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SSI Specification

Unfortunately, there is no formal set of specifications for SSI that applies to the servers of all manufacturers. There is NCSA SSI documentation available at http://hoohoo. ncsa.uiuc.edu/docs/tutorials/includes.html, but the syntax and usage given applies only to NCSA-style Web servers, like the Apache Web server. Even so, most Web servers follow the basic rules outlined by NCSA, and usually there are only minor variances from the basic rules. We'll cover the rules that apply to the NCSA's documentation because they'll probably be compatible with the Web server you are using.

  • Unlike many protocols, options, and interfaces, SSI isn't governed by an Internet RFC (Request For Comment) or other standard. Each server manufacturer is free to implement SSI on an ad hoc basis, including whichever commands suit the development team's fancy and using whatever syntax strikes it as reasonable. Some servers, such as the freeware EMWAC server for Windows NT, don't support SSI at all.

  • No one can give you a list of commands and syntax rules that apply in all situations. Most servers follow NCSA's specification up to a point. Although you may not find the exact commands, you can probably find functions similar to those in NCSA's arsenal.

  • Because SSI isn't defined by a standard, server developers tend to modify their implementations of SSI more frequently than they modify other things. Even if I listed all the known servers and how they implement SSI today, the list would be out of date by the time you read this book.

  • The only way to determine which SSI functions your server supports and which syntax your server uses for each command is to find and study your server's documentation. This chapter shows you the most common functions on the most common servers, and you'll probably find that the syntax is valid. However, the only authority is your particular server's documentation, so get a copy and keep it handy as you work through this chapter.


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