Bruno Postle > MKDoc-Control_List-0.31 > MKDoc::Control_List

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Module Version: 0.31   Source  

NAME ^

MKDoc::Control_List - Express complex sets of rules with control lists

SYNOPSIS ^

    my $control  = new MKDoc::Control_List ( file => security_rules.txt );
    my ($result) = $control->process();

SUMMARY ^

Access Control List is a security model which allows much finer control of resources than other traditional permission systems such as Unix.

MKDoc::Control_List is a generalization of the concept of Access Control Lists.

MKDoc::Control_List lets you define generic configuration files which give you very high granularity and control over what to do depending on a certain context.

EXAMPLE ^

Introduction

Say you have to implement an expert system for Santa Claus which will automatically decide for any children which toy to send. The system has to be extremely flexible and configurable.

Say you have an array of Child objects. Each object has the following methods:

    $child->name();
    $child->age();
    $child->is_boy();
    $child->is_girl();

Your code might look like this:

    local $Current_Child = undef;
    my $control_list = new MKDoc::Control_List ( file => 'toy_config.txt' );

    my %Toys = ();
    foreach my $child (all_children)
    {
        $Current_Child = $child;
        my $name       = $child->name();
        my ($toy)      = $control_list->process();
        $Toys->{$name} = $toy;
    }
    
    print_toy_list (\%Toys);

Now all you need to do is to define that toy_config.txt.

We're going to do it interactively, and see how much control the control lists can give you.

A very generic control list

To start simple, we have a very generic toy which we'll give to all children.

   CONDITION always_true    "true"

   RET_VALUE generic_toy    "Gizmo"

   RULE generic_toy WHEN always_true

Segregating boys and girls

Now, let's say you have two different toys, one for girls and one for boys.

If the gender of a child is not specified we want to fall back on our sex neutral ghizmo.

The control list would become:

   CONDITION always_true    "true"
   CONDITION isa_boy        $Current_Child->is_boy();
   CONDITION isa_girl       $Current_Child->is_girl();

   RET_VALUE generic_toy    "Gizmo"
   RET_VALUE boy_toy        "Galaxy Warrior"
   RET_VALUE girl_toy       "Doll"

   RULE boy_toy        WHEN isa_boy
   RULE girl_toy       WHEN isa_girl
   RULE generic_toy    WHEN always_true

The order of the RULE statements is primordial! The Control List will return specified values as soon as all the conditions listed after the WHEN keyword are satisfied.

So if you had:

   RULE generic_toy    WHEN always_true
   RULE boy_toy        WHEN isa_boy
   RULE girl_toy       WHEN isa_girl

The control list would have ALWAYS returned Gizmos no matter what.

Segregating the age

According to Santa studies, Girls older than 8 tend to prefer nice clothes rather than dolls. Boys remain fairly dumb so they're always very happy with miniature cars.

You want to add a line which defines a condition is_8_or_more as follows:

  CONDITION is_8_or_more   $Current_Child->age() >= 8;

You want to add a toy type:

  RET_VALUE girly_shoes    "Nice Pink Shoes"

And a rule at the top of your control list:

  RULE girly_shoes WHEN isa_girl is_8_or_more

As you can see there are two conditions after the when. The rule is activated if and only if both conditions are true.

Summarizing all up

Here's our final control list:

   CONDITION always_true    "true"
   CONDITION isa_boy        $Current_Child->is_boy()
   CONDITION isa_girl       $Current_Child->is_girl()
   CONDITION is_8_or_more   $Current_Child->age() >= 8
   CONDITION is_less_than_8 $Current_Child->age() < 8

   RET_VALUE generic_toy    "Gizmo"
   RET_VALUE boy_toy        "Galaxy Warrior"
   RET_VALUE girl_toy       "Doll"
   RET_VALUE girly_shoes    "Nice Pink Shoes"

   RULE girly_shoes         WHEN isa_girl is_8_or_more
   RULE boy_toy             WHEN isa_boy
   RULE girl_toy            WHEN isa_girl
   RULE generic_toy         WHEN always_true

More configuration

As you can see it is infinitely customizable to any level of granularity... Santa Claus likes to offer little girls who are less than 6 and who are called Mary dining sets?

He doesn't like boys called Chris or Bruno and wants them to have cod liver?

No problem:

   CONDITION always_true     "true"
   CONDITION isa_boy         $Current_Child->is_boy()
   CONDITION isa_girl        $Current_Child->is_girl()
   CONDITION is_8_or_more    $Current_Child->age() >= 8
   CONDITION is_less_than_6  $Current_Child->age() < 6
   CONDITION is_name_mary    $Current_Child->name() =~ /Mary/i
   CONDITION is_name_bruno   $Current_Child->name() =~ /Bruno/i
   CONDITION is_name_chris   $Current_Child->name() =~ /Chris/i

   RET_VALUE generic_toy     "Gizmo"
   RET_VALUE boy_toy         "Galaxy Warrior"
   RET_VALUE girl_toy        "Doll"
   RET_VALUE girly_shoes     "Nice Pink Shoes"
   RET_VALUE dining_set      "Dining Set"
   RET_VALUE cod_liver       "Cod Liver"

   RULE cod_liver            WHEN isa_boy is_name_bruno
   RULE cod_liver            WHEN isa_boy is_name_chris
   RULE dining_set           WHEN isa_girl is_name_mary is_less_than_6
   RULE girly_shoes          WHEN isa_girl is_8_or_more
   RULE boy_toy              WHEN isa_boy
   RULE girl_toy             WHEN isa_girl
   RULE generic_toy          WHEN always_true

CONFIGURATION SYNTAX ^

CONDITION statements

CONDITION statements must be on one line. They define values which are either TRUE or FALSE. A rule is triggered when all the CONDITIONs it references are TRUE.

  CONDITION <condition_name> <Perl Expression>

If the perl expression is too big to fit on one line, write a function in a specific package and call that instead. By default, expressions operate in the namespace of the calling package.

  CONDITION foo_condition    MyPackage::is_foo()

RET_VALUE statements

RET_VALUE statements must be on one line. They define a value to return when a rule is activated.

  RET_VALUE <ret_value_name> <Perl Expression>

If the perl expression is too big to fit on one line, write a function in a specific package and call that instead. By default, expressions operate in the namespace of the calling package.

  RET_VALUE foo_value    MyPackage::my_ret_value()

RULE statements

RULEs are the core of the MKDoc::Control_List module. They are processed one after the other. The first rule which is activated returns a list of values.

  RULE value1 value2 value3 WHEN condition1 condition2 condition3

API ^

$class->new ( file => 'config_file' ); ^

Returns a new MKDoc::Control_List object. Can also be initialized with data => $control_list_data.

$self->process(); ^

Returns a list of values depending which rule is activated. Returns an empty list if no rule is activated.

Example:

  my @result = $control_list->process();

EXPORTS ^

None.

KNOWN BUGS ^

None, which probably means plenty of unknown bugs :)

ABOUT ^

MKDoc is a web content management system written in Perl which focuses on standards compliance, accessiblity and usability issues, and multi-lingual websites.

At MKDoc Ltd we have decided to gradually break up our existing commercial software into a collection of completely independent, well-documented, well-tested open-source CPAN modules.

Ultimately we want MKDoc code to be a coherent collection of module distributions, yet each distribution should be usable and useful in itself.

MKDoc::Control_List is part of this effort.

You could help us and turn some of MKDoc's code into a CPAN module. You can take a look at the existing code at http://download.mkdoc.org/.

If you are interested in some functionality which you would like to see as a standalone CPAN module, send an email to <mkdoc-modules@lists.webarch.co.uk>.

AUTHOR ^

Copyright 2003 - MKDoc Holdings Ltd.

Author: Jean-Michel Hiver

This module is free software and is distributed under the same license as Perl itself. Use it at your own risk.

SEE ALSO ^

Help us open-source MKDoc. Join the mkdoc-modules mailing list:

  mkdoc-modules@lists.webarch.co.uk
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