Re: CGI, semicolons, and so on...

Rich Wiggins (
Wed, 12 Jan 94 10:51:27 EST

>There is constant confusion about what the CGI specifies. Let's
>make it clear:
> CGI specifies the interface between HTTP server and
> a script: the command line args, environment variables,
> standard input and standard output.
>CGI has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with how a server decides if
>a file is executable or not.
>One server writer could use x-bits to resolve executability.
>Another could use a fixed cgi-bin directory and a fixed prefix in
>URL pathname. Another can have many of them, with generic mapping
>scheme. Yet another can just list them in its config file.
>It's all up to server implementation.

This compartmentalization of protocol specs has its advantages,
but if you step back for a second, what you've just said is that
we're deliberately designing things so as to minimize portability
of HTTP/CGI/HTML works among servers. Someone porting a corpus
that includes scripts is going to have to harvest all the
out-of-band signals and re-specify the information in the foreign
server's config files, exec bits, suffix, or whatever.

Yes, I realize we're not going to have portability of scripts
across platforms, but we seem to be explicitly defining away
compatibility across servers, even running on the same OS.

/Rich Wiggins, CWIS Coordinator, Michigan State U