MiniMate - An Administration Tool for MiniVend

MiniMate, formerly called MaxiVend, is a web frontend for MiniVend. It has been written by Mike Heins, also the author of MiniVend. With MiniMate you can easily:

Table of Contents


MiniMate is distributed under the terms of the GPL.

Homepage, Version and Download

Up-to-date informations about MiniMate are available from To stay tuned with current developments contact please <>.

The version of MiniMate is An archive of this version is available from this site and from (daily updates) and can be used on all operating systems.

MiniVend 4.00 and higher is required to running MiniMate.

Additionally there is a older version of MiniMate for the 3.x series of MiniVend. These (MiniMate- requires at least MiniVend 3.12.


MiniMate can be tested at the following locations:


First unpack the sources in an arbitrary directory (not in the MiniVend installation directory): > gzip -cd minimate.tar.gz | tar -xf -
On a computer running Linux or with GNU tar the following is sufficient: > tar -xzf minimate.tar.gz
After unpacking the sources change to the directory MiniMate- Then run the install script with the installation directory of MiniVend as parameter: > perl install ~/mvend
The script checks the existence of minivend.cfg , creates a subdirectory lib/MiniMate in the installation directory and copies the necessary files into this directory.

Now you need to edit your minivend.cfg and add the following line:

#include lib/MiniMate/minimate.cfg
The administration tool is available after a restart of MiniVend. You can access it from every catalog. Use the pages admin/menu.html (with frames) resp. config/menu.html (without frames). For example, the URL to access the catalog is Then the simpler variant of MiniMate can be found at .

Please note that currently protecting the administration tool against access from other people.

Installation Problems

Term::ReadKey misses resize

Can't exec "resize": No such file or directory at /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/Term/ line 305.
Unable to get Terminal Size. The TIOCGWINSZ ioctl didn't work.
The COLUMNS and LINES environment variables didn't work.
The resize program didn't work. at /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/Term/ line 323.
make: *** No targets.  Stop.
This is a known problem with Perl and MakeMaker on Solaris. There are reports for this problem on Linux (Slackware and SuSE) where X isn't installed. Mike Heins suggested the following workaround:
    export LINES=24 COLUMNS=80
or (for Korn and similar shells)
    setenv LINES=24
    setenv COLUMNS=80
Alternatively, you may uninstall Term::ReadKey.


The administration tool should only accessible for the shop owner.

Access Control with Apache

First configure Apache to deny access to the MiniMate pages without a password:
<LocationMatch /cgi-bin/simple/+(admin|config)>
AuthType Basic
AuthUserFile /home/minivend/users
AuthName "MiniVend Administration"
require valid-user
The plus sign is necessary to protect against access with the URL /cgi-bin/simple//config/menu.html. Enter the user name of the shop owner in the catalog configuration file catalog.cfg :
RemoteUser minivend
For access to the MiniMate pages by the shop owner create empty files named .access in the directories config and admin: > rm -f /home/minivend/lib/MiniMate/pages/config/.access > touch /home/minivend/lib/MiniMate/pages/config/.access > rm -f /home/minivend/lib/MiniMate/pages/admin/.access > touch /home/minivend/lib/MiniMate/pages/admin/.access
Create files named .access_gate in the same directories to allow access by the user authentified through Apache:
*: [perl arg="config" interpolate=1]
        return 1 if $Safe{config}{RemoteUser} eq q{[data session user]};
        return 0;

Access Through the Internal Web Server

Create an non-empty file .access in all directories containing MiniMate pages.All those pages are accessible only by the shop owner defined by the catalog configuration directives RemoteUser and Password:
Variable    MV_NO_CRYPT 1
RemoteUser  demo
Password    Gu3109n
The shop owner access the MiniMate pages via the internal web server provided by the MiniVend daemon:

MiniMate Usage

Upload Images

Uploaded files could stored only below the catalog directory. Usually you deny access to files within the catalog directory to the web server due to security and data protection reasons. You have to break this golden rule to allow image upload with MiniMate. You should permit access only to the subdirectory with the images.

For image upload please choose on the page config/menu "Upload other files".


Fast Binary Searches

If you use fast binary searching (see the MiniVend documentation for more information) and edit the corresponding database table with MiniMate, the index for the binary search will not get updated. This is the case for the simple demo, where an index category for the products database exists. A workaround for this problem is to access a MiniVend page like the following after editing with MiniMate:
[index table=products

Inserting data containing single quotes fails

This error occurs with MiniVend 3.11. Please upgrade.

Edit Databases Causes Runtime Error

Pumin Wuvanich reported this problem. I was not able to reproduce it. Maybe it is related to subcatalogs. 4pedfCqg: - [30/June/1999:12:30:14 -0700] 
test01 /cgi-bin/simple/config/dbedit Runtime error: Can't use string 
("2ndDayAir") as a HASH ref while "strict refs" in use at (eval 68) line 22.
> 4pedfCqg: - [30/June/1999:12:30:31 -0700] 
test01 /cgi-bin/simple/config/dbedit Runtime error: Can't use string 
("Ground") as a HASH ref while "strict refs" in use at (eval 68) line 22.
> 4pedfCqg: - [30/June/1999:12:31:00 -0700] 
test01 /cgi-bin/simple/config/dbedit Runtime error: Can't use string 
("locale") as a HASH ref while "strict refs" in use at (eval 68) line 22.

User Administration and Access Control [4.0 only]

First you need a user database (userdb) for the catalog managed by MiniMate.


You need to add the database with the informations about user administration and access control to the catalog configuration:
Database minimate minimate.asc TAB
The database can be named differently if you set the variable MINIMATE_TABLE to the corresponding value in the catalog configuration:
Variable MINIMATE_TABLE mmcontrol
Database mmcontrol mmcontrol.asc TAB

Database Description

MiniMate stores all data concerning user administration and access control in the database minimate.
Field nameDescription
usernameMiniMate username
super1 for superusers, 0 otherwise.
yes_tablesspace-separated list of databases
no_tablesspace-separated list of databases


The internationalization of MiniMate is in progress. However, additional volunteers are needed.

A Russian, a German and a French translation has been already made.

List of MiniMate Pages

config/db_column [4.0 only]
Add or delete columns of MiniVend databases.
start page for the frameless version
upload/download of arbitrary files

MiniMate for Developers

MiniMate Extensions to the MML

directive_value NAME [PARSEVARS]
Expands to the value of the configuration directive NAME. If PARSEVARS has a truth value, the variables within the value are replaced by their value.

Undocumented Tags


Returns truth value if MiniMate access control is enabled.


Updates the localization files in the locales subdirectory.

TODO list

Bug Fixes



Clean HTML code


12. Dezember 99
New makefile target localefiles.
8. August 99
German translation from Birgitt Funk added.
5. August 99
Russian translation from Alexei Yakimovich added.
28. July 99
MiniMate pages prepared for localization.
26. July 99
Fixed searching for records (config/dbedit).
13. July 99
Help for configuration directives shows up now.
6. July 99
Fixed Makefile.PL for Win32 systems. Rewrote the install script.
29. June 99
Useless import of Data::Dumper removed.
16. June 99
Support for internationalization added.


Mike Heins for writing MaxiVend in the first place and being a invaluable resource for tips and bug fixes.

Betty Chung for preparing the MiniMate pages for localization.

Alexei Yakimovich for the Russian translation.

Birgitt Funk for the German translation.

Stephen M. LaBar, Jr. for his help to make Makefile.PL working on Win32 systems.

Kaare Rasmussen and Robert Hutchinson for reporting the resize problem and again Mike Heins for the workaround.

Bob Jordan for reporting the Data::Dumper problem.

Marc Infield for reporting a documentation bug (20000103).

Waldemar Gerr for his suggestion on documenting the installation.

Marci Beedle for reporting his problem with the documentation in respect of an MiniMate URL.


28. Februar 2000
Version released
12. July 99
Version released
30. June 99
Version released
29. June 99
Version released

Index of Directives


© 1999,2000 by Stefan Hornburg <>
Last modified 09. March 2000