Re: CGI suggestion

Rob McCool (
Thu, 30 Dec 1993 11:59:37 -0600

* Re: CGI suggestion by John Franks (
* written on Dec 28, 9:46am.
* > Marc Andreessen writes:
* > > Who is "I" in this context? If I == the server, then the server's
* > > file hierarchy is in fact known. If I == some user, then it doesn't
* > > matter one way or the other, does it (since the URL should be
* > > considered opaque anyway)? I'm probably missing something...
* >
* Well the "I" might be a server maintainer who is not fully cognizant
* of the details of CGI, and would expect something which looks like
* a path to a file to be one. Such a maintainer may not, in the best
* of all possible worlds, really *need* to know what is going on, but
* that won't prevent mail to the developers saying "File /cgi-bin/foo1/foo2
* is not in the distribution I got; where is it?"
* Also is it really clear that no future caching mechanism will ever
* need to parse the URL?

I would hope so, since the contents after the third slash are very

* > Actually you can't have a subdirectory under "/cgi-bin". Example :
* >
* > http://server/cgi-bin/subdir/script/extra_path
* >
* > With this URL server, actually, call "subdir" and not "subdir/script"

I don't understand where this impression is coming from. /cgi-bin is in no
way special, and you can in fact have multiple subdirectories under a
ScriptAlias directory (I just tried it).

* This is something that was not clear to me from reading the spec. I
* did not realize that the name "cgi-bin" was in any way special. Is,
* in fact, "cgi-bin" going to be a reserved word in http URL's? If so
* then my objection about parsing is not well founded. This is easy
* enough to parse -- it will still confuse some people though. It also
* seems like a rather artificial restriction. Am I correct in my
* understanding that this means that any subdirectory of cgi-bin is
* inaccessible to a client querying the server?
* Could we clarify the CGI spec some more?
* 1. Is "cgi-bin" a reserved directory name?


* 2. Can it be anyplace in the directory hierarchy?


* 3. Can a server have more than one cgi-bin?


* and most importantly
* 4. Is it the case that in any URL containing "cgi-bin" everything
* from the second '/' after "cgi-bin" to the end of the URL is always
* path info, optionally followed by a ? and a query string?


* If the answers to questions 1-4 are all "yes", then I will withdraw my
* suggestions. I still think this is a less than optimal syntax, but it
* is usable.