How fast is this!

Sivakatirswami katir at
Tue Feb 19 08:37:00 EST 2008

Chipp Walters wrote:
> Spent some time chatting with Andre Garzia this evening and he showed me this:
> Andre and Sivakatirswami wrote it.
> When you click on a letter, a 3000+ card stack is launched as a cgi,
> it is sorted and returns the lexicon list for that letter and then
> closes. It does all this in less than a second. The Lexicon stack is
> over 1MB in size and contains the lexicon editor. The stack has zero
> cgi or business logic pertaining to the cgi in it. The cgi does the
> work, opening the stack and sorting the cards and compiling the data
> and returning it to the webpage. Wow. Pretty darn fast...I'd say.
> According to Andre, there tons of Rev cgi's at,
> sometimes multiple cgi's per page. They all run in a standard cgi way
> on a standard Apache server. They've used them for years. Seems like a
> pretty good use case.
> -Chipp
I think it was way back in 1996 or some long by gone era when I put my 
first CGI on our web site, just a year or two after the internet 
started. We had the previous year moved Hinduism Today from the 
CompuServe bulletins to this new thing called "the internet" The first 
CGI was Matthew's Famously Vulnerable  Of course I did not know 
Perl but had been hacking away Hypercard and then beloved Supercard when 
Richard Gaskin turned me on to Metacard. Well that darn thingy 
kept getting hacked and being used as spam blaster, even they kept even 
breaking the recommended patches and I also wanted to customize a few 
things, but didn't know Perl.

The day the stats showed 250,000 hits  on the form I had to shut it down 
and I was pretty despondent about every moving the web site forward 
because I really didn't think I wanted to learn another language... and 
we certainly could not afford to hire anyone at that time... I can't 
remember his name... fellow from NY was programming web backend all in 
xTalk... shared a script with me... and that, plus the transparency of 
Scott Raney's little "Echo.cgi"  gave me courage.

It was a Eureka moment when I realized that my years of hacking xtalk 
were suddenly convertible for use on the back end of the web site.. and 
it was so easy!  My experience was mostly wrapped around text string 
manipulations for in house publication production tools.. and the day I 
wrote a CGI to build daily master course lesson from raw text files and 
put that on a cron to run at midnite I was smiling like a canary for a week

In 1998 we began our daily blog before the word "blog' was invented:

I was choking on the idea of building html/web content daily and so I 
automated all the daily creation in Supercard... my goal was: get daily 
photos and input and build the daily web page in 30 Minutes... well, 
supertalk was great but, not quite robust enough...i needed FTP tools 
and other internet stuff not available in SC...  I was already dabbling 
in MC... a little daunted by the lack of a "real" IDE... so when I heard 
that Revolution was on the horizon I signed up for the first version 
even before Kevin had released it.

I never looked back... in house if any one asked me "can we do this on 
the web server" I said "sure no problem" and today our cgi bins has 
100's of xtalk cgi's running... I  also have PMwiki running (love it!) 
so I got some exposure to PhP... very painful relative to my xTalk 
experience. I think I made a nuisance of myself on the PMwiki forum by 
saying "in xTalk it might look like this:" and offer an algorithm in 
transcript in 10 lines of code that would take 100 lines in PhP to do 
the same, while PhP is robust and obviously mature and 
forward moving web tool, it is still, well, painful and molasses...

We're moving Hinduism Today into XOOPS so PhP will start to eclipse 
xTalk on the server...we really need to get into a proper CMS 
environment and our magazine is a perfect "fit"... so it remains to be 
seen how far Revolution can stay relevant in this world... It will 
always be an important tool.. but just how far... that's another 
discussion... ala Dan Schafer's earlier observations, all of which are 
somewhat prophetically coming true... but... AJAX with Rev on the back 
end is very powerful......Next on my agenda: take raw content (photos 
and text-caption files) and build Highslide JS web objects for inclusion 
in web pages via SSI's --  love doing <!include exec="someCoolRev.cgi" 
-->  and then let revolution do the work of building into that space on 
the page-- that is after all, what PHP is doing, but at 1/10th the speed 
of Revolution on the same box/CPU...

So, when you face innovative ambitions like this, there is only one tool 
of choice and we have it

Don't miss Andre's presentation at the conference!

Best wishes from Kauai (where it is finally drying out after 90 days of 
rain with only 8 days of sunshine in that period...)


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