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Official Guide to Programming with CGI.pm: The standard for building web scripts Paperback – 3 Apr 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (3 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471247448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471247449
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 1.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,400,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

CGI.pm, a Perl library for writing CGI scripts, delivers elegant solutions for using and updating Web forms. The author, Lincoln Stein, realised the need for a clean and simple way to manage forms and--as a columnist for the Perl Journal, a scientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and a Web-based software author--created that solution. He's (refreshingly) humble about this creative process, explaining that it took him a few steps until he realised the key to this HTML/Perl hybrid: simplicity.

The CGI.pm standard allows the site manager to separate data from its HTML markup for use in CGI forms. For example, all the elements in a short drop-down menu of vegetables can be placed in one array, changing this:

  • peas
  • broccoli
  • cabbage

to this:

li(["peas","broccoli","cabbage"])

to be used later throughout a Perl script.

Lincoln Stein's Guide to CGI.pm is geared toward a reader who is familiar enough with Perl to have used modules and knowledgeable about HTML and Web-site design. Stein uses CGI.pm for tables, drop-down menus, guest books, single-page or multipart forms, image maps, and cookies. The author of both the book and Perl library function, Stein provides ample discussion of all of these areas, along with strong code examples. The book ends with a verbose reference guide detailing all of CGI.pm's functions and features, grouped both alphabetically and by topic.

The use of CGI.pm requires a mind shift for Web-site managers, but it's one worth making. Instead of tags for "input" and "select", CGI.pm uses statements such as "checkbox ()" and "textfield ()", allowing documents to be read easily and updated quickly. --Jennifer Buckendorff

Review

This book should be part of every Web programmer's library. -- Internet Research, July 1999

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
This book will be an absolute necessity for CGI programmers writing in Perl. It's a description of a must-use tool by the tool's creator. It goes well beyond the online and POD documentation for CGI.pm. The example code snippets and programs are well chosen. There are a few problems: the organization of the reference section is confusing, and the descriptions of table(), Tr(), and td() don't explain how to enter attributes. (But the table examples show how to do that, so it's not much of a problem.) Summary: if you write CGI in Perl, get this book and use it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
A light-weight book (300 pages including the appendices and index) that goes straight to the point. Don't expect any lengthy explanation on Perl scripts or HTML tags as this is not the purpose of this book and the author assumes you are already proficient in those two languages. And if you are, this is the perfect reference book to understand how the "glue" called CGI.pm works. You will find all the explanations you need to use the package, with good examples that actually work, and nothing more.
The ideal companion to the O'Reilly Perl books for those who want to add life to their web pages.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robin Szemeti on 12 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
I got this book thinking "well .. its probably just the man pages and a few drawings .. " WRONG .. Lincoln Steins guide is an excellent refernce texrt fo rCGI.pm and gives you far more insight into how the module can be used than the man pages ever did. The man pages tend to suggest the OO methods as the way to use the module .. this book explains them both but also shows how much can be done using procedural methods that simply isn't mentioned in the man pages at all. if you write CGi using the GCI.pm then you need this book ..!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Great for learning; dismal for reference; rotten visually 29 Nov. 1999
By Andy Lester - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The first half of the book is a great tutorial on using the CGI.pm module. There are all sorts of tricks, and Lincoln's explanations are very good. If you want a tutorial, this is it.
However, the reference section is a mess. It's not clear how the various functions are grouped, and there are no guides in page headings to tell you where you are as you thumb through. If you're looking for a desktop reference, you're probably better off using the CGI section of "Perl In A Nutshell".
Finally, the book looks like it was thrown together in Word, with no real thought about how it would look. Chapter titles are in grey: Why?
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Necessary documentation for an excellent (FREE) product. 24 Feb. 2000
By Ken Hoppe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I rated this book as 5 stars, not because I can't see how it could be improved, but because the product it documents is so valuable, and the book is necessary to get full value from CGI.pm.
While the book's content mostly duplicates information which can be found at the CGI.pm web site, and/or in the CGI.pm source code, it does present it in a much more convenient manner, and seems to contain additional, valuable information.
I've used this book for a couple of months now, and wish to refute some of the criticism by other reviewers.
The example font is much less bold than the text, but I use reading glasses, and wouldn't even have noticed the lighter font, if it hadn't been pointed out to me in other reviews. Perhaps it doesn't photocopy well?
The reference section is a little confusing since it contains some subsections which, in turn, contain alphabetic organization, rather than being strictly alphabetic throughout. The book has a decent index, however, so this isn't a real problem. Besides the organization is beginning to make sense.
The book is not quite up-to-date with the product it documents, but publishing a book does have some turn around time after all. My boss and I could use another copy, we'll probably get one as soon as the next edition is available.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Information is invaluable but organization needs work 31 Aug. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an invaluable book for using an invaluable library module (if you do CGI coding). There is absolutely no substitute for CGI.pm. However, this book is very frustrating to use because the Reference Guide section is organized into different weird categories instead of just listing all the functions in CGI.pm in alphabetical order (like in Perl books, for example). Therefore the reader has to try to figure out what category a function in the module belongs in in order to look it up. Very very aggravating! In fact I trained a group of developers in using CGI.pm and many of them avoided using it because it takes so long to find what you're looking for in the reference section of the book. I am hoping for a new edition of the book SOON with this problem corrected. The material is invaluable, but I have to give three stars because of poor organization.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A potential winner with a few first-edition problems. 18 Jun. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book will be an absolute necessity for CGI programmers writing in Perl. It's a description of a must-use tool by the tool's creator. It goes well beyond the online and POD documentation for CGI.pm. The example code snippets and programs are well chosen. There are a few problems: the organization of the reference section is confusing, and the descriptions of table(), Tr(), and td() don't explain how to enter attributes. (But the table examples show how to do that, so it's not much of a problem.) Summary: if you write CGI in Perl, get this book and use it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Easy Web Magic 24 Sept. 2000
By Robert Bonham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is so easy to read and understand.
In about two days I was using cookies to maintain state, I have since writen a form mailer that puts data into csv, and a bunch of other cool stuff. EASY, a fast read, and you'll be able to jump right in and do a lot of cool stuff immediately.
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