Setup Perl, PFE, Omni httpd on W9x. Or on Linux
Most of these can be done in any order.
This is how the Computer Lab machines are configured for CAPP 386.
create c:\capp386 folder, copy index.html to it, create
c:\capp386\cgi-bin folder, copy date.pl to it
(index.html is the Capp386 home page. Go back to that page, use File
pull-down Save As..)
index.html is the page that's displayed when you go to the class web
site. It's the
bluish (aquamarine or turqoise) background page that says "Welcome to
CAPP 386 home page!" Save that page as c:\capp386\index.html
(date.pl is in cgi-bin directory. Go to that directory from the home page,
Required unless your system already has a Perl installed.
For executing CGI programs written in Perl.
- download perl5001.zip (1061K)
- unzip (make it create C:\perl5 folder)
- edit c:\autoexec.bat (with Pfe or some other editor). add ;c:\perl5\ntt to
- reboot so Path is reset
- start DOS (or if you've installed PFE run it, click DOS button). run path command to verify Path is correct
(it should have the portion you just added to it).
- still in DOS: run perl command (just type perl on the command line).
If get "Bad command or file name" error message then PATH is incorrect. Otherwise perl is
running interactively, kill it with ctrl-c.
- Then run perl command with date.pl file as argument.
Either give pathname to date.pl (perl \capp386\cgi-bin\date.pl) or first cd to
cgi-bin folder and then perl date.pl. Will get some lines of output (it's just to test that perl
is accessible by system).
Omni web server
Required unless your system already has a web server installed.
"server root" tells the Omni web server where to look for its html web
files. Web pages retrieved by the server and sent to a browser will be
located in the server root.
- download ohttpd101.exe (948K)
- double-click it (it's a self-extracting archive file) Accept all defaults
(except "do you want to start now" [say no] and "do you want to make it start at bootup" [say no])
- make shortcut icon on desktop called "Omni Web server"
- double-click icon (looks like nothing happens, but there'll be a blue globe
in the task bar). double-click globe in task bar. In Admin.. Properties:
- Server..Server root: change to c:\capp386
- Server..Admin Email: change to your email address
- Standard CGI: select /CGI-BIN
Virtual leave as is (/CGI-BIN). Change Actual: to c:\capp386\cgi-bin
- If you are going to use Omni but are using a different Perl than this one note
that Omni expects perl to be in c:\perl5\ntt\perl.exe. So if your Perl is elsewhere,
you'll need to change in Advanced..Perl CGI Command Line to the location of your Perl.
Microsoft Personal Web Server (PWS)
Some W9x's have this web server. You can use it if you want but I
won't support it for this class (i.e. you're on your own if you choose
to use it). You should change its "home root directory" to
c:\capp386, its "default home page" to c:\capp386\index.html and its
/cgi-bin directory to c:\capp386\cgi-bin so that you're consistent
with the class. I'll assume that we're all configured the same. You
can access the its properties via Control Panel. You'll also have to
get it to execute the Perl .pl programs in /cgi-bin.
Here is how to do so:
On the Start menu, click Run.
In the Open box, type "Regedit" without the quotation marks and click OK.
Open the following registry key:
On the Edit menu, point to New, and click String Value.
Name the value .pl and press Enter.
Select .pl, and click Modify on the Edit menu.
In the Value Data box: \perl5\ntt\perl.exe %s %s
NOTE: this is the full path to perl.exe
NOTE: The "%s %s" is case sensitive. (e.g. "%S %S" will not work).
Close the Registry Editor, and restart your computer
After Perl and Omni installed:
When you point the browser to "localhost"
you're telling it to go to the web site whose host (machine) name is
localhost and get the default page from there. By convention, default
page is usually index.html (the Omni properties, in Server tab, calls
this page the "Default Index"). By convention, localhost is the name
of the same machine that the browser is on, so pointing the browser to
localhost is pointing it to the web server on the same machine.
Pointing to localhost is NOT like opening a local file on c: drive.
"Pointing" means put the address in the Adddress or Netsite location
bar of the browser. So just type localhost in there, that's the web
site you're going to. By pointing to localhost, the server gets the
file and "downloads" to the browser; the server and browser just
happen to be on the same machine. index.html is the default file to
download if all you point to is the site name. When going thru the
server (localhost), there is no specification about drives or capp386
- run Omni, point browser to URL localhost, should get "welcome to
capp386" (the index.html). If don't, then probably Server root not set correctly.
- point to localhost/cgi-bin/date.pl should get time page.
if "Document contains no data" (Netscape) or the misleading message
from IE "can't find ..." check that date.pl compiles and executes
correctly from DOS: perl date.pl
To execute a Perl program you need to to execute the Perl interpretor
in DOS. When you go thru the web server (meaning going thru localhost)
and access a Perl .pl file in the cgi-bin directory the server will
cause the Perl interpretor to execute to run the Perl program. The
output of the Perl program is then downloaded to the browser. The
output of a Perl program in cgi-bin (i.e. a CGI program) will be html
All our use of CGI will be thru the server (localhost). Opening a
file in the browser by giving the name of the file on the machine does
not use the server and thus CGI will not work. When it's running,
Omni is waiting for requests to come from the Internet for web pages
that it can serve up. Requests from a browser on the same machine
(when you point the borwser to "localhost") are exactly like a request
from a browser anywhere in the world to your Omni server (if your
machine had a real IP address, i.e. if it was on the Internet).
The cgi-bin/ directory is for executable files only. Don't put any
HTML files there. The server is configured to execute any "resource"
in the cgi-bin/ directory.
Optional. A good editor for editing program source and HTML files.
Notepad is a lousy editor.
- make folder C:\Pfe
- download pfe.zip (583K)
- unzip into the pfe directory you just created
- make shortcut of pfe32 as icon on desktop named PFE32
- double-click icon to check if works
- in Options..Preferences..Associations, make .pl and .js
associated. This is so that double-clicking a .pl or .js file in W9x
launches PFE to edit the file. Execute a stand-alone Perl program
from DOS (can start DOS from within PFE via the DOS icon). Execute a
JS program by opening the file in a browser.
If you're using Linux (or are planning to), it'll probably already have Perl
and a web server (probably Apache) installed. If you're interested in
webmastering and web servers, I suggest you use Linux with Apache (and
they'll always be free).
In a command line shell, issue the perl command to see if perl is installed
on your system.
Start a web browser (probably will be Netscape) and see if URL location localhost
home directory, capp386 subdirectory, and cgi-bin subsubdirectory must be
world searchable and cgi-bin must also be world readable. They must
be accessible by the special user 'nobody' that the server runs as. To
simplify, make all of them world r and x:
chmod 755 /home/yourhomedir
chmod 755 /home/yourhomedir/capp386
chmod 755 /home/yourhomedir/capp386/cgi-bin
Configuring Apache web server so that a subdirectory capp386 in your
home directory can be accessed by yourhostname/capp386 (or
The following instructions refer to some of Apache's configuration
files. Typically they are in /etc/httpd/conf/ but they might be
elsewhere on your system; do:
find / -name httpd.conf -print
to find them if they aren't in the usal place.
Add a line to file /etc/httpd/conf/srm.conf (you'll have to be logged in as root)
Alias /capp386 /home/yourhomedir/capp386/
where yourhomedir is the name of your home directory (assuming it's in /home).
Configuring Apache to change where it looks for CGI scripts:
In the same /etc/httpd/conf/srm.conf
1. Put a # in front of line ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /home/httpd/cgi-bin/
2. Add a line:
ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /home/yourhomedir/capp386/cgi-bin/
Then you need to restart httpd (that's the process name of the web
server). Find its pid with ps -x command (or look at file /var/run/httpd.pid), then
kill -1 pid_of_httpd
Test by copying date.pl into your capp386/cgi-bin/ and then in browser accessing
localhost/cgi-bin/date.pl and you get the date information page.