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Part IV: Interacting with Your Users > CGIs and Data Gathering

Chapter 16. CGIs and Data Gathering

In Chapter 15, “Adding HTML Forms,” you got an in-depth look at creating and formatting HTML forms. In this chapter, you’ll see the other side of HTML forms—gathering the data and reporting back to the user. This is accomplished using scripts, small programs that are stored on the Web server computer. Form data is sent to these scripts, as specified in the action attribute to the <form> element. Once the script receives the form data from the Web server, it should look through that data, compute what it needs to compute, and reply to the user. In this chapter, we look at the components that make up this back-end system, and you’ll get a taste of the scripting that’s required to make this all work.

This chapter discusses the following:

  • The fundamentals of the Common Gateway Interface, including the languages you can use and why you’d use them

  • How scripts work, how data is passed to a script, and how the script replies to the user’s browser

  • Finding and using scripts on the Web, or writing your own


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