Re: CGI spec revisited

Laura Lemay, Killer of Trees (
Sat, 29 Apr 1995 23:23:38 +0500

>> Is there any interest for a new look at the CGI spec? I don't just mean at
>> NCSA....
>Yes. For example, what purpose does PATH_TRANSLATED serve? It appears
>to be a catentation of the document root and the PATH_INFO, which is
>superfluous if both those are available. If this is correct, it should
>be deprecated in a coming CGI version.

Um, not really. User directories don't map onto document root. And
CERN allows mapping of wildly differing file system paths onto virtual URL
paths (there's no concept of a single DocumentRoot in CERN's httpd as
there is in NCSA). Without PATH_TRANSLATED, it becomes impossible to figure
out where the actual file system location of the file in PATH_INFO is
(which sounds an awful lot like the problem that DOCUMENT_ROOT is supposed
to be solving?)

Just as a side note I wish there was a better way of passing file
names back to the server than in the path info. It looks really wierd
in the URL and it only allows you to pass back a single name. I'd rather
there was a generic method of translating virtual paths to actual
path names that I could use in my scripts. If this existed, there woulnd't
be a need for a DOCUMENT_ROOT environment variable at all -- just translate
"/" and you're done.

But I do agree that if NCSA is making unilateral changes to CGI that someone
needs to revisit the spec and update the docs. Remember, the "C" stands for