proxypass-like behaviour of CMS content block

Bob MacCallum uncoolbob at
Sat Nov 14 11:17:08 GMT 2009

It seems nothing is off-topic here, so here goes...

At work (bioinformatics web site) we have several different web
applications running on different platforms Java/Tomcat, vanilla Perl,
mod_perl, PHP, and static content.

Many of these are glued together with a front end Apache with
ProxyPass directives to route traffic to standalone apache/tomcat
instances which are configured appropriately.

# tomcat
ProxyPass /app1 ajp://localhost:28009/app1
# apache mod_perl
ProxyPass /app2 http://localhost:8888/app2
# and so on

We hack the header/footer HTML of these services so they all look
vaguely like they are on the same site :-)

The core content of the site is done by some custom PHP from about 5
years ago which is no way as flexible as current CMS's, and doesn't
look that great to boot, so I think we should start from scratch and
redesign the site around a mature CMS.

Does anyone know of a way to get proxypass-like behaviour inside a
CMS, so that the content block (div, whatever) of every page below a
certain level, say, would be generated by the back-end web application?
(So that the trailing path and any vars were passed through of course,

I'm not fussed which CMS!  (prefer Perl of course)

Am I in fantasy land or would this be possible and easy to maintain?
(One of our current perl back-end services is wrapped with about 100
PHP wrappers!)

I guess what we would lose is the ability to set the
<head><title>...</title></head> based on what's happening in the
embedded page (e.g. the embedded content is information about gene
XYZ, then we really need the page title to be "Gene XYZ info", both to
help the user who may have several tabs open, and for SEO).


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