Here is an excellent description that my editor, Andy Oram, wrote up:
Simply put, a script is a program! OK, OK, there are semantic differences between the two words. If you really want to know, pick up a book on computer programming (or is that computer scripting :-)
You can create a lot of magic by writing a CGI program/script. You can create graphics on the fly, access databases and return results, and connect to other Internet information servers.
The answer is located in the first three lines of the Perl manpage:
Most CGI applications involve manipulating data in some fashion and accessing external programs and applications. Perl provides easy-to-use tools that make these tasks a cinch.
Here is a list of books on CGI and Perl. I got this list from Cye H. Waldman:
Here is a table of books and CD-ROMS about CGI and Perl:
There is a very useful newsgroup: comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi, that is "monitored" by numerous CGI experts. However, you should not post a question to this group (or any other group, for that matter), until you have read the FAQ.
Various mailing lists for CGI and the Web exist, as well. Here are two of the most popular:
This list is for those who are writing or interested in writing Perl 5 modules for CGI. It is not intended for any type of CGI support.
Tim Bunce (Tim.Bunce@ig.co.uk) wrote several elegant and useful CGI modules, although they are currently maintained by Lincoln Stein (firstname.lastname@example.org). These modules are located at:
Lincoln has also written an excellent book on the Web and CGI (see the preceding table).
libwww-perl is a Perl library that provides a simple and consistent programming interface to the Web.
You can access the Perl 4 distribution at:
The Perl 5 libwww modules are located at:
Are there archives on the net of mailings or postings about this?
Yes, look at:
The Usenet Newstand (http://CriticalMass.com/Concord/)
All of the comp.infosystems.www.* newsgroups are archived. In addition, the cgi-perl and libwww mailing lists are archived as well.