Re: Setting up WWW at ZEUS, DESY: Database

timbl (Tim Berners-Lee)
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 11:50:57 MET
From: timbl (Tim Berners-Lee)
Message-id: <9210011050.AA15452@ >
To: "Phillip M. Hallam-Baker" <>
Subject: Re: Setting up WWW at ZEUS, DESY:  Database 

> Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1992 23:27 +0200
> From: "Phillip M. Hallam-Baker" <>
> Hello,

>	I would like to put the ZEUS online documentation online via WWW.I have
> already got the various sources etc to compile on the DECstation and can run the
>  browser on both VAX and Ultrix OK.

Great!  You might like to link up with Thomas Finnen who has a unix server running
at DESY.

>	What I really want to do is to set up the server on the VAX though. This
>  is where we do all the development etc, the DECstations belong to the offline
>  group and they won't let us get SU privs which are needed to put up daemons. Or
>  rather they might if they didn't suspect me of wanting to put up the TPU editor
>  so that EDT junkies like myself can use the things.

Fine. Lots of people have set up the server under VMS. We haven't incorporated
the changes needed into the distribution, but I'm sure a mail to www-talk would
get replies of people who had done it.  There is a DCL server example in
the W3 deamon documentation. The basic W3 files all compile under VMS, and there
is (in HTFile.c?) a routine to convert unix-style filenames to VMS style.
(The browser actually does that automatically when it runs on VMS, to read local

>	Long term what I would like to do is to get the various RDB and Oracle
>  databases that the ZEUS online system is being reorganized arround up onto a W3
>  server. This would save me the hassle of writting and maintaining browsers etc.

Good idea.  If the code from the generic W3-Oracle gateway can be of use to
you then feel free...see

>	This raises a number of questions, particularly in the area of security.
>  I would like to use an authentication scheme. What I had in mind was that the
>  client making a request requiring validation should recieve back a key which
>  would be encoded at the client end and returned to the server where it would be
>  decoded to see if it matched. The key would be changed on each pass. This would
>  require a list of active keys to be kept in order to allow serving of multiple
>  requests concurrently which would of course make the server non-idempotent.

We have a prototype server running which operates in a similar way, but currently
without encryption: the passwords are simply sent in the clear over the net with
every document retrieval. This is not high security, but it is as high as we
currently have with telnet sessions.  This is being prototyped now.

>	The end product as far as ZEUS would be concerned would be just a single
>  database that could be interrogated via WWW protocols and a number of customized
>  form programs for interrogating it. However since we are using a G"odel
>  synthesizer to produce the servers the project will naturally generate what
>  amounts to a VHLL compiler for WWW compatible database servers.

I don't know about G"odel synthesisers nor VHLL though they both ring a bell...
Obviously it would be a good move to have a rapid customisation system for
producing hypertext views of relational databases. This could be perhaps a report
generator perhaps just producing HTML if it ran fast enough for real-time server
use. (A point-and click graphic view builder would be cool of course!)

>	Another idea I had was to integrate a HTML output window into my TROJAN
>  user interface synthesizer. This is a UIMS which spans Motif, Curses and SMG.
>  Other interfaces (particularly X-Windows related ones) can easily be added..
>  This would allow a fairly nice browser and possibly editor to be written, on the
>  VAX I would connect it to the LinkWorks package which is DECs own Hyper-product
>  which comes bundled in Motif. I suspect other vendors will shortly follow. What
>  I had in mind was a "WWW" output window which use a WWW hypertext link as the
>  linkable object thus allowing the DEC supplied "notepad" editor and cardfiler to
>  be used as a hypertext editor, I'm not clear on the design of this yet.

We have wondered about Linkworks integration, putting a W3 engine on so that
linkworks linsk could be makde to W3 objects, and maybe making a W3 retrieval
client which would use a table to fire up appropriate DEC tools when given
data in particular formats.

>		Phill M. Hallam-Baker

Tim Berners-Lee