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#1: FAQ 9.1 What is the correct form of response from a CGI script?

Posted on 2008-04-12 21:03:02 by PerlFAQ Server

This is an excerpt from the latest version perlfaq9.pod, which
comes with the standard Perl distribution. These postings aim to
reduce the number of repeated questions as well as allow the community
to review and update the answers. The latest version of the complete
perlfaq is at http://faq.perl.org .

------------------------------------------------------------ --------

9.1: What is the correct form of response from a CGI script?

(Alan Flavell <flavell+www@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk> answers...)

The Common Gateway Interface (CGI) specifies a software interface
between a program ("CGI script") and a web server (HTTPD). It is not
specific to Perl, and has its own FAQs and tutorials, and usenet group,
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi

The CGI specification is outlined in an informational RFC:
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3875

Other relevant documentation listed in:
http://www.perl.org/CGI_MetaFAQ.html

These Perl FAQs very selectively cover some CGI issues. However, Perl
programmers are strongly advised to use the CGI.pm module, to take care
of the details for them.

The similarity between CGI response headers (defined in the CGI
specification) and HTTP response headers (defined in the HTTP
specification, RFC2616) is intentional, but can sometimes be confusing.

The CGI specification defines two kinds of script: the "Parsed Header"
script, and the "Non Parsed Header" (NPH) script. Check your server
documentation to see what it supports. "Parsed Header" scripts are
simpler in various respects. The CGI specification allows any of the
usual newline representations in the CGI response (it's the server's job
to create an accurate HTTP response based on it). So "\n" written in
text mode is technically correct, and recommended. NPH scripts are more
tricky: they must put out a complete and accurate set of HTTP
transaction response headers; the HTTP specification calls for records
to be terminated with carriage-return and line-feed, i.e ASCII \015\012
written in binary mode.

Using CGI.pm gives excellent platform independence, including EBCDIC
systems. CGI.pm selects an appropriate newline representation
($CGI::CRLF) and sets binmode as appropriate.



------------------------------------------------------------ --------

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corrections. The perlfaq-workers also don't have access to every
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corrections to examples that do not work on particular platforms.
Working code is greatly appreciated.

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