Author Avatar CGI & Perl Scripts

by Webnme2 on Mar 20th 2010

CGI & Perl

Scripts in General

CGI Resources

Perl Resources

About CGI Scripts:

CGI stands for “Common Gateway Interface.” You can use a CGI script, if you have access to a “cgi-bin” directory on the server hosting your website. Typically the permissions for this directory are set to allow the script to execute and to write. If you do not have access to a directory with these permissions set, you will not be able to use CGI Scripts.

CGI and Perl Scripts are server-side scripts that require you to have a directory like cgi-bin with certain permissions set that allow read, write access.

JavaScript and Java Applets are client-side and depend on the client-agent (browser) to work. If an individual is spooked into believing that these are bad things and goes into settings, he/she can turn off these features in a web browser. Some government agencies and corporations routinely turn-off java and sometimes even javascript. When that happens, nothing that you’ve put on your page using java or javascript is going to be visible to the end-user.

Because client-side scripts are dependent on the user, most website operator prefer to use server-side scripts whenever possible. They are faster and in almost every case are not blocked by firewalls or browser settings. However, some functional benefits of javascript just can’t be easily replicated using cgi or perl. So you are still going to see lots of javascript. When you use javascript for navigation, you want to make sure that it degrades gracefully; e.g., if javascript is turned off, then some or all navigation is still possible by alternative means. For example, you have a primary javascript menu and if it fails you have text links somewhere else on the page – say on the bottom. In some scripts you will find that if javascript is turned off, the links are still there for something. The main link that remains is usually to a page with links that would show up in a cascading or drop-down menu for example. In other words when you use javascript for navigation you plan also to have a secondary method of navigation so that your page is not totally dependant on it. Those users that use javascript get a better page. Those that don’t may work harder, but get the same information.

Typical Uses: Website counters, guestbooks, calendars, and more.

Substitutes: If you do not have access to a “cgi-bin” directory, you can still get web counters, guestbooks, and similar programs for your website by using free services at other websites that will host them for you.

About Webnme2

The author's first experience with computers was with Fortran IV. Wow that's ancient. After graduate school, he taught history for a number of years at a community college before becoming an attorney. In 1997 he changed careers to become a web developer/designer with an interest in all things web related. He currently maintains several dozen websites. This is his personal blog. The opinions expressed are his own.

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