Back to web-cgi
I’m really excited about this: My static website can be viewed dynamically on my local "intranet" web server for fast previewing while I edit a page.
All I have to do is save the page source file (the file extension happens to be .txt but you can think of it as .md) and refresh the browser. The page is generated on the fly just like any dynamic site.
There are three parts to making this work:
A web server configuration to run CGI
A tiny shell script to wrap the static site generator
Having the static site generator write to STDOUT, not directly to file
httpd.conf (Apache config)
The hardest part is always getting the web server incantations just right. Here’s mine for Apache:
<Directory "/home/dave/proj/zigdoc/"> Options Indexes FollowSymLinks AllowOverride None Require all granted Options +ExecCGI </Directory> Alias /zigdoc /home/dave/proj/zigdoc/output RewriteEngine On RewriteRule /zigdoc/(.*).html /home/dave/proj/zigdoc/cgi.sh [env=PAGE:$1,H=cgi-script]
The key here is the RewriteRule:
/zigdoc/(.*).htmlmatches a request for a .html page in a particular directory.
(.*)part of the above regular expression captures the file name minus the .html extension.
/home/dave/proj/zigdoc/cgi.shrewrites the request to point to the CGI wrapper script.
env=PAGE:$1sets an environment variable to the value of the captured file name from the regular expression.
H=cgi-scriptsets the "handler" for this match to cgi-script, so the re-written request will be treated as a CGI request
CGI wrapper shell script
Here’s the whole thing. As you can see, it just writes the minimum required HTTP header
and then calls my static site generator program,
zigdoc, with the
$PAGE from the
environment variable set in the Apache RewriteRule above.
#!/bin/bash echo "Content-type: text/html" echo "" infile=pages/$PAGE.txt ./zigdoc $infile exit 0
Static page generator
Mine happens to be written in Zig, but that’s not important.
What’s important is that it writes output to
than a disk file.
The converted content (HTML generated from the source .txt file) is captured by the web server and returned as the page content.
All hail the flexibility of file redirection and stdout!