Last time, I wrote "We'll see if Viper survives in any form. I wouldn't be surprised if it's replaced quickly by something much better." That was what happened. mst++ recommended I check out Sequel, which I did. There's no question Sequel is a better starting point than ActiveRecord.
Dataset. If you're interested in the workings of this class, I recommend the Sequel README.rdoc. If that doesn't quench your thirst for knowledge, I recommend the beautifully-written dataset.rb and dataset/sql.rb. One can tell that this code is written by people who know stuff.
I wish to thank The Perl Foundation for sponsoring the Web.pm effort.