Forms, search and cgi

CGI and forms

What are CGIs?

CGI stands for Common Gateway Interface, and are scripts, programs, written in a programming language or scripting language, that perform functions not available in HTML.

For example, when a form requests information, or when a search is to be conducted, a program needs to receive the request, decode the variables, perform an action, and reply to the request. The following image illustrates the process:

Drawing of relation of Browser, Server and Scriptserver.

  1. The Browser recognizes a tag (ISINDEX or FORM) requesting a cgi from the server, and sends a request to the server.
  2. The Server checks the request, identifies the CGI to be used, and requests the services of the Scriptserver.
  3. The Scriptserver (that can be located or not in the same place of the Server) receives the request, decode it, performs an action, and returns the results to the Server.
  4. The Server receives the results from the Scriptserver and sends them to the Browser.

Detailed information on CGIs

Forms and search

Detailed information on Forms, search and forms, and CGI

Using FormMail to decode form information

This description applies to the use of FormMail with Windows NT, particularly at the Merrick School of Business, University of Baltimore. NOTE: advanced users with access to a Windows directory that can run CGIs can implement FormMail in their accounts as follows:

This page is maintained by Al Bento who can be reached at This page was last updated on March 2, 2010. Although we will attempt to keep this information accurate, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.