Scripting & Databases - Central Web

Central Web Scripting Options

If you have a York Central Web account there are a number of server-side scripting options available to you. Typical uses for scripting include guest books, forms, and database-driven content management. This page provides basic information on the use of scripting on the Central Web Service, but does not provide instruction on web programming.

Server Environment

The UIT central web server environment supports the following server environments:

  • Apache 1.3x (Debian Linux)
  • IIS 6.x (Windows Server 2003)  (available for academic and administrative sites on request)

For details on scripting and database versions and options, please see Available Scripting Options below.

PHP & PERL

PHP and PERL are popular web scripting languages which allow you to process web forms, create guest books and other types of dynamic or database-driven  websites. All York Central Web accounts support PHP and PERL. In order to use these languages, you must set all .pl and .php files to be executable by the owner.  It is important that only the owner of the file have execute permissions, otherwise your script files will not work.

NOTE: Examining directory permissions may cause issues with your website.

Setting owner execute permissions with command-line FTP
You can change file permissions using a command-line FTP utility by navigating to your script directory and entering the following command:

quote site chmod 700 MyScript.pl
where MyScript.pl is replaced by the name of your script file.

Setting owner execute permissions with winSCP

Some FTP programs, such as winSCP provide a GUI interface which simplifies setting permissions on your script files. To set the permissions with winSCP, right-click the .PHP or .PL file you need to change and select "Properties". The Remote file properties dialog will appear as shown below. Check Read, Write and Execute permissions for Owner and check Read permission for Group. Leave all other boxes unchecked.

winSCP.png
Unpacking file archives

Because UIT does not permit shell access to web accounts, you can not unzip or untar script files directly in your account. If you are installing an archive of script files, you will have to unpack these files on your local system and then upload them to your Central Web account.

ASP

If you require the ability to work with MS Access databases, Excel spreadsheets (or prefer to use ASP scripting in conjunction with PostgreSQL or other database services) then Microsoft ASP (Active Server Pages) can be enabled for your site. You do not have to change file permissions in order to use ASP, however, ASP support must be configured for your account before it can be used. If you require ASP support, send a request to accounts@yorku.ca with the name of the York Central Web account which will host your ASP pages and a brief description of your application.

Database access

UIT can provide your group with access to a PostgreSQL or mySQL database and recommends using one of these databases for most web-related applications.

Database login information will be provided after your database account has been created.

Other database/scripting options are listed in the table below.

Available Database & Scripting Languages

Scripting
Language
PostgreSQL 7.2x*
mySQL 5.0.22*
Oracle** SQL Server** MS Access
PHP 4.3.x Yes Yes No No No
PERL 5.8x Yes Yes No No No
ASP / IIS 6 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

* If your group has a central web account, you may contact accounts@yorku.ca to request a PostgreSQL or mySQL database account.  Note that we also run a mySQL 3.23 legacy system. All new accounts are created for mySQL version 5.  If you have a mySQL 3.23 database and would like to upgrade, please contact accounts@yorku.ca and request a new account.

** UIT does not provide Oracle or SQL Server database access. If your department or organization already has access to Oracle or SQL Server, then  you may use your York Central Web service  to host dynamic pages which interact with your database.

Limitations

Because Central Web accounts are hosted on shared servers, UIT has made every effort to provide a safe scripting environment which prevents users from accessing other users' files and data. We have also configured our server environment to prevent individual scripts from using unfair amounts of memory and CPU resources. UIT reserves the right to disable Central Web accounts which adversely affect server performance and reliability.