[thelist] Basic CGI questions; LONG POST

Scott Dexter sgd at ti3.com
Thu Mar 22 16:16:14 CST 2001

> I note that there is a folder on the server called cgi-bin, 
> and it contains
> two .exe files: htimage.exe and imagemap.exe .  While it thus 
> appears that

these are stubs that the FrontPage extensions use to execute image maps

> programs in the CGI bin, does that mean we do not yet have a
> forms-processing application? And, if that's the case, do you 

correct. The default install does not include anything (except some samples
in the docs) out of the box to process forms.

> all have any
> recommendations for a reliable forms processing application 
> that we could
> purchase?

Hire an ASP dude for a couple hours (there are a few on this list who would
be happy to freelance); it would be much less painful than trying to get
vapor-wrapped software to run....

> And... going further... once we get a forms processing app, I 
> know it must
> be installed in the cgi-bin folder... will it be that app's 

doesn't have to be, actually. But because best practices say cgi programs
(and server side scripts) should be in their own directory because they have
different file permissions than html and image files, cgi-bin is the de
facto standard.

> documentation
> that tells me what bit of code I need to put into my .html 
> documents to make
> them "talk" to that app when the user submits their form? Or is this
> something that's standard for all such apps? 

that code is the <form> tag and its action attribute =)

> I correct in
> understanding that this is accomplished by the CGI app 
> generating an email
> message containing the data in a readable format? And that a 
> quality forms
> processing app will include this capability without 
> additional programming
> from me? 


> And finally... of course, it would be great if somehow all this data
> contained in these emails would automatically dump into a 
> database file so
> we could manage it for marketing purposes without having to 
> hand-enter it.
> Is that also a CGI function? And if not, what type of 
> function IS that, and
> does it then still make sense to use CGI for forms processing 
> if we are
> going to want the database function as well anyway? 

The CGI would indeed take care of the db interaction.

Janet, you have a decent hold on what pieces you need (congrats =) ). I
suggest hiring a backender for a couple hours, and maybe an extra hour or
two for hand-off education (so you know the how's and why's).

good luck, let us all know how it turns out (I'm positive you're not the
only one going through this)

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