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How to start a file download using CGI?

Posted on 1997-11-08
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Last Modified: 2013-12-25
I am trying to implement a single HTML Web page at my Web site that performs two actions:

1) Prompt the visitor for their email address and then...

2) Start a download of a specific .ZIP file


I have a form on a Web page (example):

<form
action="https://www.mysite.com/myaccount/cgibin/download.cgi"
method="POST">
<input type="hidden" name="THISPROGRAM" value="DOWNLOAD">

<input type="text" size="30" name="address">
</form>

...and I know enough about CGI/Perl to be dangerous.  The current CGI script
I use can retrieve the email "address" input from this form and use it. This is no problem.  I am fine here.  However, my problem is I don't know how a CGI script can initiate a file transfer, in this case MYPROG.ZIP
located at:   www.mysite.com/pub/myprog.zip to the visitor's browser.

I wish that a form action could run TWO commands at the same time, but I fear that this is not possible, therefore I must initiate the file download/transfer from the cgi script (which I don't know how to do).

Any suggestions and examples would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:Kapusta
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by:Kapusta
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by:Kapusta
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by:Kapusta
ID: 1831120
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Accepted Solution

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alamo earned 250 total points
ID: 1831121
This is done via a redirect, i.e. your perl script would write as the only header:

print "Location: http://www.mysite.com/pub/myprog.zip\n\n";

This will send a signal to the browser which will turn around and get the file. The only drawback is the user will be left looking at the page with the original form, you can't send the suer another message. On the plus side though,  the URL of the file won't show on the Location: line.

Does this meet your needs? If not, leave a comment and I'll change it... good luck!

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