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0.3. Overview of the Book

Chapter 1, "Getting Started " presents a general introduction to CGI, including history, web server configuration, and a sample CGI script.

Chapter 2, "The Hypertext Transport Protocol " through Chapter 4, "Forms and CGI" cover the basics of using CGI. We begin with an overview of HTTP and then see how CGI builds upon it. We then look at HTML forms, which are a common way to pass information to CGI scripts.

Chapter 5, "CGI.pm" and Chapter 6, "HTML Templates" look at several popular modules available to help us write CGI scripts easily. We also compare different strategies for generating dynamic HTML output.

Chapter 7, "JavaScript" looks at how a different technology, JavaScript, can be used with CGI scripts to create more powerful solutions.

Chapter 8, "Security" through Chapter 13, "Creating Graphics on the Fly" present solutions to challenges and tasks that CGI scripts commonly face. These chapters include general topics such as online security, storing permanent data, and tracking users across pages, as well as more specific topics such as sending email, allowing users to search your site, and creating dynamic images.

Chapter 14, "Middleware and XML" covers middleware and XML, which enable your CGI scripts to provide an interface with other information servers.

Chapter 15, "Debugging CGI Applications" through Chapter 17, "Efficiency and Optimization" explain how to write better CGI scripts by discussing strategies for debugging CGI scripts, guidelines for writing good code, and how to improve performance.

The book also includes two appendixes, which contain a list of sources where you can find more information about CGI, and information on downloading code from CPAN.

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