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Server-Side Includes

Server-side includes, or SSIs, were among the earliest add-ons to Web servers. SSIs are used to include certain text files or server variables in your Web documents. For instance, if you store a text document (even a snippet of XHTML code) that includes the header you use for multiple pages on your Web site, you can use an SSI command to include that code on the relevant pages. Then, the server pieces the document together and sends it to the requesting browser as if it were all one file stored on the server.

Along with text files, SSIs can be used to include certain environment variables. SSIs depend entirely on your Web server software—there’s no official standard, and SSIs can be implemented in any way that the server desires. Generally, these commands are fairly simple, but they can be effective. For instance, SSIs can be used to include the current date, the current URL, information about the user’s browser, and other environment variables. In addition, many servers implement Web counters using SSI, and you can often execute a small CGI script and put the results on your page.


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