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Table of Contents
Select from the following table of contents to jump to a specific area within this README file. This is a HTML version of the README file distributed with Guestbook.
Copyright and Header
GuestbookVersion 2.3.1
Copyright 1996-2002 Matt
Created 04/21/95Last Modified 10/29/95
Matt's Script Archive, Inc.:

If you run into any problems while trying to configure this scripts, help is available. The steps you should take to get the fastest results, are:
      1) Read this file thoroughly.
      2) Consult the Matt's Script Archive Frequently Asked Questions:

      3) If you are still having difficulty installing this script,
          you may wish to look at the resources listed here:

Hopefully that will be able to help you solve your problems. Due to time constraints I can no longer offer technical support for this code.

Copyright 1995 - 2002 Matthew M. Wright All Rights Reserved.

Guestbook may be used and modified free of charge by anyone so long as this copyright notice and the comments above remain intact. By using this code you agree to indemnify Matthew M. Wright from any liability that might arise from its use.

Selling the code for this program without prior written consent is expressly forbidden. In other words, please ask first before you try and make money off of my program.

Obtain permission before redistributing this software over the Internet or in any other medium. In all cases copyright and header must remain intact.
There are five files included in the Guestbook package. Below is a brief summary of them:

1. README - This file.
2. - The Perl Script.
3. guestbook.html - The actual guestbook file.
4. addguest.html - The fill-out form for a guestbook entry.
5. guestlog.html - A short log of those who have added.
This is the Perl script that actually writes new entries to files and returns the entry to the user. This file will need to be placed in the cgi-bin of your server and chmoded to a+rx. There are a few things that need to be changed in this file:

 Set Variables

The url address of your guestbook.html file.

The system location of your guestbook.html file.

The system location of your guestlog.html file.

The url portion of the address to the file The file needs to be placed in your server's cgi-bin and chmoded read/execute for users of your httpd. (chmod a+rx)

 New in Version 2.1

There are now several options that you have to decide whether or not to use. Below is a brief description of what each one does. While choosing what options you want to have on keep in mind that a '1' will turn them on and a '0' will turn them off.

This option will allow you to be notified via an E-Mail address when a new entry arrives in your guestbook. The entry will be mailed to you as a notification. If you should choose to turn this variable on you will need to fill in the 2 variables that go along with it:

   Your E-Mail address, so that the mailing program will know who to mail the
   entry to.

   The location of your sendmail program on your host machine.

This will allow you the ability to use my short log feature. It is already turned on so you will have to change it to 0 if you do not wish to use it. I have implemented this feature, since there are probably many people who feel no need to have a log when people are making entries to a file anyway. Keep in mind it will show errors which is one nice aspect about it.

Turning this option on will make the address links in your guestbook become hyperlinked. So instead of simply having ( it will put (<a href=""></a>) so that anyone can simply click on the address to email them.

While looking at many other guestbooks I noticed that many people prefer to separate entries with a Horizontal Rule <hr> instead of a Paragraph Separator <p>, which I used in my old scripts. I have now given you the option to choose. By changing the 0 in the script to a 1 you will turn on the <hr> separator and turn off the <p> separator. The 0 option will do the reverse of that; turn on <p> and turn off <hr>.

Although Netscape and other browsers handle the auto-redirection that I have implemented quite nicely, I have noticed that it does not work with lynx (a text based browser). I have given you the option of using auto-redirection or not. Lynx can still add to your guestbook with it, they will just get an error message when they do. This may not be true for all systems though. It seemed that when we upgraded to httpd 1.4 this problem started occurring. By choosing 1 you will enable auto redirection and 0 will return a page to the user telling them their entry has been received and click here to get back to the guestbook.

 New in Version 2.2

Here are a couple new options in version 2.2, which you will need to configure, or leave as default.

When this script was first written, entries were always added next to the top, so you and other users did not have to always see the same guestbook entry when they visited your pages. The rest of the enties scrolled beneath the newest, from newest to oldest. I have had requests that I make an option available so that people can have a guestbook which would read from oldest to newest. This is how you would go about doing that. Set this option to '0' and the newest entries will be added below the rest of the entries. Keep this option at '1' and the guestbook will act like previous versions, adding the newest entry to the top.

Many users of the guestbook have requested that a form letter be automatically sent to the remote user when they fill in the guestbook. Turning this option on will tell the script to automatically mail any user who leaves an email address. You can specify the contents of the mail mesage by editing the section of the script that sends mail to the remote user. By default it sends a message that says, "Thank you for adding to my guestbook." and then shows them their entry. If you should choose to turn this variable on you will need to fill in the 2 variables that go along with it:

   Your E-Mail address, so that the mailing program will know who to mail the
   entry to.

   The location of your sendmail program on your host machine.

 New in Version 2.3

There is one new configurable option in version 2.3 of the guestbook.

  $allow_html = "";
This option allows you to turn on or off the use of HTML tags by users of your guestbook. Setting this variable to '1' allows users to imbed html tags such as <b> or <H1> or <a href=""></a> into your html document. Setting this variable to '0' will not allow them to use any html syntax in their comments or any other field. You can still link to their email address by turning $link_mail to '1'.

Also new in version 2.3 is the ability for users to add their own url and then their name is referenced to their URL in the guestbook.html file. This helps to eliminate the need for allow_html to be turned on, and lets users point you to a spot that will tell you more about them. Several users of the guestbook script have asked for this option. If you wish to disable the option, simply delete the following line from your addguest.html file:

URL: <input type=text name=url size=50><br>

 New in Version 2.3.1

This option allows you to decide whether or not you want line breaks in the comment field to be turned into <br>'s in the html thing to retain the look of the guestbook entry. Common setting would be off, because sometimes people accidentally put in extra line breaks.
This is the file that you will link to that will contain the Guestbook Entries. You will need to have this set at write/read permission for the users (chmod a+rw). You will probably need to edit the url for the link to the addguest.html file and edit the url at the end of this page to point back to your home page. You will also want to edit the title and heading spaces. Do not delete the line <!--begin--> from this guestbook, or else the script will have no way of knowing where to begin the editing. The <!--begin--> line is the only necessary line in your guestbook.html file, but the link to the addguest.html file is also a good idea. :)
This is a fill-out form to add a new entry into the guestbook. You will need to edit parts of it to correct urls and names of things, but leave the basic field names in place in the form. You will also need to change the action of the form to point to the file you placed in your cgi-bin. The action of the form should be the same as the $cgiurl variable you configured in your file.
This is a short log that lists domains and times that entries were created. Much easier to browse and it will point out those failed entries when users did not specify a name or comments. This file will also need read/write permission given to it. To avoid long scripting (call me lazy if you want :-) ) I left the log file so that newest entries are added at the bottom. This should be apparent though since the entries all come with a short date added. You can get around using this by changing the option $uselog in the file.
Bug Fixes
 Version 2.1

  1. I changed the guestbook script so that the subroutines now work. I guess I really messed up in Version 2.0, since I didn't test it well, so I tried to be extra careful this time.

2. In the subroutines I added a complete new form so that people who forget to put their name in can simply fill it in, while the script retains the rest of the information and it will them be added. This means that they don't have to first return to the guestbook add form to fill out the entry all over again.

 Version 2.2

  1. I seemed to have a huge parenthesis problem in version 2.1. I messed up twice in the mail option and also in the guestbook printing, when the ')' was put inside the <a href> mailto tag, instead of outside like the first one. The mail option was missing two parenthesis which caused it not to work on many machines. These have both been fixed.

2. <>'s were used instead of () in the guestbook email addresses.

 Version 2.3

  1. Fixed Server Side Includes Security whole in script.

Version 1.1 05/13/95 - chop($shortdate); added to make log file more readable...
Version 2.0 05/26/95 - Several lines of code added and modified so that entries now appear most recent entry first.
- Many lines taken out so that the script automatically returns you to the guestbook after you have completed the add form.
Version 2.1 05/29/95 - Edited subroutines so that they now work. Added fill out form to the subroutines to make less jumps to fill out guestbook.
- Added the option of mailing the owner of the guestbook when a new entry arrives.
- Added the option to hypertext the email address of the guest and you can now choose whether to log the entry or not.
- chop($date); added and the guestbook entry modified.
Version 2.2 08/23/95 - Tiny Modifications:
- Parenthesis for email address in entry changed to brackets, so that the email address can more easily be cut and pasted into most email programs.
- Other minor changes
- Logging now a subroutine.
- Code tabbed better to make more readable. This was one of my worst scripts up until now in that respect.
- Option to have newest entries displayed at the bottom instead of at the top added.
- E-mail option now fixed so the names come through with the email messages.
- Modified the subroutines, so when an error message is submitted, people don't see just a 2 letter field for the State. I guess I was just ignorant before, not realizing this would be around the world, where not everyone uses 2 digits for their state. :)
Version 2.21 10/08/95- Fixed a problem with logging entry, which caused the log to be on one line when viewed with a WWW browser.
Version 2.3 10/14/95- Added option of allowing html tags or throwing them out when an entry was added.
- Fixed a hole in the script, which, when html is turned on, like it always used to be, people could add random server side includes to your html pages. Not cool. Thanks to: Rick O'Donnell ( for pointing out the flaw and providing a fix.
- Added an optional URL field in the add an entry form and modified the script to place the reference around the submitter's name.
Version 2.3.1 10/29/95- Took out all references to $server, which were accidentally left in version 2.3.
- Added an option to let you change line breaks in comment field to <br>'s in html doc.
- Added several die routines so maybe I won't get as many mail messages as to "Why doesn't this work!" :: HTML Form to Email Processor
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