Spring releases

The World-Wide Web bounds into spring with some exciting client software releases from outside CERN. A few more servers pop up, and we look at the Gopher and WAIS parts of the web. (To read this in hypertext, follow "W3 news" under the W3 project page. If you didn't read about W3 in the last CNL, type www on a central machine, or just telnet info.cern.ch).


Statistics we take on the access to our own server show an exponential increase, with a time doubling about every two months, and currently running at around 500 document fetches a day. (This is only people reading about w3 itself, or using our hypertext overviews). Many of these are from people telnetting to info.cern.ch, so if you haven't installed www on your own workstation, please do so! Details on how to do so are in the "web" -- if you have any problems, mail timbl@nxoc01.cern.ch

Now Read The Book

At last, for those who really need the paper version, some of the hypertext documentation on the web is available in laTeX or Postscript form by anonymous FTP from info.cern.ch, as /pub/www/doc/the_www_project.tex and .ps. There may be other documents there by the time you read this...

X11 Browsers: Erwise

For those who have waited and asked so many times, here are not one but two client products which run under X windows. We cannot say which came first, as they are neck-and-neck, and both are very smart products.

The "Erwise" browser was developed at Helsinki Technical University by a team composed of Kim Nyberg, Teemu Rantanen, Kati Suominen and Kari Syd{nmaanlakka under the supervision of Ari Lemmke. It is a multiwindow, multifont hypertext browser which uses the W3 common access library, and so has full W3 functionality. It is currently available as alpha-test level, in binary form for sun4.

There are a few teething problems, though for an alpha release it's a very polished product.. The worst for the first-time user is that by default, the browser opens no document, and you have to search your local file-space for somewhere to start - it's wise to have a copy of some default.html somewhere to hand.

A neat feature of this browser is that documents which are the cover pages for indexes have a text panel at the bottom of the window for typing in your query. This seems more intuitive than the separate panel in the current (now very out-of-date) NeXT browser.

By default, the browser opens a new window for every hypertext jump. This can be confusing especially if you are used to Motif applications which only use the one document window. Fortunately, there is an option to turn this off: if you select "single window mode", it will close the old window every time it opens a new one.

X11 Browsers: Viola

As mentioned in the last W3 news, the Viola browser by Pei Wei of Berkley is another intresting product. Since that initial release, a new version has come out. This was for some reason missing the search panel, so we did not generally distribute it. but Pei tells us he has a new version which has this fixed. If you're reading this on paper, it might be available already.

Pei's solution to the "Multiwindow/Single window" dilemma is to do everything in one window by default, with a "clone" button which duplicates the current window. You can then go on navigating from either or both of the clones.

New Servers

Mike Sendall is operating an "experimental" server for the Software Technology Interest Group. A fairly advanced piece of work, this, it features a hypertext glossary of ST terms, and a searchable index of any information in the field, including news and views he and "STING" have been collecting.

At NIKHEF, a server run by Willem von Leeuwen provides a whole bunch of facilities including the phone book, lists of preprints, calendar of upcomming events, news, and information about NIKHEF and related institutes. Willem demonstarted how easy it was to put a up a server for existing data using a shell script, providing some useful examples.

Sergei Duzhin has put up a server also labelled "experimental" at ITCP in Italy. This has local information, and information about schools held atthe institute. He plans to use it as an example for students at the comming communications school to shoe them how to organize an information system.

All this information, including hundreds of WAIS and Gopher servers, ara available just by following links from the CERN home page.

W3 people at CERN

Jean-Francois Groff, who has been a major mover in the W3 architecure, and has been invaluable in keeping the show on the road, comes to the end of his contact here at the end of March. Unfortuantely his special status here makes it impossible for us to renew it, and we will miss him. "Jef" (to his US friends) has not yet finally decided where to settle next, so if you have a lively organisation in a leading-edge area (like this) , you could try giving him a call...

Carl Barker, a student from Brunell University, UK, joins us for a 6 month period. he plans to work on the server side, perhaps on authorization additions to the protocol.

Line Mode Browser

Still going strong, the line mode browser (www) will be released in version 2 any time now (Its at version 1.2f at the time of writing). Version 2 will use the offical W3 port number (80) by default, so servers which do not exist on this port should switch, or links to them should contain explicit port numbers.


(Previous issue was January 1992, next issue is September 1992.)

Tim BL