E-Commerce Fundamentals (VII) - Beyond The Basics: - Spice up your website with CGI ?

HTML is the foundation of any web-site. However, plain HTML is not able to add interactivity and life in a website. You need extra spices and colours to liven your website - making it easier for your customers to navigate and interact with you.

Some of the spices you may consider are:

  • Forms (e.g. inquiry form, order form etc.)
  • Bulletin Board (for Guestbook, on-line Feedback etc.)
  • Chat room (for live two-way interaction)
  • Search Engine (for quick retrieval of information )
  • Counters (for noting number of visitors)
  • e-commerce tools (e.g. shopping cart )
  • Database (for registering visitors, access control etc.)
  • Secure server (for financial transactions like credit card)
  • Multimedia capability (Sound, streaming video etc. )
  • Animation
  • Misc applications like Autoresponder, List Server etc.

Generally, programming tools like CGI, Javascript etc. are used to create these applications. Some of these applications are available free form your web-host. For others, you may buy off the shelf, get developed through in-house or hired programmers or use free Internet resources.

In this article, we discuss few free and paid resources for CGI applications. (By the way, the forms and search engine at infobanc.com site are CGI applications).

CGI (Common Gateway Interface) Resources

One of the Web's most fascinating but least understood capabilities is its management of interaction between users running browsers and the programs and protocols on web servers. The cornerstone that holds up most web-based interaction is the Common Gateway Interface (CGI), which specifies how browsers (i.e. Netscape, Internet Explorer etc.) can request services from web-servers. Using CGI, onc can develop interesting programs allowing visitors to interact with web-servers in a variety of ways.

Following is a list of web-resources where CGI scripts for variety of applications are available. Most of these applications are free, a few may be priced. You may need services of an experienced professional to use these scripts in your website.

CGI-Factory Software

- Home of one of the largest CGI program providers worldwide. Here you can find free software for creating message boards, banner rotations, ranking systems -top site lists-, and text or graphical hit counters etc.

The CGI Resource Index

- Currently has 3838 CGI resources listed in 265 categories

Matt's Free Perl CGI Scripts

- One of the Web's most popular source of CGI scripts.

CGI Network:

- Great resources for CGI and many other types of programs. Also undertakes custom development

Cgiscript Net - Web Resource Network

- A powerful webmaster resource network, focusing on providing advanced webmaster tools and resources such as, CGI / Perl scripts, custom script development, DHTML / JavaScripts, web site templates, script installation, tutorials, and timely information for web developers of varying skill levels.


- Excellent source for CGI programs, demonstrations and tutorials


- This is a web chat script designed to work under any browser, to be as simple as possible for everyone, and it is one of the most lightweight chat scripts out there.

And what happens if you can not find your script in any of the above resources ? Let's add some interactivity here:

Script Search

- Search Engine exclusively for Scripts.


- If you are unable to find a script or want expert advice FREE, try this. Allexperts.com is the oldest and largest free Q&A service on the Internet. Free answers to your questions. Category: Perl & CGI

Related Links:

Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol II, Issue 23' November 14' 2001

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at amit@infobanc.com )

� All Rights Reserved. Limited permission is granted to publish this article in a web-site or printed in a journal/ newspaper/ magazine provided the publisher takes prior permission from author, do not make any change in the article (i.e. keep it exactly same as displayed above) and cite the Source of this article as The Great Indian Bazaar with a link to this page.