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Web Design in a Nutshell by Jennifer Niederst

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Demystifying CGI

Often designers assume that cgi-bin contains things beyond our comprehension. It’s time to look behind the curtain! Although it is true that creating Perl and C scripts from scratch requires programming experience, you can still take advantage of the power of scripts by using one that is already made.

Many web-hosting services offer a library of standard CGI scripts that are already installed on their servers. In that case, all you may need to do is point to the script from your page. Some hosting providers will also allow you to upload scripts of your own.

There are a number of great resources for CGI scripts on the Web, including scripts that process forms and send their contents in formatted email messages. Many of them are available for free and include exhaustive documentation that leads even a novice through the process of customizing and installing the script on the server. Some of the more popular CGI archives include:

Matt’s Script Archive

http://www.worldwidemart.com/scripts/

A collection of free and useful scripts written by Matt Wright (including FormMail discussed later in this chapter) with excellent documentation for configuring.

The CGI Resource Index

http://www.cgi-resources.com/

A complete index of over 1200 CGI-related resources. This site is compiled by Matt Wright of Matt’s Script Archive.

Selena Sol’s Public Domain CGI Script Archive

http://www.extropia.com/Scripts/

“A public service website developed out of the late-night scripting expeditions ...

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