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CGI stands for Common Gateway Interface and it's the back end of how forms work. Strictly speaking, it's the protocol that the web browser uses to talk to the server and to send it the data that you filled in, in the form. On the back end, CGI programs can be written in a number of languages. They are commonly written in Perl or PHP or ASP or something like that. These are languages that are commonly used with CGI. I have provided in the exercise files a couple of CGI scripts.
One is the test script that we saw demonstrated in the last lesson. It's very simple and this is provided so that you can install it on your server. Now, how to install it on your server is going to depend a lot on your server and there is some guidance available in another course that I have on lynda.com called Using Perl with CGI but I have provided here for your use if you would like to use it. Likewise, there is another CGI script here called mailform.cgi and this I have also provided for your use if you have a way to use it and if you have the skills or have somebody with the skills to install it on your server.
It's a very simple mail-form script, you can put in your email address up here and the mail too and it will very safely and securely go ahead and send you an email. I just want to make a note that there are other scripts out there called mailform.cgi that do have security issues. So if you go to install this on your server, your ISP may complain that Oh! That's an insecure script. You can tell them this is not the one that's insecure and they are welcome to take a look at it or even to communicate with me, and we can set their worries at ease.
Also, on my website at cgi.bw.org, there are a number of other CGI scripts including a much more sophisticated mail- form script which you can use as an alternative. Again, that's more complicated to install, and you might need some other skills to install that, and you can certainly refer to my Using Perl with CGI course for some guidance on how to do it. So again, this is about the back end. These are scripts that you can use on the back end. The purpose of the test script is simply to test your forms and also to test the process of installing scripts on your server and the mail-form script is available, or should you want to use it for sending yourself email with the form data whenever somebody submits a form on your website.
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