Questions about the coursework

Server malfunctioning

  • It is very, very likely that the webserver will crash or function extremely slowly the day before the deadline. You need to take this into consideration when planning your work. As long as the server is functioning at all (no matter how poorly), there will not be an extension of the deadline. Only if the server stops working completely for more than one hour during the daytime on the last day or for several days in the weeks before the deadline, there may be an extension of the deadline.

    Parsing of the HTML pages

  • "Optional" and "exercises": The handling of "optional materials" and "exercises" is irregular in the HTML pages. This is an intended challenge for the coursework because real life data also tend to be irregularly formatted. You should try to get your code working in - let's say - 80% to 90% of the cases.
  • Images: An image has been added to the exercise page for week 8. You should update that page so that the statistics page actually finds one image.
  • Different versions of the HTML pages: Some of the exercise pages where updated during the semester. You can use any version of the pages, but you should update week 8 because that contains the only image.

    Hints for general problems with the webserver

  • Internal Server Error
    If you edit your CGI files using a Windows editor, the first line of your file must end in "-w" ("#!/usr/local/bin/perl -w"), otherwise you will get a server error. This is because Unix does not like the Windows newline character after "/perl"; Unfortunately, last year more complex CGI scripts with undefined variables ran very slowly with the "-w" option. On Unix, it may be better to not use the "-w".
  • No html pages or CGI scripts are viewable through browser
    For some reason C&IT seems to occasionally reset permissions. Go to your home directory (the one above public_html) and type chmod 711.
  • Slow response or no response on Titan or DCS
    Sometimes one of the two webservers is running better than the other, thus you can try either or

    Problems with Cookies

  • Cookies may be turned off by default in IE in the JKCC. To turn them on go to Tools/Internt Options/Privacy/Advanced Settings

    Server Redirection

  • HTML redirection can be achieved with something like
    my $cgi = CGI->new();
    print $cgi->redirect('');
    before (or instead of) the print header() statement.


    Some parts of your documentation could be written as "help pages". As an example, have a look at Google's documentation. Also, check out the links for "Google Features" and "General FAQ" on that page. Don't forget to include some critical evaluation of your tool's features and limits.

    Questions about the exam

    The format of the exam

  • The exam will consist of 10 short answer questions + 2 essay style questions.
  • You will not be asked to recite facts, but instead you will be tested with respect to your understanding of the topics.
  • You may be asked to write Perl code in the exam, but you will not be marked down because of minor syntax errors.


  • Past papers: The paper from last year can be found under WebCT. There are no other past papers because the module is only running for the second time.
  • What books to use for revision? There should be a few books about Perl/CGI in the library (eg the Learning Perl book). But I am not sure how you would use them for revision because they are more reference books than textbooks. I would probably recommend to go over some of the exercises again instead of reading lots of books.
  • Will we have to know the content of the various extra readings? You should know the concepts which were discussed in the extra readings. But you will not be asked to recall exactly what author X said in paper Y.

    What you can take with you to the exam

  • The exam is an open-book exam. You may use any book and any handwritten notes.
  • You should take the following with you: You don't need to print the exercises from the web. Any differences between the on-line pages and the lecture notes (which were handed out at the beginning of the semester) are not relevant for the exam.
  • Even though the lecture notes contain anything you need to know about Perl, a Perl book could be helpful, especially if it has an index.
  • You may NOT use electronic devices (e.g. laptops, calculators, mobile phones etc). If you require electronic devices because of a disability or other reasons, you need to obtain advance permission.