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Web Database Interaction Using Perl

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Chris Radcliff shows you how to create an HTML interface to any database that implements the Structured Query Language (SQL). The examples use Perl, the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) module, and the DBI module to create a generic interface that discovers and interacts with standard databases through the Web.

Web Database Interaction Using Perl

To get an idea of the simplicity that Perl Common Gateway Interface (CGI) offers a new programmer, an example of Perl connecting to a database is included in the following article.

Universal SQL Query Processor

Accessing a database might seem to be a straightforward process, and the advent of standards such as SQL might reinforce that notion. However, good tools to access databases are still few and far between, so most database users still browse databases through custom programs. Worse yet, many database users are forced to plod through a schema, one query at a time, by using a command-line interface and the formatting nightmare it presents.

The Web, however, provides an excellent venue for exploring and manipulating data. The flexibility of HTML formatting enables data to be presented attractively, regardless of whether the style is specific to the current schema or general to all SQL-accessible data.

Before designing a specific format for Web presentation of database content, you should browse the data in a universal format to get a sense of what is available. The most flexible way to do this is by offering a generic SQL portal to any database accessible by the Perl CGI engine.

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