Writing for the Web: A Primer for Librarians
by Eric H. Schnell
Most Web servers support one variation or another of a standard
for adding your own programs to the web server. The standard is called
the Common Gateway Interface (CGI). A plain HTML document is a static text file that
doesn't change. A CGI program, on the other hand, is executed in
real-time, so that it can output dynamic information.
For example, if you wanted to make your online catalog available on the the World Wide Web, a CGI program would
need to be created that would be executed to transmit information to the database engine, receive the results
back again, and then display them on screen. There are also numerous sites which create their content dynamically using CGI rather than a commercial database solution.
is an interpreted language optimized for scanning arbitrary text files,
extracting information from those text files, and printing reports based
on that information. It's also a good language for many system management
tasks. Perl is intended to be a practical, easy to use, and efficient. Perl's process, file, and text manipulation facilities make
it well-suited for tasks involving database access, graphical programming, and Web programming.
Perl author Larry Wall advocated a free and open distribution policy for Perl. The core of the language, the standard Perl library, the optional modules, and the documentation is written and maintained by volunteers.
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