pwaldron.bess.tcd.ie Technical Details

Last updated 1998-02-16 18:14:30 by Paddy Waldron

PC users should read this health warning before proceeding.

This World Wide Web (WWW) server is running under Microsoft Windows for Workgroups Version 3.11 and Trumpet Winsock Version 2.1 Revision C (from Trumpet Software International) on a 486-based PC clone supplied by Gallimaufry Ltd. Until February 16, 1998, the operating system was Microsoft Windows version 3.1 and until July 17, 1995, the winsock was Trumpet Winsock 2.0 Revision B. The huge advantage of Windows for Workgroups is that it allows me to share the directory containing the website content over a LAN and so to use Windows95-based HTML editors on a Gateway P5-120 to create and revise content.

Since June 23, 1995, the http (and gopher) server has been ZBServer version 0.20b, written by Bob Bradley. From April 17, 1995 until June 23, 1995, it was an earlier version of ZBServer. From May 22, 1994 until April 17, 1995, the http server was the Windows httpd Worldwide Web Server (V1.4a and earlier versions), written by Bob Denny, also author of VBStats, which produces the server statistics. From November 29, 1993 to May 22, 1994, the main http server was Serweb: The WWW Server for Windows 3.1 (and NT!) version 0.3. Before that, I just didn't know how easy it was to run a http server on a PC.

ZBServer lacks the bells and whistles of Windows httpd Worldwide Web Server, but it works fairly well on my system. Bob Denny's server was reputed to work perfectly with OS/2 WARP and with a number of commercial winsock.dlls, but I found it highly unstable at the time I was testing it. Both of these servers have two big advantages over earlier servers, namely that they keeps an access log file, allowing server statistics to be generated, and that they run quietly in the background.

There were brief periods in the early days when, instead of Serweb, this machine was running either earlier versions of the Windows httpd Worldwide Web Server or a http server designed for the BSD/386 operating system from Berkeley Software Design, Inc. (BSDI). The latter experiment ended because the departmental LAN was unable to support laserprinting from Unix boxes.

Remote users do not need to know, may not want to know, and probably will not be able to tell, which operating system or server is running!

A number of Windows Sockets applications can be found mirrored on the Department of Economics' own FTP server, but it is recommended that you get the current versions of these applications from the main distribution sites. If you run Microsoft Windows, then you could be running your own WWW server within a couple of hours by downloading Trumpet Winsock and one of the World Wide Web servers mentioned here and also teaching yourself either to write HyperText Mark-up Language (HTML), using the online guide, or to convert your existing documents, using one of the many convertors/filters now available.

Pointers

I used to maintain a list of URLs which include pointers to this site, just in case I ever had to issue information about major changes to the service, but that task quickly got out of hand. If you want to know why, then ask AltaVista how many external pages it can find which link to www.bess.tcd.ie (over 2000 at last count) or to pwaldron.bess.tcd.ie (only a handful so far). Feel free to let me know if you have a pointer to this site and would like to be notified of major changes.


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