CGI Programming Unleashed

28 July 2007 |

The first things you should know about Common Gateway Interface (CGI) are what it is and why it is used. CGI is a standard whose specification defines a way for Web servers to communicate with external programs, and vice versa, so that the external program can generate HTML, images, or whatever, and have the server treat it the same as HTML, images, and so on not generated by an external program. The reason CGI is used is so you can generate dynamic content with the same ease that you generate static content. CGI is used because it is a very well defined and supported standard, and without CGI, dynamic content would have been impossible without proprietary server methods (now, there are alternatives to CGI that are becoming standard).

There are many useful applications of CGI programs. But, as with every other technology, CGI programs have their limits. Also, as with many other technologies, it is not always the best way to do things. For this reason, this chapter will go over what CGI programs can and cannot do, and what CGI based apps are good and bad for.

For comparison's sake, I use Java as the applet language...

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