Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

How H2G2 works

Author:Yoz Grahame
Posted:5/1/1999; 9:34:29 PM
Topic:Hitchhikers guide site?
Msg #:5519 (In response to 5464)
Prev/Next:5518 / 5520

A quick guide to h2g2's internals:

The webserver is running NT + IIS + PerlEx on a quad PPro machine, connecting to another NT box running SQL Server 7. All the site code is in Perl (with the exception of one ISAPI filter) which is running on ActiveState's PerlEx to speed up execution (despite the files ending in .cgi, it's running persistent Perl processes, so don't be fooled).

We use XML all over the site - all the Guide Entries are done in our own XML tagset, and all the user-facing code outputs XML which a UI module catches and translates to HTML. For XML handling we tried various existing Perl XML modules but they didn't seem to agree with PerlEx, unfortunately, so we wrote our own.

The ISAPI filter mentioned above handles URLs that look like and - these go directly to Articles or User home pages respectively. It also does something pretty neat that we haven't seen elsewhere: if you type in an Article URL, such as the one above, it'll catch those which don't match existing entries and suggest the ones you may have meant to type.

Glad you like it - we're very proud of it!

-- Yoz

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