Apache Guide: Introduction to Server Side Includes Page 2

It is formatted like an HTML comment, so if you don't have SSI correctly enabled, the browser will ignore it, but it will still be visible in the HTML source. If you have SSI correctly configured, the directive will be replaced with the results of the directive.

The element can be one of a number of things, and we'll talk some more about most of these in the next installment of this series. For now, here are some examples of what you can do with SSI.

Today's Date

        <!--#echo var=DATE_LOCAL -->

The echo element just spits out the value of a variable. There are a number of standard variables, which include the whole set of environment variables that are available to CGI programs. Also, you can define your own variables with the set element.

If you don't like the format in which the date gets printed, you can use the config element, with a timefmt attribute, to modify that formatting.

        <!--#config timefmt="%A %B %d, %Y" -->
        Today is <!--#echo var=DATE_LOCAL -->

Modification Date of the File</4>

        This document last modified <!--#flastmod file="index.html" -->

This element is also subject to timefmt format configurations.

Including the Results of a CGI Program

This is one of the more common uses of SSI - to output the results of a CGI program, such as everybody's favorite, a hit counter.

        <!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/counter.pl" -->

We'll definately come back to this in another article.

Other Stuff

And, of course, there are a variety of other things that we can do with SSI. I need to leave something to talk about next week. So, next week, we'll have a lot more examples, and talk about some of the more involved things that you will be able to do with SSI.

Rich Bowen is the Director of Web Application Development at The Creative Group and the author of Apache Server Unleashed.

This article was originally published on Jun 12, 2000
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