Selasa, 24 November 2009

WEHT Emperl?

Speaking of templating systems in the previous post, I also got reminded of Embperl, and wondered why it didn't get more popular. I remember back in 1998-1999 enjoying working with Embperl before moving on to Mason. It has a nice syntax, and one very nice feature: (HTML- and/or URL-)escaping output by default. Say you have in $foo "<script>evil()</script>" then this template:

[+ $foo +]

will output "&lt;script&gt;evil()&lt;/script&gt;". You are protected from XSS by default. And if you want to turn off this escaping, you can set EMBPERL_ESCMODE to 0, or, do this:

[+ do { local $escmode = 0; $foo } +]

But then maybe this is akin to what earlier versions of PHP attempted to do with default magic_quotes_gpc and magic_quotes_runtime set to on. These two default configuration have helped spread the backslashitis/toothpick syndrome all over the web and are currently deprecated (and will be removed in PHP 6.0). A majority of PHP programmers apparently never understood the need of these escaping, and got confused/mad by the insistence of PHP to add those pestering backslashes. And most would turn off the configuration, or add a routine to reverse the escaping at the beginning of their programs.

So is the moral of the story: do not overprotect programmers (especially ignorant ones)? Or don't try to fix the problem the wrong way? Or both?

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