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Using CGI & Perl

CGI, or Common Gateway Interface, allows webmaster to add various interactive features to their websites, including search engines, free-4-all links pages, clocks, counters, bulletin boards and more. Using CGI, it is also possible for webmasters to manage their own advertising inventory by rotating and tracking banner adviews.

While authoring CGI code requires an advanced knowledge of various programming languages and their capabilities, there are many pre-written and pre-formatted samples of code available on the web that the average webmaster can customise and add to their pages without having any extensive knowledge of Perl/C++ or the inner workings of CGI applications.

The one skill that you'll need to learn in order to install CGI scripts on a Unix-based server is setting permissions. This can be done using most FTP programs (such as WS-FTP or CuteFTP), by selecting the file, right-clicking and selecting CHMOD. The specific CHMOD setting that you will need to configure varies from script to script, but one element remains the same. Three groups of three buttons will appear, one trilogy for owner, one for group and one for other. The buttons serve one of three functions - read, write and execute. When you are configuring individual CGI or Perl files, you will be granted instructions pertaining to the CHMOD code. The three numbers in the code indicate each of the three sections, owner, group and other. A 7 indicates that read, write and execute should all be selected. 6 means that only read and write sould be selected; 4 means read, 5 means read and execute.

With this knowledge and by knowing certain access paths to your site (these can usually be found printed on the FAQ or support section of your host's site), you should be able to use most of the codes that can be found on those sites listed below in order to jazz up your online creations. Have fun!

Free CGI Resources & Scripts

Carlos' Forms Tutorial
The CGI Resource Index
Instantaneous Introduction to CGI and Forms
Matt's Script Archive
NCSA's Overview of CGI
Ransom's Scripts

Commercial CGI Scripts

Mr CGI Guy
Solution Scripts


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