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CGI Programming with Perl [Paperback]

Scott Guelich , Shishir Gundavaram , Gunther Birznieks
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 July 2000 1565924193 978-1565924192 2

Programming on the Web today can involve any of several technologies, but the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) has held its ground as the most mature method--and one of the most powerful ones--of providing dynamic web content. CGI is a generic interface for calling external programs to crunch numbers, query databases, generate customized graphics, or perform any other server-side task. There was a time when CGI was the only game in town for server-side programming; today, although we have ASP, PHP, Java servlets, and ColdFusion (among others), CGI continues to be the most ubiquitous server-side technology on the Web.CGI programs can be written in any programming language, but Perl is by far the most popular language for CGI. Initially developed over a decade ago for text processing, Perl has evolved into a powerful object-oriented language, while retaining its simplicity of use. CGI programmers appreciate Perl's text manipulation features and its module, which gives a well-integrated object-oriented interface to practically all CGI-related tasks. While other languages might be more elegant or more efficient, Perl is still considered the primary language for CGI.CGI Programming with Perl, Second Edition, offers a comprehensive explanation of using CGI to serve dynamic web content. Based on the best-selling CGI Programming on the World Wide Web, this edition has been completely rewritten to demonstrate current techniques available with the module and the latest versions of Perl. The book starts at the beginning, by explaining how CGI works, and then moves swiftly into the subtle details of developing CGI programs.Topics include:

  • Incorporating JavaScript for form validation
  • Controlling browser caching
  • Making CGI scripts secure in Perl
  • Working with databases
  • Creating simple search engines
  • Maintaining state between multiple sessions
  • Generating graphics dynamically
  • Improving performance of your CGI scripts

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CGI Programming with Perl + Writing CGI Applications with Perl + Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl
Price For All Three: 72.85

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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2 edition (9 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565924193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565924192
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 15.6 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 705,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

The appearance of the second edition of CGI Programming with Perl heralds the beginning of the neoclassical era of Web service. CGI--or common gateway interface--is the original back end for client-driven, dynamic Web-page service and deserves consideration as the Romulus of the Internet Empire. But, where first-edition author Gundavaram described the lonely Romulus laying the brick foundation of dynamic Web-page service in 1996, second-edition collaborators Guelich and Birznieks have pitched in to resurrect Romulus amid the crowded streets of modern Rome. Why bother? Surely four years have brought technological revolutions (Java, PHP, ASP, ColdFusion) that render CGI's original brick-by-brick approach as obsolete as, say, Roman mythology--or bricks and mortar.

And yet not. It is an ambiguous blessing that the original CGI persists, adhering to the underside of Web service by the duct tape that is Perl. This point is not missed by Guelich, Gundavaram, and Birznieks, whose advocacy of CGI is both bolstered by the growing applications module base of Perl and tempered by their awareness of CGI's structural limitations. Both new and returning readers of CGI Programming with Perl should browse the last chapter first in order to appreciate the proposed solutions to CGI's greatest sin: its impractical slowness in a world of a million-hits-per-day Web service. The chapter describes CGI-compatible FastCGI and mod_perl technologies that circumvent the process-spawning slowness of the simple CGI. Advanced users might want to skip directly to O'Reilly's fine mod_perl tome, Writing Apache Modules with Perl and C, by Lincoln Stein and Doug MacEachern.

The authors' second pass at CGI pedagogy is a lucid, honest, and expanded account that develops functionality of dynamic Web pages in a rational progression--from HTML client-server and CGI syntax basics to general input/output, forms, e-mail, graphics, and simple database applications, including maintaining client state and data persistence under the otherwise stateless HTTP protocol. The authors offer synopses of cookies, JavaScripting, server security, and XML, all of which are described in detail in other books.

Whether or not neoclassical CGI is fast enough for your purposes--perhaps for guarded intranets--bear in mind that CGI is the standard to which every other Web server has had to respond. The second edition of CGI Programming with Perl is still the best introduction to the classics. --Peter Leopold,

From the Publisher

The Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is one of the most powerful methods of providing dynamic content on the Web. CGI is a generic interface for calling external programs to crunch numbers, query databases, generate customized graphics, or perform any other server-side task. Based on the best-selling CGI Programming on the World Wide Web, this edition has been completely rewritten to demonstrate current techniques available with the module and the latest versions of Perl. Topics include incorporating JavaScript for form validation, controlling browser caching, making CGI scripts secure in Perl, working with databases, creating simple search engines, maintaining state between multiple sessions, generating graphics dynamically, and improving performance of CGI scripts.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been programming for years but only recently got big time into CGI. I think this is an excellent book from which to gain your first in depth understanding of CGI and of how to approach the many different aspects of CGI programming using Perl. (Take a look at the index to see). I bought the book, read it cover to cover and use it. It does not set out to teach Perl and assumes that you know the language but you don't need to be a guru to understand the examples. If you want to build reliable Perl programs that automate page generation, handle form data, implement shopping carts, manipulate databases and automatically send e-mails then this book will get you off to a good start.
P.S. I have seen some complaints about the number of errata. These have not bothered me in the slightest. Just get the errata pages from O'Reilly and print them out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good intro to the theory of CGI with Perl 29 May 2001
By A Customer
I found this book very useful in getting me up to speed writing simple scripts, and in adapting the scripts of others. The theory is very well explained, and the section on security a must. Since I have not copied the examples verbatim, the errors which others reported in the code had escaped me. Note, this book will not teach you Perl.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent approach to CGI 14 Oct 2000
"CGI Programming With Perl" contains sufficient elementary information in the first three chapters to ensure that the reader in conversant with the CGI and aware of its advantages and disadvantages. The fun starts with chapter four when the reader is introduced to practical problems and methods of solving them. Rather than adopting the example lead approach of so many programming books, Geulich et al concentrate on providing the facts the reader needs to be able to solve real problems. This approach is excellent and makes the book a pleasure to read - there is no need to wade through interminable examples trying to discover the facts.
This book is a great place for the would be CGI programmer to start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusingly structured and written 18 Jan 2007
I'm new to perl and cgi. I found this book poorly structured and written compared to say 'Learning Perl' by Randal Schwartz. It does give you an overview of what can be done with cgi but how to specifically implement programming tasks is often vaguely or confusingly described. I found the out of print first edition by Gundavarum more help. It is available free on the O'Reilly web site.
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