Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


CGI Programming

Filed under: Fun Work,PERL — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:22 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

It took a year, but I did it!

Did what, you might be wondering? I finally figured out a CGI script for Fantasist.net that I’ve been working on for almost a year.
See, I love words and languages, especially foreign words and languages. In fact, I love them so much that I’ve tried to create them on several occasions, just like J.R.R. Tolkien did. But, since I’m not a trained linguist like Tolkien, I’ve always cast about for help creating the words. I want them to sound authentic, but not be actual words from an actual language. I’d hate to put together words that I thought were quite alien and unique only to find out that I’d insulted a publisher in Istanbul or Delhi! So, I searched for help with that on the web. Boy, did I find help! One of the best places, though, was Chris Pound’s Name Generation page. Chris is a linguist and has made several PERL scripts that generate new words based on input from an existing language. Finally, I could get words that were phonetically similar to an existing language that were new and unique!
But, of course, I wasn’t satisfied with that. I had to go further. What about people who couldn’t figure out PERL? I mean, it’s taken me forever to tweak things and get a good handle on the basics. What about all those potential conlangers who just aren’t up to PERL? My 11-year-old daughter, for instance, has recently gotten into conlanging. How could I make this available for her, without trying to teach her PERL? The answer, of course, is the web. So, I modified Chris’ scripts and played with data until I understood it fairly well. Then, I tried to get it up on the web. I was a miserable failure.
Until last night, that is. I started with a very basic CGI tutorial and started building upward from there until I had a simple form that would give me simple, html-friendly output. From there, it was a simple matter of tweaking the original PERL script, and an html form, until I had a good combination. And, though, I have to work out formatting and style-sheets, here it is at Fantasist.net: WordGenerator.

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