A CGI script runs as a new process each time a client requests it. Process startup time, interpreter initialization, connection to databases, and script initialization add up to measurable overhead. On fast, modern server platforms, the overhead is bearable for light to moderate loads. On a busy server, CGI may not scale up well. Web servers support many server-specific ways to reduce overhead, running scripts in processes that can serve for several hits rather than starting up a new CGI process per hit.
Microsoft’s ASP (Active Server Pages) is a server extension that leverages a lower-level library, ISAPI, and Microsoft’s COM technology. Most ASP pages are coded in the VBScript language, but ASP is language-independent. As the reptilian connection suggests, Python and ASP go very well together, as long as Python is installed with the platform-specific
win32all extensions, specifically
ActiveScripting. Many other server extensions are cross-platform, not tied to specific operating systems.
The popular application server Zope (http://www.zope.org) is a Python application. If you need advanced management features, Zope (and the higher-level content-management system Plone, http://plone.org/, built on top of Zope) should be among the solutions you consider. Zope and Plone are large, powerful systems and need full books of their own to do them justice. I do not cover Zope and Plone further in this book.
FastCGI lets you write scripts similar to CGI scripts, ...