[Catalyst] Race condition in Catalyst::Plugin::Session and Catalyst::Engine::Apache (possibly other engines too)

Sergio Salvi sergio.lists at salvi.ca
Wed Sep 10 23:59:21 BST 2008

There is a race condition in C::P::Session when using
C::Engine::Apache (and probably other engines too):

I have a simple controller action (let's call it /save) that gets data
submitted from an HTML form via POST, process that request, stores
some stuff in the session and flash and then redirects with HTTP 303
to another action (/display).

The /display action then displays the regular "submit successful"
message that was set on the previous action by using $c->flash. The
problem is that the browser is GETting /display before /save is
finished storing the session and flash rows in the database. Then, of
course, /display thinks nothing has happened and doesn't display the
data from flash.

After a bunch of debugging and stack traces :), I figured out the
problem is that C::P::Session's finalize() calls $c->NEXT::finalize()
before calling $c->finalize_session, so
C::Engine::Apache->finalize_body() gets executed *before* the session
is flushed in the database, making the browser access /display even
though the session may not be stored yet:

# From C::P::Session:

sub finalize {
    my $c = shift;
    my $ret = $c->NEXT::finalize(@_);

    # then finish the rest
    return $ret;

I've solved this problem by extending C::P::Session and changing the
behaviour of finalize(), like this:


package Catalyst::Plugin::MySession;
use base qw/Catalyst::Plugin::Session/;

use strict;
use warnings;

sub finalize {
    my $c = shift;
    my $ret = $c->NEXT::finalize(@_);
    return $ret;


But I realize this may create problems later on if other plugins have
finalize() that modify stuff in the session or flash, because then it
would be too late to modify it as the session/flash was already

How can I tell Catalyst to call the Engine's finalize() method *last*,
after every other finalize() has been called?

I think that would be the safest way to fix this problem. It is
probably related to C3 MRO, but I'm not sure how to approach this
within Catalyst.

Thank you!
Sergio Salvi

PS: My environment is:

Debian 4.0, stock perl 5.8.8, Apache 2.2.3 with mod_perl 2.0.2
(prefork, no reverse proxy at this moment), MySQL 5.0.32 with InnoDB
and the latest version of major Perl modules:

Catalyst 5.7.014
C::P::Session 0.19
C::P::Session::Store::DBIC 0.06

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