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 • Our Articles: Cgi, HTML And HTTP

To make your website more activity oriented, you need the installation and the knowledge of Cgi programming. But along with Cgi, you need to know HTML and HTTP fundamentals also. The reason behind this is that all these three work in close proximity to make your online application work.
  To explain this, first of all the HTML code defines the way the user sees your website, since HTML is the user's language and it is also responsible for collecting the input if there is some from the user side. This is called as the Human Computer Interface Code since it is the bridge between the user and your program for the interaction. Secondly, HTTP is the transport medium for sending data between your Cgi program code and the user. It actually translates the information from the user side and sends it to the server side. Lastly, the Cgi program understands both the HTTP request that comes from the client side and the working out that it needs to do on the server side. The Cgi program takes the requests from the user, works on them, gives result and sends back the result to the client side.  
  Role of HTML: The use of HTML is to give the text a particular attractive design so that the web page is colorful and pleasing! HTML is designed primarily for formatting text. The main function that is used is that of giving shape, color and quality of a web page. Now the question is, how does it connects with Cgi? The answer is that it does so through the use of HTML tags. The Cgi program can be called directly with the help of a HTML anchor tag. It can be called in manner like this:  
  <a href=" Cgi program"> text </a>  
  Therefore, HTML calls the Cgi program in the hypertext reference or link and it is not necessary for the Cgi program to be present on the client side.  
  You can also use a hypertext link to pass some extra data to your Cgi program. The only thing you have to do is to add more information link after the name of the Cgi program. This information is called as the extra path information. This extra path information is given to your Cgi program through a variable called PATH_INFO. So to put this all into an example, suppose that you create a link to your Cgi program that looks like this:  
  <a href=www.xpert4u.com/book2/chap1/program.cgi/
A Cgi Program </a>
  Thus when you select the link A Cgi program, the Cgi program named program .cgi is executed. The environment variable PATH_INFO is set to extra-path-info as application=1.  
  HTML is the language which sends dynamic data to your Cgi program at the server end. The most significant feature of the HTML form is its capability to change the data based on user input. This is what makes the HTML Form tag so commanding. The user sitting on the client side is able to send you letter, forms, requests, fill a survey and what not! Therefore, with a clear understanding of the HTML Form tag, you can build highly interactive Web pages.  
  At last, a little discussion about security issues is in place. Since a Cgi program is executable in nature, it lets the external environment make run a program on your system, which isn't the safest thing to do. Therefore, there are some safety measures that need to be put into practice when it comes to using Cgi programs. Most likely the one that will have an effect on the typical Web user the most is the fact that Cgi programs need to be located in in a particular directory, so that the Web server knows to execute the program rather than just display it to the browser. This directory is usually under straight control of the webmaster, ruling out the common user from creating Cgi programs. There are other ways to allow access to Cgi scripts, but it is up to your webmaster to set these up for you. At this point, you may want to contact them about the feasibility of allowing Cgi access.  
  If, however, if you are using other scripting languages such as PERL, TCL, or a UNIX shell, the script itself only needs to exist in in the cgi-bin directory, since there is no associated source code. Many people prefer to write Cgi scripts as a substitute of programs, since they are easier to correct, alter, and preserve than a characteristic compiled program.  
  Written by Goran Kusnjer,
E-Topbiz.com owner 
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