The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I'll only upgrade software if there's a compelling reason to, and for me, mod_lua is a compelling reason to upgrade Apache

Nah, it's not quite time to close up shop … (so much for my April Fool's joke this year—most people missed the style changes I did for several years running, but a) most people read the entries here via the newsfeed so the visual change in layout was always lost on them, and b) I never did find that round toit I needed to change the style—anyway, I digess).

I've been looking a bit deeper into Drupal these past few days (seeing how I'm scheduled to give a repeat of my talk at the new West Palm Beach Drupal users group this month—I'm giving a lot of presentations this year it seems) and trying to get into the whole PHP framework and well … as a diversion, I thought it might be interesting to see what type of web-based framework one could do in Lua, and why not attempt it using mod_lua?

Well, the fact that I linked to the svn respository should say something about the stability of mod_lua—it ain't. It's only currently available for the latest development version of Apache, there's no documentation (except for the source code) and a smattering of example code to guide the intrepid. It's also not terribly reassuring that it hasn't been worked on for a few months.

That didn't stop me from trying it though.

I spent a few hours debugging the module, enough for it to pass the few tests available and hopefully, the Apache team will accept the patch (a call to memset() to initialize a structure to a known value before use).

Now that it doesn't crash, it does appear to be quite nice, allowing the same access that any Apache module in C would have, and it looks like one could effectively replace a few of the murkier modules (like mod_rewrite) with more straightforward Lua implementation. My initial thoughts are to reimplement mod_litbook (which currently only works for Apache 1.3x) using mod_lua as a test case (and heck—maybe even upgrade the existing mod_litbook to Apache 2.x so I won't have to keep running an Apache 1.3 instance just for one portion of my website).

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