Martin R.J. Cleaver > cvswebedit-v2.0b1 > CGI::Base

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NAME ^

CGI::Base - HTTP Daemon Common Gateway Interface (CGI) Base Class

SYNOPSIS ^

    use CGI::Base;
        
    $cgi = new CGI::Base;       # reads vars from environment
        
    $cgi->var($name);           # get CGI variable value
    $cgi->var($name, $value);   # set CGI variable value
        
    @names  = $cgi->vars;       # lists standard CGI variables
        
    $mime_type  = $cgi->accept_best(@mime_types);
    $preference = $cgi->accept_type($mime_type);
        
    $cgi->pass_thru($host, $port); # forward request to server
    $cgi->redirect($url);          # redirect client
        
    $cgi->done($dump);     # end response, does NOT send </BODY>
        
    $cgi->exit(@log_msgs); # exit, optionally logging messages
        
        
    # Other functions:
        
    @escaped_texts = html_escape(@texts);   # '>' -> '&lt;' etc
    @texts         = html_br_lines(@texts); #  \n -> '<BR>'
        
    SendHeaders();  # send and flush HTTP header(s)
        
    CGI::Base::Debug($level);

DESCRIPTION ^

This module implements a CGI::Base object. This object represents the interface between the application and an HTTP deamon.

In a typical CGI scenario the interface is just a collection of environment variables. This module makes those variables available either via a $cgi->var() method or optionally as plain perl variables (see IMPORTING CGI VARIABLES below). Small scripts will tend to use the imported variables, larger scripts may prefer to use the var method.

By default the CGI::Base class will transparently deal with POST and PUT submissions by reading STDIN into $QUERY_STRING.

The CGI::Base module simplifies CGI debugging by providing logging methods (which redirect STDERR to a file) and a very handy test mode. The test mode automatically detects that the script is not being run by a HTTP server and requests test input from the user (or command line).

IMPORTING CGI VARIABLES

Users of this module can optionally import the CGI values as ordinary perl variables of the same name into their package. For example, saying:

    use CGI::Base qw(:DEFAULT QUERY_STRING REQUEST_METHOD);

will allow you to refer to the CGI query string and request method as simply $QUERY_STRING and $REQUEST_METHOD. Any changes made to these variables will be reflected in the values returned by the var() method.

To import all the fixed CGI variables (excludes optional variables string with HTTP_) use:

    use CGI::Base qw(:DEFAULT :CGI);

NOTES

The CGI::Base class has been specifically designed to enable it to be subclassed to implement alternative interfaces. For example the CGI::MiniSvr class implements a 'mini http daemon' which can be spawned from a CGI script in order, for example, to maintain state information for a client 'session'.

The CGI::Base class (and classes derived from it) are not designed to understand the contents of the data they are handling. Only basic data acquisition tasks and basic metadata parsing are performed by CGI::Base. The QUERY_STRING is not parsed.

Higher level query processing (parsing of QUERY_STRING and handling of form fields etc) is performed by the CGI::Request module.

Note that CGI application developers will generally deal with the CGI::Request class and not directly with the CGI::Base class.

FEATURES

Object oriented and sub-classable.

Exporting of CGI environment variables as plain perl variables.

Supports pass_thru and redirection of URL's.

Extensible attribute system for CGI environment variables.

Very handy automatic test mode if script is run manually.

PRINCIPLES and ASSUMPTIONS

These basic principles and assumptions apply to CGI::Base and can be built into any application using CGI::Base. Any subclass of CGI::Base, such as CGI::MiniSvr, must uphold these principles.

STDIN, STDOUT are connected to the client, possibly via a server.

STDERR can be used for error logging (see open_log method).

%ENV should not be used to access CGI parameters. See ENVIRONMENT section below.

ENVIRONMENT

The CGI::Base module copies all the CGI/1.1 standard environment variables into internal storage. See the definition of %CgiEnv and @CgiObj. The stored values are available either via the var method or as exported variables.

It is recommended that $ENV{...} is not used to access the CGI variables because alternative CGI interfaces, such as CGI::MiniSvr, may not bother to maintain %ENV consistent with the internal values. The simple scalar variables are also much faster to access.

RECENT CHANGES

2.6

Changes to create compatability with CGI::Form.

2.5

Miscellaneous small bug fixes.

2.4

get_url() now adds SERVER_PORT to the url. pass_thru() split into component methods forward_request() and pass_back(). The new forward_request method can shutdown() the sending side of the socket. SendHeaders does nothing and returns undef if called more than once. All these changes are useful for sophisticated applications.

2.2 and 2.3

Slightly improved documentation. Added html_br_lines() to purify html_escape(). Added SIGPIPE handling (not used by default). Documented the automatic test mode. Assorted other minor clean ups.

2.1

Added support for any letter case in HTTP headers. Fixed (worked around) a perl/stdio bug which affected POST handling in the MiniSvr. Added $ENTITY_BODY to hold the Entity-Body for PUT, POST and CHECKIN methods. $QUERY_STRING now only set from $ENTITY_BODY if CONTENT_TYPE is application/x-www-form-urlencoded. Changed some uses of map to foreach. Slight improved performance of pass_thru.

2.0

A major overhaul. Now much more object oriented but retaining the ability to export CGI variables. A new var() method provides access to CGI variables in a controlled manner. Some rather fancy footwork with globs and references to hash elements enables the global variables and hash elements to be automatically kept in sync with each other. Take a look at the link_global_vars method. An export tag is provided to simplify importing the CGI variables.

The new code is also much faster, mainly because it does less. Less work is done up front, more is defered until actually used. I have removed the 'expand variables' concept for now. It might return later. The code for read_entity_body(), get_vars_from_env() and accept_best() and many others has been revised. All the code now compiles with use strict;

SendHeaders can now be told to automatically add a server Status-Line header if one is not included in the headers to be output. This greatly simplifies header handling in the MiniSvr and fixes the redirect() method.

The module file can be run as a cgi script to execute a demo/test. You may need to chmod +x this file and teach your httpd that it can execute *.pm files.

1.17

The done method no longer sends </BODY>. It was appealing but inappropriate for it to do so. Added html_escape function and exported it by default (this should be moved into an HTML module once we have one). Applied html_escape to as_string. ContentTypeHdr, LocationHdr, StatusHdr and ServerHdr no longer exported by default. Added Debug function. Set default Debug level to 0 (off). Code to set $URI is no longer invoked by default and has been moved to a new get_uri method. This avoids the overhead for setting $URI which few people used. Methods like as_string which make use of $URI now call get_uri if needed.

1.16

POST data read more robust. fmt() renamed to as_string(). pass_thru() now takes host and port parameters, applies a timeout and has better logging. HTTP_REFERER defined by default. Assorted fixes and tidyups.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

Full pod documentation.

None of this is perfect. All suggestions welcome.

How reliable is CONTENT_LENGTH?

Pod documentation for the methods needs to be added.

Header handling is not ideal (but it's getting better). Header handling should be moved into an HTTP specific module.

Need mechanism to identify a 'session'. This may come out of the ongoing HTTP security work. A session-id would be very useful for any advanced form of inter-query state maintenance. The CGI::Base module may have a hand in providing some form of session-id but would not be involved in any further use of it.

For very large POST's we may need some mechanism to replace read_entity_body on a per call basis or at least prevent its automatic use. Subclassing is probably the 'right' way to do this.

These functions should be moved out into a CGI::BasePlus module since few simple CGI applications need them: pass_thru, forward_request, pass_back, new_server_link, pass_thru_headers. The CGI::BasePlus module would still be a 'package CGI::Base;'.

AUTHOR, COPYRIGHT and ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This code is Copyright (C) Tim Bunce 1995. All rights reserved. This code is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

This code includes ideas from the work of Steven E. Brenner <S.E.Brenner@bioc.cam.ac.uk> (cgi-lib), Lincoln Stein <lstein@genome.wi.mit.edu> (CGI.pm), Pratap Pereira <pereira@ee.eng.ohio-state.edu> (phttpd) and possibly others.

IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS BE LIABLE TO ANY PARTY FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE AND ITS DOCUMENTATION (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOST PROFITS) EVEN IF THE AUTHORS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

SEE ALSO

URI::URL, CGI::Request, CGI::MiniSvr

SUPPORT

Please use comp.infosystems.www.* and comp.lang.perl.misc for support. Please do _NOT_ contact the author directly. I'm sorry but I just don't have the time.

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