Case Study: Internet Concepts, LLC
Quote from the book Special Edition: Using CGI by Jeffery Dwight (Que Publishing) :
Internet Concepts, LLC, knows that content and presentation are the two things that make one site stand out from another. They have created several award-winning sites you may have already encountered, as follows:
- WritersNet (sm): Internet Directory of Published Writers
- PrinterNet (sm): The Internet Directory of Commercial Printers
- The Directory of Microscopists on the Net
- The Directory of Virologists on the Net
- InnSite (sm): The Internet Directory of Bed & Breakfasts
These sites not only are well-designed and visually appealing, but they take an unusual approach to the development of site content: They rely on the user to provide it.
Using a framework of hand-crafted CGI scripts written in Perl 5 and running on a Sun SPARCstation, Internet Concepts lets users submit an entry on a fill-out form. A CGI script then processes that entry, adding it to the database and making it immediately available on the Web.
Stephan Spencer of Internet Concepts says, “Some consider this real-time up-dating risky, but since December 1994, when we first implemented this practice, we have had no notable problems. Nonetheless, we’ll probably change this in the near future to a policy of holding submissions in a ‘pending’ area until we have reviewed them.”
The database is based on Perl dbm. The script that processes new entries requires the user to assign a password, too. The user can then make changes to that entry later on. A “root” or master password allows site supervisors to change individual passwords, edit entries, or delete entries. Another script allows browsing. It displays the database sorted by name, organization name (if applicable), category/genre, and location. Most of these sites are also keyword-searchable.
InnSite even offers a geographical search interface that responds to user clicks by zooming in indefinitely on a region, returning images real-time from Xerox PARC Map Viewer (http://www.xerox.com/map/).
Internet Concepts provides many of these sites as public service to the Internet community. They also, however, design and implement many commercial sites. One of the most interesting is the Online Catalogue at Seton Identification Products (http://www.seton.com). This site offers the “Workplace Safety Home Page” and a searchable online catalog of the thousands of signs, labels, tags, pipe markers, and other identification products. The site supports online ordering of more that 6,000 items.
If you are interested in finding out more about Internet Concepts, the organization’s home page is at http:///www.netconcepts.com, or you can send e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The wizards at Internet Concepts have used CGI to create their enchantments. With what you’ve learned in this book, you can invoke the magic of CGI, too!!
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