View Full Version : New to the CGI/Perl world

08-13-2002, 04:10 AM
I am completely new to the cgi world. I have friends who are guru's on it, but i'm clueless. I would ask them for help, but they are the type that just says...are you really learning, if i help ya? as in figure it our self. Geesh!

Since i get no help from them...Does anyone know of any web-sites or books that would help me learn and do the cgi/perl/php/etc. stuff.

I will be starting college next year for this stuff, so would like to dive in early.



08-13-2002, 05:48 PM
I recommend two books for learning Perl:

1. Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web, Visual QuickStart Guide by Elizabeth Castro...about $20 US dollars. This will quickly get anyone started on building Perl pages, including help on installing web servers and the like.
2. Perl How to Program by Deitel...about $80 US dollars. This is for more in depth coverage of Perl, almost too much information (at least for me), but contains hundreds of links to additional resources.

08-13-2002, 10:52 PM
The Visual Black Book for Perl is a good one, then any other book that's really fat, has PERL in big letters... lol, makes a good reference. If you're gonna be working with XXnix servers, then a good nix book is an absolute necessity as well.

Then, if you have no applications to write, hang out here and read about other people's specific problems and try to solve them using your books, (if m/g don't beat you to the punch).

I've been working with perl for about 4 years, done tons of mods to many p/d programs and have them in use now, but because the capabilities of perl are almost endless, it's a daily learning process.

Last thing... a REALLY big help in learning perl/server-ops, is to drag out that old slug 233 meg pentium machine that you put in the closet a year or so ago (or go buy an old one for a hundred bucks somewhere), and install Linux and Apache on it. Set it up for networking with your PC and then you'll have your own in-house webserver available to you 24/7 for experimentation at virtually no cost.

This is one of the best ways to learn internet programming operations (Be it Java, Perl, CGI... anything) and is almost unbeatable since you "own" your own server, and have 100 percent control over everything.

It's also nice since if you screw up a program and put it into such a loop that it zaps 100 percent of the server resources, you won't get in trouble with your web-host. (I did this once a few years back...)

Good luck.

08-14-2002, 12:48 AM
Thank you,

I am using the old p2 233 machine to do my web-development and graphics. Doesn't do to bad i must say. Its to the end of its life tho, only 2,4 gigs left and its hard to get it to accept a dload. Time to upgrade, or move on.

I want to learn it all, anything and everything, or start learnig that is. In college i will be taking it, but I wanted to go into there with a lil knowledge.

I am going to the book store this week and maybe they have something on it.

Could I just use virtual machines and put linux or a nother server on here and just run it that way? Maybe not?

Thanks again for everyone's help...every little bit helps, when someone is new and eager to learn it.

08-14-2002, 01:17 AM
You're better off upgrading to anything that would be better than your old 233 for winx development stuff like graphics. If you're short on cash then opt for someone's used left over 400-500mhz machine for your working upgrade, then totally reformat your old 233 hard drive, and install a full Linux/Apache configuration. (You can download the whole thing from RedHat - (lol if you're on a 56k line you'll be d/lding for a week); or, most of the linux books come with free redhat cd's in the back of it.

There is just no substitute for having your own server for Perl and CGI development.

I understand what you're saying about working it "virtually", but even if you were to do something like this, that 233's just way to slow for it. Even if you did a full linux load on the 233, you'll hate using it with the graphics interface because it will be too slow for you... about 40% of the speed you have now using windows - (linux/unix wasn't originally designed for this kind of thing anyway, but kde etc works ok for utility purposes). Most of my standby's are 233's and work well, with win98 or linux, but.... I rarely use my linux server for anything but a server that I access using ftp/telnet and my web browser on my faster development machine on the network. Heck, once you've got a stable linux / apache config running with a network card connected to your (other) machine, you can almost disconnect the keyboard and monitor because you'll probably never need them except in a catastrophic lock up, or reboot situation. Besides that, a 233 running Apache is pretty quick too as long as you don't try to load it up with a lot of traffic and stuff like that.

Running a separate linux machine for in house development and training purposes is the BEST way to do it.... (my opinion only) and you won't have the complaints of getting cgi-bin access or perl libraries updated or anything like that with a freebie provider.

Put another way....

3 books to teach you Perl and CGI.... $95. Good.
1 Left over computer to enhance your learning curve... ~$150. Priceless.

If you're serious about learning Perl/CGI etc, and actually going to pay for courses, then this will be a great long term benefit for you, especially since you only need an old machine to do it. Last thing, you can always keep your 233 and find an old 133 with a 1 gig drive and put linux on that - (You'll never use all the space on it by keeping it as a dedicated apache machine). You should be able to find one of those beasts for $50-$75 for the cpu only; and you only need an old (almost worn out) monitor, keyboard and mouse.

This is just my opinion only, and your mileage may vary.


PS: Once you get to this point... you can also get this server on the web by using the free redirect services of DNS2GO.com.... ha, then you'll ACTUALLY see your perl/cgi apps working through the internet, instead of addressing your server as etc.

08-14-2002, 01:37 AM
If you are looking for a development environment then you can download phpdev from here:


my fellow php mod developed it. It comes with its own install file which installs and configures everything for you. The package includes apache, php, perl, mysql, and various other items depending on which package you download.

08-14-2002, 07:40 AM
Thank you Spookster,

I will have to go back when i get my server built.

Thaks for the help, and thank you Pager. All the detailed info has been great. Can't wait to get this thing built.!!!