after the request, committing the transaction on success or rolling back in case of an error
  11. the forking process continues processing by reading the CGI output from the forked process
  12. the request handler passes the PSGI response triplet to the Plack caller based on the parsed CGI output

Perl application logic


Retrieving database information


Changing database information state


Database documentation

Ledgersmb database documentation.