BASIC Web Utility CGI Toolkit Overview

***No further development is scheduled for this toolkit***

The popularity of the Internet has led to the development of many software products that take advantage of the capabilities of TCP/IP networking and inexpensive graphical World Wide Web clients called "Browsers". In addition to use on the Internet, companies have found that these same software products can also be used on their own networks, providing a less expensive alternative to developing graphical applications. These internal networks are called "Intranets".

Browsers interpret and display specially formatted text, called HTML, in a graphical format. The document can include links to other documents or files, in-line graphical images, and data input forms that can be used to send information to a World Wide Web server. HTML documents consist of text and markup tags. Examples of tags include <br> (line break), <p> (paragraph break), <h1> (highest level heading), and <hr> (horizontal rule). HTML information is available on the Internet and in many books.

The Web server software, or HTTP servers, respond to browser requests for documents and files, and can also perform tasks for browsers through a standard API known as a Common Gateway Interface (CGI). Through CGI, it is possible to produce HTML documents dynamically from database information available on the host system.

The BASIC Web Utility provides an easy-to-use interface between the CGI API and Business BASIC programs, enabling quick development of Web-based applications that read and write legacy data stored in Business BASIC data files. There are a large number of uses for this technology, both for internal networks and for businesses that share data with other businesses. For example, a Web-based product catalog that comes directly from a live inventory file, with up-to-the-second product availability information, and always-current pricing information.

The BASIC Web Utility is a set of CALLable Business BASIC programs and platform-specific scripts or programs that interface Business BASIC programs using the BASIC Web Utility to various Web server platforms.

Before You Begin

Before using the BASIC Web Utility, a Web server must be installed and operating on the same system where Business BASIC is operating. The Web server must also be configured with a method of invoking CGI scripts (this is the default configuration). An understanding of the naming conventions and directory locations for CGI is essential.

Developers should be familiar with:

  • A Web browser, such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

  • HTML and how browsers display HTML documents.

  • Business BASIC concepts of string templates and global variables or STBL() values.