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Section 5. CGI/Server-side Scripts

 5.1. What are CGI scripts?

CGI scripts are executable programs that are referred to on your Web page but run on the web server. The output of these programs can also be directed to a Web page. For example, let's say that you wanted to make a guestbook on your Web page, where a form is used for people to fill in data. This data is to be then displayed on a guestbook page. Basically, you will need to create a CGI program that the server executes when somebody fills the form and hits the submit button. This program receives the data, and then displays them on the guestbook page as needed.

The CSU Channel Islands directory is an example of a CGI script. A user fills out a Web form and submits the data to a CGI program which queries the directory database and presents the output in HTML format.

CGI scripts can be written in a number of programming languages, including VBScript/ASP, PHP, and Perl.

 5.1a. What CGI programming languages are supported on CSU Channel Islands web servers?

Please contact the IT Help Desk for more information about permitted programming languages.  Please note that certain features of any supported programming languages may change or be disabled without notice.

 5.2. How do I run a script from my Web space?

Students: to run scripts, students must request creation of "enhanced" student web space through their instructor. Instructors should contact the IT Help Desk to request an "enhanced" web space on behalf of their students. Requests for enhanced web space directly from students will not be processed.

Faculty: You may run your script by placing it in any folder in your personal web space on the web server. If permissions to run this script need to be adjusted, please contact the Help Desk.

Organizations: please contact the IT Help Desk to request installation of your script.

 5.3. How do I install a script into my Web space?

Note: please review FAQ Section 5.2 for important information regarding script usage.

Upload the script to your personal or organizational web folder. The script should have one of the following extensions:

  • .pl for Perl scripts
  • .php for PHP pages
  • .asp for ASP/VBScript/JScript pages

 5.4. Why do I get a Internal Server Error page when I run my script? Why is my script not able to write to the Web page?

First, check the permissions settings on the script. If the script must write or modify files on the web server, "Modify" permission must be set on the file and/or folders that need to be added to and/or changed. Please call the Help Desk and open a work order to have the permissions adjusted.

If this fails, you may need to debug the script.