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From Joshua Slive <sl...@finance.commerce.ubc.ca>
Subject Re: CGI tutorial
Date Sun, 12 Nov 2000 00:03:11 GMT
On Sat, 11 Nov 2000, Rich Bowen wrote:

> Just what we need. Yet another CGI tutorial. But I thought it might be
> useful to have an introductory CGI tutorial in the Apache docs, and,
> hey, I've already written it.
> 
> For your rewiew and comments, here 'tis. Please be ruthless, as before,
> and we'll try to get it into the docs in the next week or so.
> 

Very nice!

Here's some suggestions:

(As always, I am perfectly willing to make these changes myself after
you commit if you approve of them but don't want to make them yourself.)

1. It would be very good to reference the CGI specification (or simply
reference the FAQ that references it).

2. I think that you should really say a few words about how the server
communicates with CGI scripts: ie environment variables, and (for POST
requests) standard input.  A link to the env.html doc might be good.

3. In your "outside scriptalias" section, you are missing the AddHandler
cgi-script stuff.

4. I would probably reverse the order of "explictly using Options..." and
".htaccess files".

5. A mention of suexec, perhaps under the "File permissions" section would
be appropriate.  This is especially important because Redhat ships with
suexec enabled, but with permissions that cause scripts to fail in user
directories.  They need to look in the suexec log file for more details.

6. You probably want to change "This week's column" to "This document"
or something similar.

7. It might be good to divide the "It still doesn't work" section into
three sub-sections based on what they will see in the browser:
"Forbidden", the source code of the cgi script, and "Internal Server
Error".  The first two can be very short ("Your permissions are wrong,
check the error log for more details", and "You have not properly
configured for cgi execution, see the above section".)  The third one
is almost always "Premature end of script headers", which you 
discuss further.

8. Under "Syntax errors", you probably want to mention something about the
most common problem: Wrong path to the interpreter (perl) specified 
on the first line of the script.

9. You probably should be encouraging people to check the error log rather
than discouraging them ("cryptic error logs" ;-).

Great work!

Joshua.


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