Top positive review
Treasure chest of techniques, ideas, and starting points.
on 20 November 1997
Lots of books say they take a "learn-by-example" approach, but CGI/Perl Cookbook does so in a big way. It offers line-by-line breakdowns of seven commercial-quality CGI programs and a library of reusable subroutines, all developed just for this book. So you can figure out exactly what's going on in a program at any given point.
The book makes no assumptions about previous experience with CGI or Perl, so beginners can use it right off the bat. But if you're a more-experienced programmer you'll appreciate the many rich lessons contained in its more than 10,000 lines of example code and the explanations that accompany them. You'll find a treasure chest of techniques, ideas, and starting points for crafting your own CGI masterpieces. You can install programs that offer features you don't have, or borrow features from these programs and insert them into your own programs. If you've mastered CGI or Perl already you could probably write any of the programs in the book, but why bother when the authors have already done the work for you?
For each program you'll find a detailed list of features, a usage guide, complete installation and configuration instructions, a line-by-line explanation of how the program or subroutine code works, and some ideas for enhancing the code.
CGI/Perl Cookbook includes programs to:
- let users download files from your site and search your file directories
- process form input, with features like checking for missing form fields, automatically sending customized e-mail replies, and sending files to respondents
- send e-mail messages to all entries in an ASCII database file containing an e-mail addresse-great for sending personalized e-mail messages to site visitors
- add shopping capabilities to your Web site (including order tracking, tax and shipping calculation, etc.)
- collect guestbook feedback, with a rich set of related features and options
- add access statistics to Web pages, track access to external links on your pages, and more
- add password access to your site or individual pages
The book's subroutines handle a range of functions including file encoding, credit-card validation, e-mail address checking, error handling, date formatting, file locking, form parsing, basic encryption, the ability to send e-mail messages from any computer connected to the Internet, and more. And the appendices give you tips on CGI debugging, information on CGI environment variables, insights on CGI security, a CGI/Perl resource guide, and more. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more practical or useful guide to using CGI and Perl.