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FAQ-Search by Inc.
(c) 2000-2003 Jason Silver

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This script is early in it's development. Keep
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Jason Silver


When I set up my FAQ page I tried to find a script which would manage
questions for me, allowing people to search the database, and interact
with the answers. As the existence of this script attests to, I was
not successful in locating something.

FAQ-Search does not do everything I want it to yet, but I hope to add
more of these features over the next few months.

It will soon manage the FAQs to the degree that as people ask new questions,
they are saved in the database as 'pending'. You will be able to reply to
the email from the script, and your response will be posted as the official
answer to the question. The original questioner will also be emailed with
the response.

The script works as a Server Side Include script. It will still work without
SSI, just call it directly instead of using the faq.shtml page.

Installation Overview:

1. Setting some options at the beginning of the script file (
2. Adding questions and answers to the database file (faq.txt)
2. Using FTP to upload the files
3. Setting permissions on the files

Here's How!

1. Using a text editor like textpad, or notepad, open the *.pl scripts
The only thing to do is to change the path to perl so that it's
configured for your server.

It's usually:
Also, within the script are the following variables:

A path is different from a URL. It is usually something like
$cgipath = ''; # path to this script (from server root)
$emailprog = '/usr/sbin/sendmail'; # your mailer program...
You don't need to escape the @ symbol with a slash, since it's between single quotes.
$admin_email = '';
This is your administrator's password:
$adminpass = "password";
This is the file where the frequently asked questions are saved.
$server_file = "faq.txt";
This is the number of records to display one one page.
$records_to_display = 6;
This is the path to the frequently asked questions file ($server_file). Leave
it blank if you save the faq.txt file in the cgi-bin, (with the script).
$datapath = "";
If you cannot use Server Side Includes, then change this to the URL to the script
from the root. For example, if the url is
then the $html_page would be cgi-bin/ or cgi-bin/faq.shtml
$html_page = "/faq.shtml"; # for using Server Side Includes
This search is performed when the script is first called.
$default_search = "";
If you have multiple categories, then pick one as the default, and place it here.
$default_category = "category";
This causes the default view to hide the replies. Set it to zero to show the replies
as the default.
$hide_replies = 1; # default
Change this to the full URL if you have trouble with the environment variable below:
$url = $ENV{'SERVER_NAME'};
place your admin login and password below:
$login = 'admin';
$password = 'password';
$highlight_color = 'yellow';
This will show the categories in the script to choose from.
$display_categories = 1;
Allow searches to be more specific. To shut this off, set to 0.
$search_each_word = 1;
You shouldn't need to change this, unless you're using the script for another language.
This prevents the script from searching through commonly used words. They are ignored in
a search.
@common_words = ("a","at","be","do","for","how","to","the","so","my","but","is","it","on","this","i");

2. The database file is made up of three columns: the category, the question, and the answer.
Each column's data is separated by a comma, and enclosed in double quotes like this:
"Stupid Questions","Why is the sky blue?","I don't know."
"Stupid Questions","How do I get up in the morning?","Use an alarm clock."

3. Use an FTP program like WS_FTP or CuteFTP (just some examples I'm aware of) and
upload the file to your server's cgi-bin.
Upload the icon_faqsearch.jpg to your server in a root folder called images
Upload the text file faq.txt to the directory you specified above in $datapath.

4. Set permissions (CHMOD) on the files so it is executable. (755).
The owner should be able read, write, and execute.
The group should be able to read, and execute.
Also, other should be able to read, and execute.

Set permissions (CHMOD) the faq.txt file so it is readable and writeable (777)
The owner should be able read, write, and execute.
The group should be able to read, write, aand execute.
Also, other should be able to read, write, and execute.

Jason Silver


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