Questions about the exam
The format of the exam
The exam will consist of 20 short answer questions.
You will not be asked to recite facts, but instead you will be
tested with respect to your understanding of the topics.
Although some Perl code may be shown in the exam questions,
you should be able to answer the questions even if you have only
PHP knowledge because the questions will not depend on specific
If you are asked to write code in the exam, you can write it
either in Perl or PHP.
Past papers: See the link on the module website.
What books to use for revision?
There should be a few books about Perl, PHP 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
You should take the following with you:
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.
- the printouts that were handed out during class,
- any handwritten notes that you compiled during the semester,
- one or two books on server-side languages, especially a book with a good
index so that you can find things quickly.
Questions about the coursework
The Search engine part
Formatting the results:
The results from the search engine should be formatted in a manner that
is useful for users. You can use a Google-like style or a different style -
but it is for you to decide which style you use.
Just printing "there were n results found" is obviously not as useful
as providing some form of link back to the page or displaying the
paragraph in which the result occurs.
Downloading the page that is to be searched: You can download
the page and store it on your server.
Changing the page that is to be searched: If you want to change
the page in any way (i.e. break it down, insert
something, reformat), you can do that. As long as the search retrieves
the same pieces of text as the original page, I don't care what you
do to your copy of the page.
Funny characters on the page that is to be searched: There are
some funny characters on the page (eg. < and > which display
as < and >). You don't need to worry about them with respect
to the search. I do not intend
to use any difficult characters when I test your search for
marking purposes. (But you may need to worry about strange characters
with respect to security - see the lecture notes for week 6).
Boolean AND on the search form: if two words are entered then
the search should default to evaluating the terms using Boolean AND.
The user should not have to do anything to request Boolean AND because
this should be the default. Thus users should not type "AND" or any
other character to denote AND. The difference between this search
and a phrase search is that users need to enter double quotes ("") around
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 the 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 .".
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
From home: some students report that cookies may not work
properly when they are using the scripts from home. This could be due
to the firewall of the university.
It is a good idea to go to the directory where cookies are stored
and check whether cookies are actually written. Note: this only works
for non-session cookies. Session cookies are held in memory by the
browser and are never written onto the harddrive at all.