Configuring the Web Server

Most Web servers must be specially configured to invoke the ACUCOBOL-GT runtime to execute your CGI program. For instance, using IIS on Windows machines, you map the ".acu" extension with the ACUCOBOL-GT runtime ("wrun32.exe") in the Web server configuration settings. On UNIX machines using Apache, you must provide a small shell script to invoke the runtime along with the COBOL CGI program.

Although we have included helpful suggestions in this section for configuring Web server products for this purpose, please be aware that we are unable to provide technical assistance for Web server configuration efforts. Configuration procedures vary with each Web server product, so be sure to refer to your Web server documentation for specific details.

Although configuration procedures vary with Web server platforms, each Web server shares one characteristic: if a CGI program attempts any operation that waits for a user response, it will cause the CGI process to "hang." At best this wastes system resources. At worst, it may cause the entire Web server to "hang." Even if your code does not wait for user input, there may be some cases when the runtime displays a message box even before loading the COBOL program, or when shutting down due to an error that is not handled by the COBOL program.

To help you avoid problems with the Web server when running your CGI program, configure the Web server with the “-f” runtime command line option as shown in the procedures below. If you prefer, you can accomplish the same thing by configuring the environment with the A_CGI environment variable. In general, we recommend that you use the "-f" option, because environment variables can affect other COBOL programs as well.

In addition, if you will be running your CGI program on a UNIX system, you should include the “-b” runtime option. It inhibits terminal initialization, which can lead to problems with CGI.