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in reply to keeping connection alive while spending time building a zip file

Short of timed-redirects, you need to off-load the ZIPping of the files to a separate process that you can fire off (say, a Unix socket based server of your own design in Perl). Then, use Javascript on the client and a small bit of AJAX to send up status info. When it's done, have the Javascript redirect to the file.
Information doesn't want to be free. It wants to be feline.
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Re^2: keeping connection alive while spending time building a zip file
by afoken (Canon) on Aug 11, 2011 at 11:28 UTC

    What if Javscript is not available (links, lynx, wget, curl, LWP::UserAgent) or blocked (NoScript, ...)?

    Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use Javascript." Now they have two problems.

    Alexander

    --
    Today I will gladly share my knowledge and experience, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so". ;-)

      If you use fork, and build the zip file with the child process, then the parent process can redirect to a "status" page. The status page will either display "working..." or "not done yet" while the zip is being built, or else display a clickable link to the zip once it's done. The ajax/javascript version of the page will automatically refresh the status every few seconds. If javascript is not available, you could try using a meta tag refresh, or else instruct users to click "reload" periodically (or put a message like "check back later" inside a noscript tag).