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Perl Captcha

Dreamweaver Extension for MX, DW8, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6, CC, ...

Are you using one of the classic Form-to-Emails made in Perl, for sending your Web forms to your e-mail? Then you probably need a captcha protection in your form to avoid automatic submissions and spam attacks.

NOTE: This captcha is based in Perl scripts; however we also have other products for servers with ASP or PHP support: PHP Captcha and ASP Captcha.

Perl is one of the oldest scripts used for the Web, therefore there are many scripts based on this language to process forms. However, in the last few years the amount of automatic spam in forms has increased considerably, hence the need to add some sort of protection to these scripts to avoid the problem.

One of the obstacles has always been to achieve a captcha protection which would be compatible with all sorts of Perl scripts without interfering with these.

What makes our captcha stand out from other similar products is that:

  1. It is compatible with several versions of Perl in various platforms (Unix, Linux, Mac, Windows)
  2. It does not interfere with the Perl script to protect. The protection code is automatically inserted at the beginning of the Perl file to protect and operates independently from the subsequent deployment.
  3. The requirements are minimal so it may function in most of the hosting services supporting Perl.
  4. The Dreamweaver extension is made in such a way that you do not have to know Perl in order to operate it.
  5. The captcha images generated are dynamically constructed from 8 bit bitmaps. You may choose among several image sets included or may create your own images adjusted to the style of your website.
  6. In case the user fails in writing the captcha, the form fields will be filled again automatically in such a way that you do not have to fill it from the beginning.

From the captcha code you can customize the code length (how many characters it will have), the amount of image noise (the more the noise the stronger the captcha), and the set of base images from which the image is built with the code.


Requirements for HotDreamweaver Perl Captcha:

  • Server must support Perl scripts.
  • The page processing the form must be a Perl page, usually with a ".pl" or ".cgi" extension (i.e. "formmail.pl", "formmail.cgi") and you must have access for updating this file.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver MX or later versions, for example, MX 2004, DW 8, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6, CC ...
  • Must set writing permissions in a folder named "temp" which will be created in the same folder of the script to protect.
  • Must set to the files "hdwcaptcha.pl" and "bmp.pm" the same permissions (exactly) that currently have your ".pl" or ".cgi" file (the page processing the form).

Samples & Demo

To see an example of use you can check this Video / Sample.

Here you can try some of the possible setups of the captcha image:

Configuration options

Image Set:


security code

Notice that you can create your own sets of base images to make the captcha image to your size.

Note: The images must be 8 bit bitmaps; this limits the image to grayscale colors.

Help & FAQ

To see an example/visual-tutorial of use you can check this Video / Sample.

You can read the installation details in the "Installation" section below.

You can read more about other configuration details and customizations in the "Notes" section below and in our FAQ. For questions not covered by these notes & resources you can contact our support service.

You can find more about in our Perl Captcha - FAQ.

  • For installation in your Dreamweaver:
    • Double-click on the downloaded .MXP file
    • Restart Dreamweaver
    • The extension will be available in the menu "Dreamweaver >> Insert >> Form >> Perl Captcha" and also in "Dreamweaver >> Insert bar >> Forms Tag >> Insert Perl Captcha"
  • To install the captcha in your page:
    • Open the page containing the form
    • Make use of the Perl Captcha option from the Dremaweaver menu
    • Optional: Choose the options you want for the image (captcha length, base image set and noise)
    • Important! Choose the Perl script which processes the form as the page to protect. This is normally a ".pl" or ".cgi", extension file, for example "formmail.pl", "formmail.cgi". Note: It is common for this script to be found inside the cgi-bin folder.
    • Indicate an URL where the user will be redirected in case he/she does not pass captcha verification.
    • Click on the OK button. With this, the necessary files will be generated; the page containing the form and the Perl page to protect will be automatically modified.
    • Upload the following files to your web server:
      • The page containing the form
      • The Perl page processing the form (important!)
      • The "hdwcaptcha.pl" and "bmp.pm" files found in the same folder of the Perl page processing the form
      • The "hdw-image-sets" folder and all of its content (located in the same folder of the previous point)
      • The "temp" folder, located in the same folder as of the previous points
    • Set writing permissions in the "temp" folder at your web server (Important!). Here you may find out how to set writing permissions.
    • Must set to the files "hdwcaptcha.pl" and "bmp.pm" the same permissions (exactly) that currently have your ".pl" or ".cgi" file (the page processing the form).

After clicking on the option of the Dreamweaver menu, corresponding to the Perl Captcha, the following setup window will appear:

Perl Captcha

The fields shown in these windows are the following:

Char Count: Number of digits to recognize in the captcha image. It is recommended to use between 5 and 8 digits.

Image Set: Which base set you want to make up the image. You may create your own base sets.

Noise:Quantity of noise to add to the base image; this improves the security of captcha. Normally values between 5 and 10 are recommended, but it depends on the base set used.

Page to Protect: Choose Perl script processing the form here. This is normally a ".pl" or ".cgi" extension files, for example "formmail.pl", "formmail.cgi", the one which is found sometimes within the "cgi-bin" folder.

Redirect on failed: When the user enters a invalid code he/she is redirected to the page you indicate here. Normally in this page the person who miswrote the code is given a chance to return to the form to try again. You may also choose to redirect the user directly to the page containing the form*.

*Note: When the user is redirected to the page containing the form after failing the attempt to identify the captcha, the fields are in the form automatically refilled to avoid writing them over again.

Creating your own set of captcha images

If you want, you can create your own set of base images for captcha, thus achieving a customized captcha. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Create a Bitmap image with all the digits "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0"
  2. Choose the desired font and apply the distortion and effects of your taste.
  3. Convert the image to a 8-bit bitmap (Important!). Note this will take the image to gray tones.
  4. Pick every digit separated in a small 8-bit bitmap and name them "0.bmp", "1.bmp", "2.bmp",... , "9.bmp"
  5. Overwrite these bitmaps in the folder containing the set of base images in use by the captcha, for example "hdw-image-sets/set1" in case the set chosen has been #1.
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