Warning: These wiki pages have not been edited in years and may well be out of date/inaccurate. We recommend that you use them as a starting point for further investigation, rather than gospel.
Lets say you have a template specified by an autohandler, but your requested component should specify certain things such as the title of the page or the background color.

Luckly, there are a few ways to do it. One such method is described in the manual. This document describes the best way (or as best as I know how).

According to the "Object-oriented Techniques" section of the official documentation (, you can use implicit inheritance and call a method within each requested component. This certainly works, but it makes the code a bit complicated... the problem is that any variables read from that method would have to be defined from within a <%shared> section and/or computed by other methods in the requested component.

<table bgcolor="lightblue"><tr><td>
My Title is <& SELF:gettitle &><br />
<br />
<%method gettitle><br />
%# return anything that will find the title for us.<br />
<% $dbh->selectrow_array("select title from pages where
pages.filename='".$m->current_comp->title()."'") %>
<br />
</%method><br />
<br />
<%method title><br />
< SELF:gettitle &amp><br />
&/%method&<br />

The official method will connect to the database and fetch the information twice... it is impossible to work arround that limitation with their suggested method.

MY example would be as followed:

<table bgcolor="lightblue"><tr><td>
My Title is <% $Title %><br />
<br />
<%init><br />
# set $Title to anything that gives us the title ;)<br />
$Title=$dbh->selectrow_array("select title from pages where
pages.filename='".$m->current_comp->title()."'") <br />
</%init><br />
<br />
<%cleanup><br />
return {Header=>{Title=>$Title}}<br />
</%cleanup><br />
--- END "MY METHOD" EXAMPLE ---<br />

With my example, $Title is only found ONCE.. I could also make the code smaller by removing the <%INIT> section and putting it at the top of the component.

I put into my autohandler the following:

<table bgcolor="lightblue"><tr><td>
<title><% $nret->{Header}->{Title} %></title><br />
<% $nbuf %><br />
FOOTER<br />
<br />
<%init><br />
$next=$m->fetch_next;<br />
my $nbuf;<br />
my $nret=$m->comp({store => \$nbuf }, $next, %ARGS);<br />
</%init><br />

This stores both the return value AND stores the stdout of the component so we can retrieve values from the returned hashref and print the STDOUT where it belongs :) This does expose one limitation of my method, without using sub-methods such as used by the 'official' way.. you cannot retrieve the information without executing the entire component; If you need to retrieve information without executing the component, you will need to define sub-methods or attributes.

I hope this helps and doesn't confuse you much.. good luck.

-- EricWindisch



So what I found out is, for truly dynamic content neither <%attr></%attr> nor <%shared> nor <%once> nor <%method> would do what I wanted. Here's what the nice folks at had to share with me in their own UTSL way:

UNBELIEVABLE! Mason has the ability to pre and post process any request. The inheritance (oo) techniques work well for simple stuff like:




For that I use 2 simple sections like this in my header.mhtml file:

% #in the content area

% if ($self->attr_exists('show_optional_advertisement') ) {


<td><& /components/optional_ad.mhtml &></td>


% }

and in the init section:

my $self = $m->request_comp;

And no kidding, it works great. So what if I want:




and realise it doesn't work that way.....

== Here is the solution: ==

* Start with sample site
* Edit sys/substitutions.mhtml and add a new tag:

<%def headergraphic_placeholder></%def>

* Edit sys/do_substitutions.mpl and add these 2 lines:

$headergfx = ($$content =~ s{<mhq:headergraphic>(.*?)</mhq:headergraphic>>}{}g) ? $1 : "";
$begin_subs{headergraphic_placeholder} = $headergfx;

* Edit your header (or footer) file and add the placeholder in the apropriate place in your template like so:

<td width="774" colspan="3"><mhq:headergraphic_placeholder></td>

You can set up placeholders for anything, and override those placeholders with custom content using the same inheritance model, and none of the hassle of <%shared> sections.

To override:

in any component or autohander:

add this line in the content area:

<mhq:headergraphic><img src="/newimages/reviews-header.gif"></mhq:headergraphic>

Because it is in the content area, you can use <%init> and do all the variable substitution you want, like so:

<mhq:headergraphic><img src="$mycustomgraphic"></mhq:headergraphic>

-- webmaster