GNU.WIKI: The GNU/Linux Knowledge Base

  [HOME] [HowTo] [ABS] [MAN1] [MAN2] [MAN3] [MAN4] [MAN5] [MAN6] [MAN7] [MAN8] [MAN9]

 


  Java CGI HOWTO
  by David H. Silber javacgi-document@orbits.com
  v0.5, 1 December 1998

  This HOWTO document explains how to set up your server to allow CGI
  programs written in Java and how to use Java to write CGI programs.
  Although HOWTO documents are targetted towards use with the Linux
  operating system, this particular one is not dependant on the particu-
  lar version of unix used.
  ______________________________________________________________________

  Table of Contents



  1. Introduction

     1.1 Prior Knowledge
     1.2 This Document
     1.3 The Package
     1.4 The Mailing List

  2. Setting Up Your Server to Run Java CGI Programs (With Explanations)

     2.1 System Requirements
     2.2 Java CGI Add-On Software
     2.3 Unpacking the Source
     2.4 Decide On Your Local Path Policies
     2.5 Testing your installation.

  3. Setting Up Your Server to Run Java CGI Programs (The Short Form)

  4. Executing a Java CGI Program

     4.1 Obstacles to Running Java Programs Under the CGI Model
        4.1.1 You can't run Java programs like ordinary executables.
        4.1.2 Java does not have general access to the environment.
     4.2 Overcoming Problems in Running Java CGI Programs
        4.2.1 The java.cgi script.
        4.2.2 Invoking java.cgi from an HTML form.

  5. Using the Java CGI Classes.

     5.1 CGI
        5.1.1 Class Syntax
        5.1.2 Class Description
        5.1.3 Member Summary
        5.1.4 See Also
        5.1.5 CGI()
        5.1.6 getNames()
        5.1.7 getValue()
     5.2 CGI_Test
        5.2.1 Member Summary
        5.2.2 See Also
        5.2.3 main()
     5.3 Email
        5.3.1 Class Syntax
        5.3.2 Class Description
        5.3.3 Member Summary
        5.3.4 See Also
        5.3.5 Email()
        5.3.6 send()
        5.3.7 sendTo()
        5.3.8 subject()
     5.4 Email_Test
        5.4.1 Member Summary
        5.4.2 See Also
        5.4.3 main()
     5.5 HTML
        5.5.1 Class Syntax
        5.5.2 Class Description
        5.5.3 Member Summary
        5.5.4 See Also
        5.5.5 HTML()
        5.5.6 author()
        5.5.7 definitionList()
        5.5.8 definitionListTerm()
        5.5.9 endList()
        5.5.10 listItem()
        5.5.11 send()
        5.5.12 title()
     5.6 HTML_Test
        5.6.1 Member Summary
        5.6.2 See Also
        5.6.3 main()
     5.7 Text
        5.7.1 Class Syntax
        5.7.2 Class Description
        5.7.3 Member Summary
        5.7.4 See Also
        5.7.5 add()
        5.7.6 addLineBreak()
        5.7.7 addParagraph()

  6. Future Plans

  7. Changes

     7.1 Changes from 0.4 to 0.5
     7.2 Changes from 0.3 to 0.4
     7.3 Changes from 0.2 to 0.3
     7.4 Changes from 0.1 to 0.2


  ______________________________________________________________________

  1.  Introduction

  Because of the way that Java is designed the programmer does not have
  easy access to the system's environment variables.  Because of the way
  that the Java Development Kit (JDK) is set up, it is necessary to use
  multiple tokens to invoke a program, which does not mesh very well
  with the standard HTML forms/CGI manner of operations.  There are ways
  around these limitations, and I have implemented one of them.  Read
  further for details.

  Since I wrote the previous paragraph in 1996, there have been many
  changes in the Java technology.  It is likely that a better solution
  to running server-side Java programs is now available -- perhaps you
  should take a look at servlets.



  1.1.  Prior Knowledge

  I am assuming that you have a general knowledge of HTML and CGI
  concepts and at least a minimal knowledge of your HTTP server.  You
  should also know how to program in Java, or a lot of this will not
  make sense.



  1.2.  This Document

  The latest version of this document can be read at
  http://www.orbits.com/software/Java_CGI.html.



  1.3.  The Package

  The latest version of the package described here can be accessed via
  anonymous FTP at ftp://ftp.orbits.com/pub/software/java_cgi-0.5.tgz.
  The package distribution includes SGML source for this document.
  The package is distributed under the terms of the GNU Library General
  Public License.  This document can be distributed under the terms of
  the Linux HOWTO copyright notice.

  If you use this software, please make some reference to
  http://www.orbits.com/software/Java_CGI.html, so that others will be
  able to find the Java CGI classes.

  I have run out of time to maintain and support this package, so this
  will probably be its final release.  If anyone out there is
  sufficiently enamoured of this software that they wish to take over
  the maintenace of it, please contact me at javacgi-
  document@orbits.com.



  1.4.  The Mailing List

  I have created a majordomo list to allow people to help each-other
  work through their mutual problems in installing and using this
  software.  Send a message to javacgi-request@orbits.com, containing
  the word subscribe.



  2.  Setting Up Your Server to Run Java CGI Programs (With Explana-
  tions)

  This section will lead you through installing my Java CGI package with
  copious explanations so that you know what the effects of your actions
  will be.  If you just want to install the programs and don't care
  about the whys & wherefores, skip to ``Setting Up Your Server to Run
  Java CGI Programs (The Short Form)''.



  2.1.  System Requirements

  This software should work on any unix-like web server that has the
  Java Development Kit installed.  I am using it on a Debian Linux
  system running apache as the HTTP daemon.  If you find that it does
  not run on your server, please contact the mailing list.  See ``The
  Mailing List'' for details.

  Unfortunatly, the Java run-time interpreter seems to be something of a
  memory hog -- you may want to throw another few megabytes of RAM onto
  your server if you will be using Java CGI programs a lot.



  2.2.  Java CGI Add-On Software

  The software that I wrote to aid in this is called Java CGI.  You can
  get it from ftp://ftp.orbits.com/pub/software/java_cgi-0.5.tgz.  (The
  version number may have changed.)



  2.3.  Unpacking the Source

  Find a convenient directory to unpack this package into.  (If you
  don't already have a standard place to put packages, I suggest that
  you use /usr/local/src.)  Unpack the distribution with this command:

  gzip -dc java_cgi-0.5.tgz | tar -xvf -


  This will create a directory called java_cgi-0.5.  In there you will
  find the files referenced in the rest of this document.  (If the ver-
  sion number has changed, use the instructions from within that distri-
  bution from this point on.)



  2.4.  Decide On Your Local Path Policies

  You need to decide where you want your Java CGI programs to live.
  Generally, you will want to put them in a directory in parallel with
  your cgi-bin directory.  My apache server came configured to use
  /var/www/cgi-bin as the cgi-bin directory, so I use /var/www/javacgi
  as the directory to put Java CGI programs in.  You probably do not
  want to put your Java CGI programs into one of the existing CLASSPATH
  directories.  Edit the Makefile to reflect your system configuration.
  Make sure that you are logged in as the root user and run make
  install.  This will compile the Java programs, modify the java.cgi
  script to fit in with your system and install the programs in the
  appropriate places.  If you want the HTML version of this
  documentation and an HTML test document in addition, run make all
  instead.



  2.5.  Testing your installation.

  Installed from the distribution are HTML documents called
  javacgitest.html, javaemailtest.html and javahtmltest.html.  If you
  installed all in the previous section, it will be in the directory you
  specified for WEBDIR in the Makefile.  If you didn't, you can run make
  test to build them from javacgitest.html-dist, javaemailtest.html-dist
  and javahtmltest.html-dist.

  When you are sure that your installation is working correctly, you may
  wish to remove CGI_Test.class, Email_Test.class and HTML_Test.class
  from your JAVACGI directory and javacgitest.html, javaemailtest.html
  and javahtmltest.html from your WEBDIR directory as they show the user
  information that is normally only available to the server.



  3.  Setting Up Your Server to Run Java CGI Programs (The Short Form)


  o  Get the Java CGI package from
     ftp://ftp.orbits.com/pub/software/java_cgi-0.5.tgz.  (The version
     number may have changed.)

  o  Unpack the distribution with this command:

     gzip -dc java_cgi-0.5.tgz | tar -xvf -


  (If the version number has changed, use the instructions from within
  that distribution from this point on.)

  o  Edit the Makefile you will find in the newly created directory
     java_cgi-0.5 as appropriate to your system.

  o  As root, run make install.  This will compile the Java programs,
     apply your system-specific information and install the various
     files.  If you want the HTML version of this documentation and an
     HTML test document, run make all instead.

  o  You should be ready to go.



  4.  Executing a Java CGI Program



  4.1.  Obstacles to Running Java Programs Under the CGI Model

  There are two main problems in running a Java program from a web
  server:



  4.1.1.  You can't run Java programs like ordinary executables.

  You need to run the Java run-time interpreter and provide the initial
  class (program to run) on the command-line.  With an HTML form, there
  is no provision for sending a command-line to the web server.



  4.1.2.  Java does not have general access to the environment.

  Every environment variable that will be needed by the Java program
  must be explicitly passed in.  There is no method similar to the C
  getenv() function.



  4.2.  Overcoming Problems in Running Java CGI Programs

  To deal with these obstacles, I wrote a shell CGI program that
  provides the information needed by the Java interpreter.



  4.2.1.  The java.cgi script.

  This shell script manages the interaction between the HTTP daemon and
  the Java CGI program that you wish to use.  It extracts the name of
  the program that you want to run from the server-provided data.  It
  collects all of the environment data into a temporary file.  Then, it
  runs the Java run-time interpreter with the name of the file of
  environment information and the program name added to the command-
  line.

  The java.cgi script was configured and installed in ``Decide On Your
  Local Path Policies''.



  4.2.2.  Invoking java.cgi from an HTML form.

  My forms that use Java CGI programs specify a form action as follows:

  <form action="/cgi-bin/java.cgi/CGI_Test" method="POST">


  Where /cgi-bin/ is your local CGI binary directory, java.cgi is the
  Java front-end that allows us to run Java programs over the web and
  CGI_Test is an example of the name of the Java program to run.



  5.  Using the Java CGI Classes.

  There are currently three main classes supported -- ``CGI'', ``Email''
  and ``HTML''.  I am considering adding classes to deal with MIME-
  formatted input and output -- MIMEin & MIMEout, respectively.

  There are also a few support and test classes.  ``CGI_Test'',
  ``Email_Test'' and ``HTML_Test'' are intended to be used to test your
  installation.  They can also be used as a starting-point for your own
  Java programs which use this class library.  The ``Text'' class is the
  superclass for both the Email and the HTML classes.



  5.1.  CGI



  5.1.1.  Class Syntax

  public class CGI



  5.1.2.  Class Description

  The CGI class holds the ``CGI Information'' -- Environment variables
  set by the web server and the name/value sent from a form when its
  submit action is selected.  All information is stored in a Properties
  class object.

  This class is in the ``Orbits.net'' package.



  5.1.3.  Member Summary



  ______________________________________________________________________
          CGI()         //  Constructor.
          getNames()    //  Get the list of names.
          getValue()    //  Get form value by specifying name.
  ______________________________________________________________________



  5.1.4.  See Also

  CGI_Test.



  5.1.5.  CGI()


     Purpose
        Constructs an object which contains the available CGI data.

     Syntax
        public CGI()

     Description
        When a CGI object is constructed, all available CGI information
        is sucked-up into storage local to the new object.



  5.1.6.  getNames()


     Purpose
        List the names which are defined to have corresponding values.

     Syntax
        public Enumeration getKeys ()

     Description
        Provides the full list of names for which coresponding values
        are defined.

     Returns
        An Enumeration of all the names defined.



  5.1.7.  getValue()


     Purpose
        Retrieves the value associated with the name specified.

     Syntax
        public String getValue ( String name )

     Description
        This method provides the corespondence between the names and
        values sent from an HTML form.

     Parameter

        name
           The key by which values are selected.

     Returns
        A String containing the value.



  5.2.  CGI_Test

  This class provides both an example of how to use the CGI class and a
  test program which can be used to confirm that the Java CGI package is
  functioning correctly.



  5.2.1.  Member Summary


  ______________________________________________________________________
          main()      //  Program main().
  ______________________________________________________________________



  5.2.2.  See Also

  CGI.



  5.2.3.  main()


     Purpose
        Provide a main() method.

     Syntax
        public static void main( String argv[] )

     Description
        This is the entry point for a CGI program which does nothing but
        return a list of the available name/value pairs and their
        current values.

     Parameter

        argv[]
           Arguments passed to the program by the java.cgi script.
           Currently unused.



  5.3.  Email



  5.3.1.  Class Syntax

  public class Email extends Text



  5.3.2.  Class Description

  Messages are built up with the Text class add*() methods and the e-
  mail-specific methods added by this class.  When complete, the message
  is sent to its destination.

  This class is in the ``Orbits.net'' package.



  5.3.3.  Member Summary


  ______________________________________________________________________
          Email()      //  Constructor.
          send()       //  Send the e-mail message.
          sendTo()     //  Add a destination for message.
          subject()    //  Set the Subject: for message.
  ______________________________________________________________________



  5.3.4.  See Also

  Email_Test, Text.



  5.3.5.  Email()


     Purpose
        Constructs an object which will contain an email message.

     Syntax
        public Email()

     Description
        Sets up an empty message to be completed by the Email methods.

     See Also
        Text.



  5.3.6.  send()


     Purpose
        Send the e-mail message.

     Syntax
        public void send ()
     Description
        This formats and sends the message.  If no destination address
        has been set, there is no action taken.



  5.3.7.  sendTo()


     Purpose
        Add a destination for this message.

     Syntax
        public String sendTo ( String address )

     Description
        Add address to the list of destinations for this method.  There
        is no set limit to the number of destinations an e-mail message
        may have.  I'm sure that if you build up the list large enough,
        you can exceed the size of the parameter list that the Mail
        Transport Agent can accept or use up your memory.

     Parameter/

        address
           A destination to send this message to.



  5.3.8.  subject()


     Purpose
        Set the subject for this message.

     Syntax
        public void subject ( String subject )

     Description
        This method sets the text for the e-mail's Subject: line.  If
        called more than once, the latest subject set is the one that is
        used.

     Parameter

        subject
           The text of this message's Subject: line.



  5.4.  Email_Test

  This class provides both an example of how to use the Email class and
  a test program which can be used to confirm that the Java CGI package
  is functioning correctly.



  5.4.1.  Member Summary



  ______________________________________________________________________
          main()      //  Program main().
  ______________________________________________________________________



  5.4.2.  See Also

  Email.



  5.4.3.  main()


     Purpose
        Provide a main() method.

     Syntax
        public static void main( String argv[] )

     Description
        This is the entry point for a CGI program which returns a list
        of the available name/value pairs and their current values.  It
        will also send this list to the address specified in the Email
        variable.

     Parameter

        argv[]
           Arguments passed to the program by the java.cgi script.
           Currently unused.



  5.5.  HTML



  5.5.1.  Class Syntax

  public class HTML extends Text



  5.5.2.  Class Description

  Messages are built up with the Text class add*() methods and the HTML-
  specific methods added by this class.  When complete, the message is
  sent to its destination.

  Currently, there is no error checking to confirm that the list-
  building methods are being used in a correct order, so the  programmer
  must take pains not to violate HTML syntax.

  This class is in the ``Orbits.net'' package.


  5.5.3.  Member Summary


  ______________________________________________________________________
          HTML()                  //  Constructor.
          author()                //  Set the name of the document author.
          definitionList()        //  Start a definition list.
          definitionListTerm()    //  Add a term to a definition list.
          endList()               //  End a list.
          listItem()              //  Add an entry to a list.
          send()                  //  Send the HTML message.
          title()                 //  Set the text for the document title.
  ______________________________________________________________________



  5.5.4.  See Also

  HTML_Test, Text.



  5.5.5.  HTML()


     Purpose
        Constructs an object which will contain an HTML message.

     Syntax
        public HTML()

     Description
        Sets up an empty message to be completed by the HTML methods.

     See Also
        Text.



  5.5.6.  author()


     Purpose
        Set the name of the document author.

     Syntax
        public void author ( String author )

     Description
        Set the name of the document author to author.

     Parameter/

        author
           The text to use as the author of this message.

     See Also
        title().



  5.5.7.  definitionList()


     Purpose
        Start a definition list.

     Syntax
        public void definitionList ()

     Description
        Start a definition list.  A definition list is a list
        specialized so that each entry in the list is a term followed by
        the definition text for that term.  The start of a definition
        list should be followed by the creation of (at least) one
        term/text pair and a call to the endList() method.  Note that,
        currently, lists cannot be nested.

     See Also
        definitionListTerm(), endList(), listItem().



  5.5.8.  definitionListTerm()


     Purpose
        Add a term to a definition list.

     Syntax
        public void definitionListTerm ()

     Description
        Add a term to a definition list.  The text for the term part of
        the current list entry should be appended to the message after
        this method is called and before a corresponding listItem method
        is called.

     See Also
        definitionList(), listItem().



  5.5.9.  endList()


     Purpose
        End a list.

     Syntax
        public void endList ()

     Description
        End a list.  This method closes out a list.  Note that,
        currently, lists cannot be nested.

     See Also
        definitionList().



  5.5.10.  listItem()


     Purpose
        Add an entry to a list.

     Syntax
        public void listItem ()

        public void listItem ( String item )

        public boolean listItem ( String term, String item )

     Description
        Add an entry to a list.  If the first form is used, the text for
        the current list item should be appended to the message after
        this method is called and before any other list methods are
        called.  In the second and third forms, the item text is
        specified as a parameter to the method instead of (or in
        addition to) being appended to the message.  The third form is
        specific to definition lists and provides both the term and the
        definition of the list entry.

     Parameters

        item
           The text of this list entry.

        term
           The text of this definition list entry's term part.

     See Also
        definitionList(), definitionListTerm(), endList().



  5.5.11.  send()


     Purpose
        Send the HTML message.

     Syntax
        public void send ()

     Description
        Send the HTML message.



  5.5.12.  title()


     Purpose
        Set the text for the document title.

     Syntax
        public void title ( String title )

     Description
        Set the text for the document title.

     Parameter

        title
           The text of this message's title.

     See Also
        author().



  5.6.  HTML_Test

  This class provides both an example of how to use the HTML class and a
  test program which can be used to confirm that the Java CGI package is
  functioning correctly.



  5.6.1.  Member Summary


  ______________________________________________________________________
          main()      //  Program main().
  ______________________________________________________________________



  5.6.2.  See Also

  HTML.



  5.6.3.  main()


     Purpose
        Provide a main() method.

     Syntax
        public static void main( String argv[] )

     Description
        This is the entry point for a CGI program which returns a list
        of the available name/value pairs in an HTML document, with each
        name/value pair displayed in a definition list element.

     Parameter

        argv[]
           Arguments passed to the program by the java.cgi script.
           Currently unused.



  5.7.  Text



  5.7.1.  Class Syntax

  public abstract class Text



  5.7.2.  Class Description

  This class is the superclass of the Email and HTML classes.  Messages
  are built up with the methods in this class and completed and
  formatted with the methods in subclasses.

  This class is in the ``Orbits.text'' package.



  5.7.3.  Member Summary


  ______________________________________________________________________
          Text()            //  Constructor.
          add()             //  Add text to this object.
          addLineBreak()    //  Add a line break.
          addParagraph()    //  Add a paragraph break.
  ______________________________________________________________________



  5.7.4.  See Also

  Email, HTML.



  5.7.5.  add()


     Purpose
        Add text to this item.

     Syntax
        public void add ( char addition )

        public void add ( String addition )

        public void add ( StringBuffer addition )

     Description
        Add addition to the contents of this text item.

     Parameter

        addition
           Text to be added to the text item.

     See Also
        addLineBreak(), addParagraph().



  5.7.6.  addLineBreak()


     Purpose
        Force a line break at this point in the text.

     Syntax
        public void addLineBreak ()

     Description
        Add a line break to the text at the current point.

     See Also
        add(), addParagraph().



  5.7.7.  addParagraph()


     Purpose
        Start a new paragaph.

     Syntax
        public void add ()

     Description
        Start a new paragraph at this point in the text flow.

     See Also
        add(), addLineBreak().



  6.  Future Plans


  o  Add to the Email class:

     Email( int capacity )
        Used when we know how much space the message will need to have
        allocated.

     sendTo( String [] address )
        Add a list of primary destinations to the e-mail message.

     sendCc( String address )
        Add a Carbon-Copy destination to the e-mail message.

     sendCc( String [] address )
        Add a list of Carbon-Copy destinations to the e-mail message.

     sendBcc( String address )
        Add a Blind Carbon-Copy destination to the e-mail message.

     sendBcc( String [] address )
        Add a list of Blind Carbon-Copy destinations to the e-mail
        message.

  o  Add to the HTML class:

     HTML( int capacity )
        Used when we know how much space the message will need to have
        allocated.
     public void unorderedList()
        Start an unordered list.

     public void orderedList()
        Start an ordered list.

     public void directoryList()
        Start a directory list.

     public void menuList()
        Start a menu list.

     void anchor( String anchorName )
        Specify an anchor.

     void link( String url, String text )
        Specify a link.

     void applet( String url, String altText )
        Specify an applet link.

  o  Allow HTML lists to be nested.

  o  Add error checking code to enforce correct ordering of HTML list
     formatting codes.

  o  The location of the file of environment data should be configurable
     from the Makefile.

  o  Get rid of the spurious empty name/value pair that appears in the
     list when we are dealing with the GET method of data transfer.

  o  Consider having CGI implement the java.util.Enumeration interface
     to successively provide variable names.

  o  Add a Test class, which would use every method in this package.

  o  Document how CGI_Test, Email_Test and HTML_Test build on each other
     to provide incremental tests for debugging purposes.

  o  Document how Test uses every feature available in this package.



  7.  Changes



  7.1.  Changes from 0.4 to 0.5


  o  Changed documentation and comments to reflect the final nature of
     this release.



  7.2.  Changes from 0.3 to 0.4


  o  Fleshed out the HTML class to provide minimal functionality.


  o  Wrote the HTML_Test class and javahtmltest.html-dist.

  o  Added the HTML methods to deal with a definition list.



  7.3.  Changes from 0.2 to 0.3


  o  Added the Text and Email classes.  HTML was also added, but it is
     merely a stub at this point.

  o  Put the various classes into packages.  The main classes are in
     Orbits.net.*, the support class Text is in Orbits.text.Text.

  o  Changed CGItest to CGI_Test.

  o  Added the Email_Test class.



  7.4.  Changes from 0.1 to 0.2


  o  The environment variables are put into a temportary file instead of
     being crammed into the Java inperpreter command-line.  The CGI
     class and java.cgi had to be modified.

  o  The javacgitest.html document is made part of the distribution.

  o  The text files which are modified by make upon installation are
     provided with names that end with -dist.







  All copyrights belong to their respective owners. Other site content (c) 2014, GNU.WIKI. Please report any site errors to webmaster@gnu.wiki.