Re: Forms support in clients

Jon P. Knight (
Wed, 28 Sep 1994 09:16:42 +0100

On Wed, 28 Sep 1994, Karl Auerbach wrote:
> This is where the current model breaks down since it is essentially
> driven by client requests. I'd like to be able for my viewer to put a
> "watcher" into a server. Some mechanism, not yet existing, would have
> to be invented to let the watcher tell my viewer that something new
> and interesting (as defined by my script) is out there. Then my
> viewer could have the new document fetched, my coffee brewed, and my
> slippers handy when I got up in the morning.

I've already done a simple version of this using a CGI script for an
electronic journal prototype I ran (Project ELVYN; a BLR&DD funded project
in cooperation with the IoPP). Basically there was a form that the user
could fill in with keywords and his email address. These were the salted
away in a file. When a new issue of the journal was processed to put it
online, a script was run over the email address/keyword file and each line
was used to search the new issue of the journal for keyword matches. If
there were any matches the document titles and URLs were extracted and
emailed to the user. I called it the alerting service.

Looking at the logs, I must say that I'm surprised to find that it wasn't
very popular. Maybe the users just didn't understand what it was for.
Anyway, the point of all this is that if we had a scripting language that
allowed late-binding code and data to be uploaded to the server, this type
of service would be much more powerful. On the other hand, it would also
require programming skills from the users and whilst this is fine for most
of the members of this mailing list, the great unwashed masses might not
be so keen on it.


Jon Knight, Research Student in High Performance Networking and Distributed
Systems in the Department of _Computer_Studies_ at Loughborough University.
* It's not how big your share is, its how much you share that's important *