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Instant CGI/Perl

by TStanley (Canon)
on Sep 08, 2001 at 03:04 UTC ( #111069=bookreview: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
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Item Description: Learning to use the CGI module

Review Synopsis: Not worth the time or money to read.

I picked up this book in the hope of finding one that would provide an in-depth discussion of the CGI module and its various uses. What I got instead was a book that touched briefly on the CGI module, and then continued on to discuss the eXtropia Application Development Tool, which can be found on the book's companion CD, and at the eXtropia website, which used to be known as Selena Sol's Script Archive

To be fair, the book does a very good job of covering the security aspects of CGI scripts (using -T and -w, use strict, and taint checking), as well as covering some basics of web server security as well.

Overall, I found this book to be a waste of time and money. Go get KM's book, or the Rat book.

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Re: Instant CGI/Perl
by birznieks (Initiate) on Sep 08, 2001 at 10:37 UTC
    Bias Alert: This message is written by one of the co-authors. :)

    As a generic review, this one strikes me as a bit odd becuase the basis seems to be made on a single purpose: to learn more about CGI module uses.

    I agree it is a waste of time and money for the purpose you bought it for. Our intention was not to compete with KM book or the Rat book (which I am a coauthor of) and both of which you recommend for that purpose, but rather to extend something like the Rat book to include scripts that could basically just be configured and used right away -- hence the word "instant".

    I would venture to guess that you probably bought the book on-line as opposed to being able to look at the book over briefly in the bookstore. As you probably would have seen the intent more clearly soon after flipping a few pages. As it was, I suspect because you bought it for a different purpose, you were disappointed quite quickly. :(

    So if there is an on-line writeup that you feel is not representative of what the book is supposed to express, then please let us know.

    This book is primarily for those people who are more interested in "instant" CGI scripts in the sense of having a toolkit and sample code that can be extended for us in CGI as well as mod_perl and other environments including drivers for hooking the auth model for the apps into LDAP, SMB, etc. I don't know if it would interest users as experienced as PerlMonks are except that the latter half of the book (the Modules portion) may be considered interesting example of OO programming design for web including discussions of design patterns used in web programming, and concepts of why things were split out the way they were. Some may agree and some may disagree, but it's currently the most verbose writeup of an open source CGI/Perl development toolkit that exists right now.

    And of course, we're always looking to improve the toolkit. The most recent release has bits that are not covered in the book such as incorporation of Template-Toolkit ( And a more sophisticated Action Handler mechanism. We are participating in the Perl Widgets library in Source Forge as one of the next steps we feel will be interesting for the toolkit.

    So in summary, the book really serves two purposes:

    1) Provide an introduction to installing open source/freeware scripts.

    This is the primary purpose of the "instant" part including explanation of some of our more popular scripts.

    2) The 2nd part being an explanation of how we designed the toolkit.

    This is more intended for advanced users who may have their own toolkits or interested in participating in another one or just getting some ideas.

    The toolkit concept has been also borne out in the Java community which has produced a similar one called Struts which follows some of our design principles, and likewise ours follows some of theirs (eg action handlers).


      Thank you for your response to this. As a matter of fact, I got this book from Computer Books Direct (Used to be the Small Computer Book Club), as one of their monthly specials.

      As I did mention though, I did find the section concerning security very well written and extremely helpful and informative. But it was only a small part of a whole, and not enough for me to keep the book itself.

      There's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us
      about this script for Hamlet they've worked out
      -- Douglas Adams/Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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