FastCGI: Persistent Applications for Your Web Server

FastCGI allows Apache to run and manage persistent CGI-like scripts, overcoming CGI's worst shortcomings.
Finis

My example script doesn't tackle many of the tasks at which FastCGI excels: persistent database connections, format translation (e.g., SGML to HTML) or providing common HTML page headers and footers. At the site I manage, I use FastCGI to do all these things and more.

I've found that a FastCGI application can perform its duties, including multiple SQL queries, and deliver a page on the fly only slightly slower than the server can deliver static documents. On a 10Mbps LAN connection the speed difference is perceptible, but just barely, and only if I'm looking for it. Over a 128Kbps or slower connection, I notice no difference.

I still use CGI to perform simple, infrequently needed tasks. A CGI script doesn't hog system resources for very long. For complex, frequently invoked tasks, FastCGI provides a great combination of flexibility and speed.

The two listings referred to in this article are available by anonymous download in the file ftp.linuxjournal.com/pub/lj/listings/issue55/2607.tgz.

Paul Heinlein (heinlein@teleport.com) lives with his family near Portland, Oregon and is Webmaster at http://www.computerbits.com/. When he and his daughter aren't playing CD-ROM-based games, Paul indulges his odd hankering for Lutheran theology and hymnody.

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