Scripts are programming languages that allow user interaction with a web page. One way to do this is with CGI scripts. CGI is a protocol that allows a web browser to submit information to a server. The server then runs a script using this information. Most commonly the script sends an e-mail or returns a web page to the browser. Pearl is a programming language that is frequently used to with CGI scripts. The idea here is that cgi scripts can make web pages respond to a user input.

Javascripts are similar, but they actually run in the browser. Javascript is different than Java (a programming language that is much more complex). Javascripts let you do lots of useful things for teaching chemistry. One of the most common applications is to generate problem sets using random numbers and for online testing. Some of the features are a bit primitive, but there is lots of potential. Before diving in, be forwarned that javascripts are browser dependent. IE, Netscape, and Opera have all implemented slightly different versions of javascript.

The best way I know to write Javascript is to find something similar and modify it for your use. If you really want to learn Javascript, it is beyond what this article can accomplish. This is just a starter.

To see what a javascript can do, take a look at some of George Wigers online Lecture Help Pages with Solutions. These are designed to use with Netscape.

Go to your favorite search engine and search for "javascript library", "cgi" or "pearl script" to find lots of examples and information.

Look at the program hot potato. This program creates scripts for online quizzes and more.

This page is maintained by
Scott Van Bramer
Department of Chemistry
Widener University
Chester, PA 19013

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Last Updated 1/1/97