Python CGI Script

Ivan Herman ivan at
Sun Oct 2 11:51:55 CEST 2005


I am afraid a CGI script is never *executed* by the browser. Instead, it sends
the URL to a server, expects the server to execute the script, and display the
server's response. If you just put a file name then (it seems, I never even
tried that) Firefox uses the local file store as a 'server' in that respect.

If you want to test a CGI script on your own machine, you should run a web
server on your own machine. That server should also be set up in a way that it
recognizes a '.py' file as a CGI script to be executed by Python (not all
servers may recognize the #!  trick...).

This may look scary, but it is not that bad. Apache has a number of precompiled
binary versions that you can install on your machine; you can also use servers
like W3C's jigsaw (this relies on Java) or others. These are all free and easy
to install and, well, manageable to configure. Actually, in case you run on a
MacOS X by any chance, Apache is already installed afaik...

I hope this helps


-------- Original Message --------
From: Efrat Regev <efrat_regev at>
Subject: Python CGI Script
Date: 30/9/2005 12:50

>     Hello,
>     I'm a data-structures course TA trying to write a python CGI script
> for automatically compiling and testing students' projects.
> Unfortunately, I've run into some questions while writing this, which I
> couldn't solve with the various (and helpful) python-CGI documentation.
> (It's possible that I'm posting to the wrong group; if so, I'd
> appreciate suggestions for the appropriate group.)
> 1. In my HTML page, I have the following:
> <form method="post" action=""
> enctype="multipart/form-data">
> ...
> </form>
>     In the above, is the python CGI script. I
> didn't write a URL in the action field, since I'm first testing
> everyting on a local machine (running FC4). The first line of
> is
> #!/usr/bin/python
> and I've done
> chmod +x
>     When I hit the "submit" button, my browser (Firefox on FC4) doesn't
> run the script; it asks me whether it should open
> or save it to disk. I couldn't figure out why.
> 2. My HTML page has the option for an instructor to list the various
> submissions and scores. Obviously, this should be inaccessible to
> students. The instructor has a password for doing this, therefore.
> Suppose I place the password inside a python script, and give this
> script only +x permission for others. Is this  adequate as far as security?
>     Thanks in advance for answering these questions.
>      Efrat

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