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implementing a cp_dbms driver

cpsvc README


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cpsvc is a simple c based web server. It currently features

  • an HTTP 1.1 file server
  • SSL support
  • support for CGI scripts
  • cpsp - a c serverside scripting framework

DISCLAIMER: cpsvc does work, but it lacks certain security features (will allow accessing such uri's as ../../etc/passwd for instance), does no caching, and is not a complete HTTP/1.1 implementation. If you need an http server for your website this is probably not what you're looking for. You may still be interested in cpsvc if you're considering using libcprops for tcp or http programming.


if libcprops is configured --with-cpsvc, the executable cpsvc should be built when building libcprops. If not, run

$ ./configure
$ make

in the root directory. if installing use the --bindir parameter to the configure script to specify where you want the executables installed, then install with

$ make install


cpsvc recognizes the following options and flags:

  -d   path       --  document root
  -b   path       --  path to cpsp binaries
  -C   path       --  cgi-bin path
  -m   mimetypes  --  mime types definition file
  -u   run cpsp scripts on main instance

SSL options:
  -c   file       --  ssl certificate file (pem)
  -k   file       --  ssl key file (pem)
  -f   fail connection on verification failure
  -o   only verify client once
  -s   use ssl
  -v   verify client

cpsp scripts

a cpsp (cp server page) script is an html template allowing embedded c code.
The following tags are recognized:

  1. <%@ MAKE-VARIABLE value %>
  2. <%! GLOBAL CODE %>
  4. <%= CSTR %>

unescaped content is interpreted as html.

  1. Make variables currently recognized are
    • CPSPCFLAGS - the generated c code will be compiled with these additional flags
    • CPSPLDFLAGS - the resulting object file will be linked with these additional flags
    • CPSPLIBS - additional libraries to link (e.g. -lm)
  2. Global code is emitted to the generated interim c file before the generated service function, regardless of where it occurs in the .cpsp template.
  3. Service function code is written to the generated cpsp service function in the order in which it appears in the .cpsp source. The following variables are defined automatically within the context of the service function:
    • cp_http_request *request - request descriptor
    • cp_http_response *response - response descriptor
    • cp_http_session *session - the session object
    • cp_string *content - a reference to the reponse content
  4. Run time literals: within the generated service function, runtime literals are interpreted as null terminated strings.

cpsp functions

  1. service function (generated)
  2. initialization
  3. finalization
  1. service function (generated) - requests to a uri ending with a .cpsp extension invoke the cpsp framework, which takes the corresponding cpsp file and generates a service function of the following prototype:

            int cpsp_service_function(cp_http_request *request,
                                      cp_http_response *response)

    in the context of the service function, the automatic variable ``session'' points to a session object.

  2. initialization - cpsp files are compiled into a shared object. If this object contains a function named ``cpsp_init'' it is executed once, when the cpsp is loaded. The prototype for the init function is

            void cpsp_init();

  3. finalization - if the cpsp object contains a function named ``cpsp_destroy'' it is called once, when the cpsp is unloaded. The prototype for this function is
            void cpsp_destroy();

cpsp example

assuming a header file ``lookup.h'' defining a function
  char *lookup(char *name);
which returns the number for the given name; and an object file ``lookup.o'' containing the compiled implementation of this function, the following cpsp script looks up the number for the name given as a parameter.


<%@ CPSPLDFLAGS lookup.o %>
<%! #include "lookup.h" %>
    char *uname = cp_http_session_get(session, "USERNAME");
    char *name = cp_http_request_get_parameter(request, "NAME");
    char *number = lookup(name);
<HEAD> <TITLE> lookup </TITLE> </HEAD>
    if (uname)
logged in as <%= uname >
not logged in
    if (number == NULL)
Sorry, no entry for <%= name %>
Number: <%= number %>

cpsp runtime characteristics

cpsp scripts are compiled and linked into shared objects. On startup, cpsvc forks worker processes to run cpsp pages. New requests run on the next available worker instance. Sessions are bound to the worker instance they were created on. This approach was chosen to promote stability rather than speed: If a script causes a crash, the main cpsvc process remains to fork a new worker instance to replace the crashed worker instance. The client receives a HTTP 500 page and if the system limit allows, a core dump of the crashed process is written.

The first call to a script triggers a page compilation if required. If the compilation succeeds, the resulting code is loaded. Implemented this way, cpsp is as stable as CGI, but is still fast beyond the first call since the code resides in memory. This of course also allows keeping session information in memory.

To trade safety for maximal speed, if cpsvc is invoked with the -u flag scripts are not executed on a separate instance, which means a script crash causes the whole service to crash. In return the serialization and deserialization overhead is eliminated.