Meta-HTML Source Release (fwd)

Gordon Irlam (
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 12:27:08 -0700 (PDT)

Meta-HTML is pretty neat. Check it out.

Products in related spaces include:

Spinner SPML



From: "Brian J. Fox" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 04:12:13 -0700
Subject: Meta-HTML Source Release


Version 5.0 of Universal Access Inc.'s <Meta-HTML> distribution is now
available via anonymous FTP from as the file
/pub/source/metahtml-5.0.tar.gz. This release is the first publicly
available release of the Meta-HTML source code.

The following phrase has been used to describe <Meta-HTML> -- "Server
side includes on steroids."



<Meta-HTML> is a programming language specifically designed for working
within the World Wide Web environment. Although it is a genuine
programming language, suitable for large-scale symbolic manipulation,
it provides the most commonly wanted Web functionality as built-in
primitives, so you don't have to write them. You can find out more
about the theory of implementation in this white paper

Web pages are authored using HTML and <Meta-HTML> statements freely
intermixed. When a page is requested by a browser, the page is passed
through the <Meta-HTML> engine, which dynamically processes any
<Meta-HTML> statements to produce a final HTML page which is delivered
to the browser.

The source distribution provides several different interpreter options:

* A CGI engine which can be run by any Unix Web server,
* A full-featured Web server (mhttpd) with the interpreter built in,
* A standalone processor, much like Perl or Tcl, and
* An interactive debugger, with a feel similar to GDB (mdb)

The server and engine have been designed such that it is transparent
to <Meta-HTML> which one is in use. URLs do not need to contain
"/cgi-bin/" in them; they simply look like standard document

In addition to flow-control, arithmetic operators, and relational
operators, <Meta-HTML> provides the following Web application

* Stateful sessions, with or without browser cookie support,
* GDBM database storage, retrieval and searching,
* Network and file system streams,
* Macros and functions, so that you can write new tags,
* Interface to the MSQL database system,
* File upload and download over HTTP/1.0 connections, and
* Extended regular expression syntax in string operations

Why two database interfaces? The GDBM database interface allows
unlimited variable length free-format records, compiles on virtually
every platform, is completely free, and is simple and lightweight.
The MSQL database interface allows SQL queries, fast searches over
large amounts of data, and is in wide use today. It just seemed
natural to support both.



Bug reports for <Meta-HTML> should be sent to
Bug reports for the documentation should be sent to

There is a user mailing list: You can
subscribe on the Web [], or by
sending mail to

Pre-compiled distribution sets are available via the <Meta-HTML> Web
site at []. We currently have versions for

bsdi-2.0-i386, hpux-10.10-hppa, irix-5.3-mips, linux-i386,
osf-3.0-alpha, solaris-2.5-i386, solaris-2.5-sun4m, and



<Meta-HTML> was designed and implemented by Brian J. Fox (
It is owned by Universal Access Inc., and is released under terms identical
to the GPL. The programs are maintained by Brian J. Fox, Henry Minsky,
and Jarlath O' Carroll at Universal Access Inc.