## Forum archive 2000-2006

### Arnold K. Pizer - Overview of WeBWorK installation

by Arnold Pizer -
Number of replies: 0
 Overview of WeBWorK installation topic started 4/28/2000; 10:51:10 AMlast post 5/15/2001; 4:36:16 PM
Arnold K. Pizer - Overview of WeBWorK installation
4/28/2000; 10:51:10 AM (reads: 2157, responses: 1)

# Overview of WeBWorK system setup

## Where to put the WeBWorK files

The WeBWorK files can be placed almost anywhere but a reasonable location is as follows. Your webserver uses two directories (often called htdocs or html and cgi-bin) under which it expects to find html documents and cgi scripts respectively. These two directories are usually subdirectories of a directory called httpd or www. We'll assume this parent directory is called www. The webwork.tar file should be placed in the www directory and then untarred (see Setting up a WeBWorK system). This will create a directory webwork containing the system and courses subdirectories (each, in turn, containing their own files and subdirectories). So the directory structure will look like:

        www                htdocs                cgi-bin                webwork                        system                        courses

The webwork directory should not be a subdirectory of the htdocs directory as you do not want anyone using the web to have direct access to any files under the webwork directory. The system directory contains all the files needed by the WeBWorK system. The courses directory contains files related to the individual WeBWorK courses.

## How does WeBWorK interact with the webserver?

No WeBWorK files are directly accessible from the web. Rather all access is through two types of methods, one for cgi scripts and one for html files. The WeBWorK cgi directory can be accessed through either of two methods.

The first method of accessing the WeBWorK cgi directory is through a link. One cgi link (set up in step 8 of Setting up a WeBWorK system) gives access to all of WeBWorK's cgi scripts. Note that this requires your webserver to be set up to follow symbolic links under the cgi-bin directory (see step 2 of Setting up a WeBWorK system). If for some reason you do not want to set up your webserver this way, we suggest you first do so on a temporary basis and get WeBWorK running. Then you can move WeBWorK's cgi directory (www/webwork/system/cgi) so that it lies under the webserver's cgi-bin directory at which point a cgi link will not be needed. Or you can use the second method.

The second method of accessing the WeBWorK cgi directory is through (at least with Apache) a ScriptAlias directive in Apache's httpd.conf file (set up in step 8 of Setting up a WeBWorK system). With this method it is not required that your webserver to be set up to follow symbolic links for cgi scripts. Note that the Apache performance tuning document mentions there is a performanace hit (probably slight) if your webserver is not configured to follow symbolic links.

## What does the system setup script do?

This script is run only when you initially set up the WeBWorK system.

It modifies all the scripts entering the correct path to perl on your system.

It modifies many of the scripts entering the correct path to WeBWorK on your system.

It sets the correct permissions and groups for all the files and directories. This is extremely tricky to get correct by hand if you want to have a functioning and secure system.

It modifies the  Global.pm  file entering the cgi and html WeBWorK URL's for your system. The variables defined in the  Global.pm  file set defaults and parameters for the whole WeBWorK system. Defaults can be over ridden for individual courses by redefining variables in the individual course webworkCourse.ph files.

It modifies the html document files entering the correct path to gifs, other documents, etc.

## What does the course setup script do?

This script is run every time a WeBWorK course is set up.

It sets the correct permissions and groups for all the course files and directories. Any missing files or directories are created.

It creates the webworkCourse.ph file. The variables defined in this file set defaults and parameters for the individual course. System defaults set in  Global.pm  can be over ridden for the individual course by redefining variables in the webworkCourse.ph file.

It creates a generic but functional index.html, i.e. a front page, for the course. Almost certainly, professors will want to customize this page

<| Post or View Comments |>

 Christopher Harrington - Re: Overview of WeBWorK installation  5/15/2001; 4:36:16 PM (reads: 2050, responses: 0) <| Post or View Comments |>