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CGI scripting--best language(s) to use?

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Junior Guru Wannabe
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 43

I'm not sure if I'll bite the bullet and tackle this myself or not--I haven't done much directly with CGI scripting--but at least I want to know what I'm talking about when evaluating programmers to do this:

I need to write a relatively simple CGI script (which receives POST form input, does some math, and then writes or overwrites a text file on the server). I can't predict what servers it will need to run on--I want it to be as flexible as possible--for Unix servers, NT, Mac--all the most common possibilities--even if that means having 2 or more versions of the same program written. (I have been told, for instance, that PERL will typically run on Unix and Mac servers but not NT.)

So what language--or languages if need be--should my CGI script be in to have maximum compatibility with different server packages and OSes? And what restrictions would I stil need to be aware of before I over-promise that my script will run?

Thanks for any advice! I know enough about this to be dangerous--and I don't want to be dangerous.

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Web Hosting Master
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,750
I dun think anyone uses Mac Servers. Also Unix/Linux servers are the most common servers used on the net. Perl should not give you any problems on Unix, NT. I dunno abt Mac.

You should give PHP a too. Its easy and far more efficient then Perl.

Hope this helps!

The Php Support Desk
Custom programming - kunal @ - Ping!Zine. the FREE, FRESH and EXCITING Web Hosting Magazine...

Web Hosting Master
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: 80,000 feet under the sur
Posts: 2,736
Both PHP and Perl should be sufficient for your CGI scripting. According to, there is no Perl or CGI distribution for Mac servers. Macs rank in the lowest 0.01% for web servers anyway. If you'd like to check out what are the most commonly used web servers, check out - Apache (running on Linux/Unix) and IIS (Microsoft) dominate the market (80% in total).

If you'd like more info on CGI scripting, check out where you can get CGI scripts (and there may be one already written, waiting for you), as well as get pointers to other useful CGI/Perl resources.

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Junior Guru Wannabe
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 43

That does help. I was obviously misinformed that Perl would not work on NT. And I have learned that both Apache and Perl will work on Mac, so that should be fine. (Given that the Army switched their Web servers to Mac, it's a segment I don't want to overlook.)

PHP is new to me--I assume that's something that must be custom-installed on the server? If so, I'll stick with Perl, since servers already seem to have that, I won't necessarily be able to install anything extra on the servers I'll be using. does look like it has bits and pieces I can learn from to do this myself. Thanks.

Junior Guru Wannabe
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 43
Question 2 other questions

First, I keep running into hosts who tell me Perl only runs on a UNIX server, not NT. I assume the truth is that certain NT servers can't run Perl. What is the real issue here? If I make a Perl script and want to to tell people how to know of their server can run it, what are the main factors?

Second, can you use Perl and Active Server Pages on the same server? How?--that's something else I have been told can't be done. (I know nothing about ASP, but I'm assuming they only work on NT servers--so maybe this is the same as my first question.) If not, that sounds like a big issue if I use Perl for my server-side application. I want to make my script as universal as possible, with as few versions of it as possible.

Community Guide
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Washington, USA
Posts: 5,991
Well PERL will work on the platforms you mentioned. Tho most mac servers don't have perl installed, it can be done.

I imagine you could write it in C and it would be able to compile cleanly on all platforms if you use pure ANSI code.


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