Re: CGI/1.0: last call (fwd)

John Franks (
Sat, 4 Dec 1993 10:09:42 -0600 (CST)

According to Ari Luotonen:

> Good!
> As for Location:, if the returned URL is not full, but has a #label
> in the end, the server either has to do a redirection anyway, or
> you'll have to mark this as illegal.
> Could you give me an example of PATH_INFO, PATH_TRANSLATED and
> SCRIPT_NAME, if I have a request:
> /htbin/script/foo/bar?a=b&c=d
> I didn't fully understand them... Thanks!
> -- Cheers, Ari --

Generally very good. I have no problems with the spec. I also would
like to see the examples Ari mentions. In fact it would be nice if
there were simple minded examples of almost everything. Not example
scripts, but something along the lines of

Script writes to stdout:


Server action:

Issues HTTP/1.0 redirect message redirecting to URL


Also I find the following passage somewhat unclear:

> The command line is only used in the case of an ISINDEX query. It is
> not used in the case of an HTML form or any as yet undefined query
> type. The server should search the query information for a non-encoded
> + character to determine if the command line is to be used.

> If the server finds one, it will decode the query information by first
> splitting it on the pluses given in the URL. It will then perform the
> additional decoding before placing the resulting words on
> argv[1....].

> If the server finds that it cannot send the string due to internal
> limitations (such as exec() or /bin/sh command line restrictions) the
> server should include NO command line information and provide the
> non-decoded query information in the environment variable

I assume the query information is everything after the ? in the URL.
Will the client always put a + in this string? What if it is a single
word search term? I guess I don't understand how the + works to
determine whether or not to use the command line. What does the
server do if there is no + so it shouldn't the commannd line?
(presumably it does the same thing it does when command line
retstrictions prevent it from using the command line.) Examples here
would help a lot. Probably I don't understand this because I haven't
been paying attention, but of course new people will need to read this
document without the benefit of the discussion in its creation.

Should the server always put the query information in the variable
QUERY_STRING, even when using the command line?

I have no quibble, but is there a rationale for decoding for the
command line and not for the QUERY_STRING? Also a reference to what
it means to decode the query information, i.e. say it means the
standard URL decoding and give a reference for that.

A final nit. I would find it easier to read (and print) if it were a
single html doc with internal links rather than several html docs with

John Franks Dept of Math. Northwestern University