Re: Rails-less HAML on Apache ?

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Mike Zillion

Jul 29, 2007, 9:09:58 PM7/29/07
to Haml
This sounded like a fun idea, but no luck yet.

I'm thoroughly enjoying HAML and SASS in my Rails application
development. I wanted to use my local haml gem processor as a pre-
processor for .haml files outside of Rails as well, so I could develop
all of my HTML code with this incredible markup.

The idea is that all files with the suffix .haml should be processed
through haml, while the rest will retain their original processing. I
tried adding the following lines to my .htaccess file (on Dreamhost)
without success:

AddType text/haml .haml
AddHandler haml-file .haml
Action haml-file /home/mikezillion/.gems/bin/haml
Action text/haml /home/mikezillion/.gems/bin/haml

This gives me a slow response, and a "Rails application failed to
start properly" error, in a directory where I have not installed any
Rails code. Can anyone spot the problem? If so, I'd love to get this


Sean Cribbs

Jul 29, 2007, 10:51:25 PM7/29/07
IIRC, the Haml command line utility outputs to another file by
default. Since CGI uses stdin/out, you'd have to pass some options to
Haml to force it to use stdout, or write a script that acts as the
handler and does that for you. Keep in mind that Ruby's CGI interface
is really slow w.r.t. Apache -- a new interpreter has to be spawned
every time there is a request. I would suggest implementing some sort
of caching, perhaps as part of the initial request.



Jul 30, 2007, 4:39:24 AM7/30/07
This idea inspired me to refactor some code of mine, and create such a helper.
Read all about it on my blog:

Complete example is available.

Sean Cribbs

Jul 30, 2007, 7:40:44 AM7/30/07
Awesome!  You might get an even better performance boost if you can move the timestamp checking into the Apache configuration, perhaps as rewrite rules.  I imagine it can be done, I'm just not a mod_rewrite whiz.



Jul 30, 2007, 9:50:11 AM7/30/07
Was my exact thought.

I guess with some mod_rewrite logic this can be boosted way better
that executing the script each time.

But executing it locally (without apache) and measuring time for a
very simple test.haml file gave me the about 17s for the first hit,
and 0.03sec for following attempts. So its pretty speedy for a CGI

*just use the time command in unix*

- evgeny

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