The Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is a standard for interfacing external applications with information servers, such as HTTP or web servers. A plain HTML document that the web daemon retrieves is static, which means it exists in a constant state: a text file that doesn’t change. A CGI program, on the other hand, is executed in real time so that it can output dynamic information. CGI is a proven architecture, but it has had some major limitations that create significant problems when you are trying to develop enterprisewide web solutions:

  • Difficulty in maintaining state and session connection (there is no session concept; therefore a state cannot be kept).
  • Performance bottlenecks (resource-intensive scripts could cause performance problems).
  • Can involve proprietary APIs.
  • Malicious scripts could crash the HTTP server; CGI scripts run as a separate process from the HTTP server, which isolates the server from most script errors; however, operating system errors do exist, and scripts that crash UNIX systems can be found on the Web.
  • In general, compared to Java programs, CGI scripts are unreadable.

There is a newer architecture(Java servlets—a servlet is a small Java class) that not only solves these problems but also provides code portability, plus the ability to allow your serverside application to interface with a wide range of relational databases. This architecture is using JDBC with Java servlets to replace CGI.

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