CGI: What the Heck Is That?

Written by Richard Lowe

Let's unlock a little bit ofrepparttar mystery about something called CGI. If it helps any, CGI means Common Gateway Interface. This is a method which is used to exchange data betweenrepparttar 107132 server (the hardware and software that actually allows you to get to your web site) and a web client (your browser). CGI is actually a set of standards where a program or script (a series of commands) can send data back torepparttar 107133 web server where it can be processed.

Typically, you use standard HTML tags to get data from a person, then pass that data to a CGI routine. The CGI routine then performs some action withrepparttar 107134 data.

Some ofrepparttar 107135 more common uses of CGI include:

- Guestbooks - The CGI routine is responsible for acceptingrepparttar 107136 data, ensuring it is valid, sending an email acknowledgement back torepparttar 107137 writer, perhaps sending an email torepparttar 107138 webmaster, and creatingrepparttar 107139 guestbook entry itself.

- Email Forms - A simple CGI forms routine just formatsrepparttar 107140 data into an email and sends it back torepparttar 107141 webmaster. More complicated routines can maintain a database, send an acknowledgement and validate data.

- Mailing List Maintenance - These routines allow visitors to subscribe and unsubscribe from a mailing list. In this case,repparttar 107142 CGI routine maintains a database of email addresses, andrepparttar 107143 better ones send acknowledgements back torepparttar 107144 visitor and webmaster.

A CGI routine can be anything which understandsrepparttar 107145 CGI standard. A popular CGI language is called PERL, which is simple to understand and use (well, compared to other languages). PERL is a scripting language, which means each time a PERL routine is executedrepparttar 107146 web server must examinerepparttar 107147 PERL commands to determine what to do. In contrast, a compiled language such as C++ or Visual Basic can be directly executed, which is faster and more efficient.

Okay, in a nutshell (and greatly simplified), here's how it works:

1) You (the webmaster) specify a form tag which includesrepparttar 107148 name ofrepparttar 107149 CGI routine.

2) You create HTML tags which retrieves data from your visitors.

How to Stop Digital Thieves with CGI

Written by Steve Humphrey

I'm going to assume you're serious about your business. If you're not, I can't help you anyway. You've gone as far as getting a real merchant account to accept credit card payments online.

You know that this was neither easy or cheap. So does everyone else! So, a merchant account shows that you've made a serious commitment to your business. That's good for customer confidence, which is good for business. So far so good...

Now there'srepparttar issue of selling stuff to people online. Your order form leads them to feed their credit card info to a secure gateway, using software you bought or leased from (or through) your merchant account provider. Finally,repparttar 107131 transaction is approved or denied.

If approved,repparttar 107132 software generates a receipt and emails you andrepparttar 107133 customer each a copy. At this point,repparttar 107134 customer is returned to a page you specified. Inrepparttar 107135 case of downloadable products, this is oftenrepparttar 107136 page where they download your product. So, you've gotrepparttar 107137 entire process fully automated.

For a product or service with a fairly low price point and a potential for many thousands of sales, this seems ideal. You can quite literally make sales and earn income 24 hours a day. So, what'srepparttar 107138 problem?

The form code on your order page isrepparttar 107139 problem. If someone usesrepparttar 107140 ViewSource function of their browser, they can see all your code. If they have even a tiny bit of initiative and skill, they can locaterepparttar 107141 URL of your download page. After all, it's right there in your form code!

CGI provides two ways of fixing this problem. One involves using a script that makes it impossible to viewrepparttar 107142 source code. You can find a source for such a script by searchingrepparttar 107143 web. Expect to pay a lot for this technology.

Another way is to makerepparttar 107144 return path a script instead ofrepparttar 107145 actual download location. The script would be used to create and displayrepparttar 107146 download page. It would not be visible torepparttar 107147 surfer, since it's not an HTML document. The script can also record details ofrepparttar 107148 transaction for book-keeping purposes.

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