The marriage of the Web to databases is almost a necessity for any Web site to have useful information. Users don't want to visit static pages; they want the most up-to-date information. Using a database is an excellent way to maintain and present dynamic information.
To execute programs on a Web server, we use the Common Gateway Interface (CGI). The CGI module, written by Lincoln Stein, is incredibly useful for working with Perl CGI programs. The CGI does not refer to a language; CGI programs can be written not only in Perl but also in C, C++, shell, Python, BASIC, or any other language that can run on the Web server.
This chapter gives you some tips on Web-interface design, covers some of the basic HTML form tags, and shows you how to generate pages dynamically by utilizing a database.
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For a more in-depth look at Web programming, including database applications, check out my other book Writing CGI Applications with Perl (Addison Wesley, 2001). To find out more about HTML forms and HTML in general, visit http://www.w3.org for complete specifications.