Setting Up an ActiveX
Until now, we have approached the Internet from a
user's perspective and, to some extent, from a programmer's perspective. In this section
we'll take a more holistic approach and view it from a Web site administrator's
The ActiveX features were, after all, designed with
a focus on empowering the Web site administrator. ActiveX allows the administrator to
command "Give me this and that" and for the programmer to respond with,
"How high and when?" Knowing the parts and pieces with which the administrators
are working will help the programmers provide them with better tools.
In this chapter you will be introduced to some of
the requirements for operating Web and other Internet servers. I will focus on three major
pieces of a Web site and what ingredients go into them, and will discuss how they relate
to ActiveX programming. These pieces include
- The hardware components
- The site administrator
- The network connection
When setting up a system to access the Internet, you
will need a certain mix of hardware and software, installed and configured to meet your
specific purposes. To determine this mix, you first need to know what the purpose
of the Web site is going to be. A site can be set up for several reasons.
Every business, of course, can find a commercial
purpose geared to its specific industry. The company could use it to peddle its wares, or
just publish information about its product.
Individuals also like to post their own home pages.
Using the Web in this way gives every family (that has access to a computer) an Internet
presence. Folks like to publish the goings-on and interests of their family to keep
friends updated. It's like having your own family newspaper!
If you're going to have a dedicated Internet server,
there are certain site-management features you may find important to have. If you're going
to have an office desktop PC, you will want to make sure that it has a Web-browsing and
news capabilities. If you're going to have a portable device, like a laptop or PDA
(Personal Digital Assistant), you will probably need scaled-down network services such as
simple e-mail and text browsing.
When you set up a Web presence, it's tempting to try to take advantage of every single
piece of technology out there. This can give your users a very cool site that uses audio,
video, and inline images, with buttons, arrows, and little circles describing what each
one is. When you do this, try not to leave your less-activated users out in the cold.
All these powerful features become null and void to a user who has just simple text access
to Web pages. (Don't laugh. Scientists are still finding "living dinosaurs" in
various backwater parts of the world.)
You should always include an option on your pages to allow users without ActiveX
capabilities to interact with the content (see Figure 10.1).
Figure 10.1. Users will
access your site with a variety of different types of terminals.
The hardware used for client and server machines,
logically, should be different from each other. This is because their missions are
different. A standard client, like a desktop PC, does not need a dedicated LAN-type
connection to the Internet (but it helps). A standard server, like an HTTP Web server,
will need that dedicated connection, but may not need to be able to make outgoing calls .
Network Access Devices
There is a tremendous variety of Web browsers and other Internet-access programs out
there, but in the next few years some of these programs will be ported to smaller,
hand-held, or even the new Internet TV-top devices (see Figure 10.1).
Some of these hand-held devices use a tiny LCD screen, while many of the proposed TV-top
devices include very limited text input. Few, if any, of these devices will be able to
access your other, expensive, programs like MS Office or Shockwave for Director.
The Client System
The most basic of hardware required for any system
is pretty standard stuffa console (monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer, case, and
power supply) and a CPU (Motorola, Intel, and so on). Although you may be operating your
own servers, you will want to do so through a remote client. You can administer the server
from its console, but remember that the server may be too busy doing other server things
to act effectively as a local terminal as well.
Along with the basic box just described, you will
need multimedia hardware (which you probably already have) such as a joystick, sound card,
and high-quality video card and monitor. You can get really carried away with the
multimedia and add MIDI keyboards, radio and television cards, and CD-ROMsall of
which can be then coordinated through ActiveX programming.
Finally, the most important part of the client
system is its network connection. The client can be attached to the Net in a variety of
Modems can be used to access the Internet through a
dial-up account . This type of account usually provides for a dynamically assigned IP
address. Some providers will go as far as to assign dial-up users a static IP address
(usually for an added fee). On standard telephone lines, modems can be used that are rated
in speed from 2400 baud to 14,400 bps. In most areas of the United States, that number can
go as high as 28,800 or 36,600. For additional fees to the ISP and your phone company, you
can use a higher-speed modem and ISDN line to gain access as fast as 57,600 baud.
Dynamic and Static IPs
IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are unique numbers used to define a specific host (or
computer) on the Internet. Your IP is assigned to you by your ISP from its block of
If an ISP has a block of 1,024 IP addresses and has 500 users, it will have no problem
giving each one of those users his own IP address.
If that ISP has 2,000 users, some of them will have to share an address. It works like
this: The provider assumes that fewer than 1,024 users will be logged on at any time, and
dynamically assigns each user an address when he logs on. The ISP then frees up that
address when the user logs off, making it available for the next client .
Some users, however, will want or need a static IP address . This gives him the
same IP every time he accesses his account. If you plan to use server-type software, this
can be very useful for speeding up the system. Efficiency is increased with a dedicated IP
address by not forcing the client to do a DNS (Domain Name Service) check to locate the
In ActiveX programming, you will want your code to intelligently allow your users to use
domain names (such as bucky.com) or addresses (such as 126.96.36.199) to access different
Often, users get very frustrated with trying to
assign a domain name to a dynamic IP . It can't be done. To do so would require the
updating of every single DNS in the world every time that user logged on to his ISP
Besides connecting through a modem, a client may be
hooked up to the Internet through its LAN. This will usually happen in a corporate or
other institutional settingbut hey, it could happen at home, too.
With a dedicated connection through a network card,
your LAN would probably be hooked up to the Net through a dedicated ISDN or T1 line. As a
rule of thumb, ISDN gives you at least twice the speed of a regular modem, and a T1 will
give you about twice the speed of an ISDN connection. (See Figure 10.2.)
Figure 10.2. If you have a
dedicated (i.e., network card) connection, every station on your entire LAN is probably
connected to the Internet.
The Server System
If your network needs are aimed more toward making
information available rather than retrieving it, your system needs to reflect that
The basic hardware for a server is similar to that
of a desktop machinea console (monitor, mouse, keyboard, printer, case and power
supply) and a CPU (Motorola, Intel, and so on). That's pretty much where the similarity
Most servers have very little need for multimedia
hardware. Unless the purpose of your server is multimedia-related (such as a RealAudio or
TrueSpeech network), you can get by fine with an 8- or 16-bit sound card, or even no sound
card at all.
You will probably want some kind of audio, though,
so that you can hear the alarms when something goes wrong. For the most part, however,
most ActiveX programming does not require any multimedia on the server at all. There are a
few exceptions to the multimedia requirements on Windows NT IIS (Internet Information
Server) systems. Since these systems usually run unattended, they may require no more
multimedia than a CD-ROM - and that to hold the installation disks.
You will also want to have plenty of storage and
memory resources. On an Internet server that receives a lot of simultaneous hits, you
should have very fast hard drive accessSCSI (Small Computer Systems Integration)
hard drives are great for this. You should also have an abundance of memory to handle
several instances of several programs working together with some degree of speed. If your
server has to constantly swap between memory and storage, it is going to become bogged
down, and users will time-out.
Finally, the most important part of any server is
its network connection. No network, no server. For this reason, an Internet server is
almost always on a dedicated connection (ISDN or T1) to the ISP. This is usually handled
with a network card in the computer case. A cable comes out of this card and goes to a
router that passes the signal on through a T-1 or ISDN and out to the ISP .
When you have a computer that is all hooked up to
the Internet, you are ready to start setting up your Internet site or "Net
If you are managing your own server, one of the most
important services you will want to install on your network server is e-mail . Users who
want to send feedback to a Web site administrator will often address their comments to
email@example.com (or some such address).
To enable these services you will need a POP3 server
and an SMTP server. (See Figure 10.3.) An SMTP server will allow your users to send
e-mail. A POP3 server is used to store incoming mail for your users until they are
ready to retrieve it themselves. The two are usually integrated into one software package.
Figure 10.3. SMTP and POP3
are used to send and receive e-mail.
When working with ActiveX products, it's usually a good idea to stay with Microsoft's
server productsbut not always.
Microsoft offers a wonderful e-mail server package: MS Mail Server. It has tons of really
great features and allows for plenty of different e-mail accounts over a number of
different types of networks. To enable the SMTP features, however, requires (or did at the
time of this writing) a very expensive gateway in addition to the server software
itself. There lies the rub.
If you are going to be servicing only a limited number of accounts, and they will all use
SMTP, MS Mail is a heck of a lot more bang than you need. All its wonderful features will
go completely unused and may even serve as an obstacle to productivity as you try to work
around all of its features just to enable the few you need.
ActiveX does not require any specialized e-mail servicesand, in fact, it is best if
e-mail processes stick to the established standards. After all, SMTP is short for Simple
Mail Transfer Protocol!
Internet News (Usenet) is very similar to e-mail.
You compose a message, called an article in NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol)
lingo, and send it to a server. The recipients then retrieve the article at their leisure.
This is where Usenet and e-mail branch off: You don't specify a recipient for a news
article; you specify a newsgroup to which the article will be posted. The article is then
retrieved by anybody who subscribes to that news group. Now you're a published author!
For you WinSock programmers, you should know that e-mail works over TCP/IP port 25, and
NNTP works over TCP/IP port 119.
It is seldom necessary to set up a Usenet news
serverunless you are operating an ISP yourself. Also, in some instances, you may
want to use one to create a public forum to host discussion of a topic relevant to you or
Usenet news servers can be difficult to manage.
Keeping the message counters correct and maintaining a feed with other Usenet hosts can be
quite time-consuming. Also, bandwidth can be used up quickly with the more than 14,000
public newsgroups available to your users.
Microsoft's Internet Mail and News
This is about as good a time as any to install Microsoft's Internet Mail and News client
onto your machine. You can find it on the CD-ROM that accompanies this guide in the setup
file named MailNews95.exe.
Here's how to install the client:
- Double-click on the setup file, MailNews95.exe.
- After accepting the EULA (End User License Agreement)
you are prompted for your name and organization. Of course, if you are not affiliated with
any organization you do not need to put anything in that space!
- Next you are prompted as to whether you want to
install the news client, the mail client, or both. For now, you need only select the news
client, but you can install the mail client also, if you like.
- Now the installation routine will copy the necessary
files to your computer and prompt you to reboot. Do so.
- When your system comes back to you after the reboot,
you're ready to configure the system. To do so, right-click your Internet Explorer icon
(on the desktop) and select the Properties option from the pop-up menu. A tabbed
configuration dialog box appears; select the Programs tab.
- The Programs tab has a section that allows you to
specify which programs you want to use for Mail and for News. Select Internet News for
- Run Internet Explorer. When it's fired up, you should
notice a new Mail icon on your toolbar. When you click it, a pull-down menu will appear.
Select the Read News option from that menu. The Internet News program will fire up, and
you will be ready to configure the reader.
- When your newsreader is loaded, you can exit from the
Web browser if you choose. The newsreader will still be there. From the newsreader's menu,
select News and then Options to go to the configuration for the client.
- The news options are many, but there is only one tab
with to concern yourself with here: the Server tab. Click it.
- Enter your personal dataname, e-mail address,
and organization (if appropriate). Then, at the bottom of the tab box, you should see
three buttons, one of which is Add. Click it.
- A News Server Properties dialog box will appear with
three tabs. In the general tab, enter the name of Microsoft's NNTP server,
- Click the Connection tab and enter the properties for
your specific type of Internet connection.
- There is not much to put in the Advanced tab, but you
should check it to make sure that it is using TCP/IP port 119 and that it is not set to
use a secure connection.
You are now finished installing Microsoft's NNTP client , and are ready to participate in
Another service you will most certainly find
necessary is FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This will allow you to make ZIP and other files
available for downloading. To make this easy, Windows NT comes with a built-in FTP server.
With it, you can provide anonymous or password-protected access to your FTP server
directories. The anonymous access feature allows all users to access files and
directories. The password-protected feature allows special file privileges to be assigned
to individual accounts. It also has features for enabling various levels of security to
fit a particular need .
This is the service that enables users on the Net to
access your Internet site with a Web browser such as Netscape. It is also one of the more
complex of server systems to operate and maintain. Security features must be monitored
and, as with most other servers, the logs must be monitored and user configurations kept
Each Web server package available has its own tips,
tricks, and features. All of them enable users to retrieve hypertext documents, and most
even have features for allowing CGI, Perl, or other server-side scripting.
Microsoft has introduced its IIS (Internet
Information Server) as a part of Windows NT Server 4.0. This is the first complete ActiveX
Web server released, and allows for such features as ISAPI and Trust Verification as well
as other secure transaction features. As you develop ActiveX applications (both server and
client), you will find the use of an IIS server invaluable in testing and debugging your
The idea of a database server is not new, but only
with the development of ActiveX has it become powerful for everyday users as well as
advanced programmers. Microsoft BackOffice includes SQL Server and is a very powerful tool
for any large or small corporation. dbWeb is a relatively new product from Microsoft that
is designed specifically for enabling database queries and responses by way of the
Internet. If SQL Server is a bit more than you need, there are also more Web-centric
packages such as dbWeb. These enable user interaction with ActiveX databases over a
Web Site Administrator
Basic management of a Web site is relatively safe
and simple. The managing and monitoring of user activity logs and other similar functions
tends to be fairly routine stuff once the server is configured properly. That is
why most ISPs will provide their users with facilities to set up and maintain their own
Web pages instead of forcing them to operate their own Web servers.
The tougher issues, like security and directory
structure, are handled by the network administrator, but sometimes even those functions
are handed down to the individual Web site administrators.
The focus in ActiveX programming is to treat
everything on the Net as a bunch of objectseach having its own properties, methods,
events, interfaces, and so on. The definition of a Web site administrator is expanded
somewhat because of this.
Administrators need not be programmers themselves,
but it helps to have access to one to help write client and server scripts. They also need
not be hardware specialists, again, as long as there is one available. Finally, they need
not be certified network specialistsas long as they have access to one.
It would seem that a Web site administrator needs to
be a jack of all these trades, but a basic familiarity with ActiveX and OLE is all an
ActiveX Web site administrator needs to have in the way of technical skills. A better
analogy is that the Web site administrator is a conductor, constantly trying to balance
the different parts of his symphony (see Figure 10.4.). The real talent as an ActiveX site
administrator comes in providing content rather than being an engineer.
Figure 10.4. ActiveX Web
site administrators coordinate the efforts of a team of technicians (locally and
The hardware for an ActiveX Web site is very much
the same as for any other Web site. The major difference between the two is the use of
interactive multimedia, or active content. ActiveX Web sites will tend to manage
more multimedia content, and for debugging purposes may need some degree of multimedia
An ActiveX Web site administrator is faced with very
few hardware issues. A few of them that one may face include:
- Maintaining the connection to the Internet (by way of
modem or network card)
- Maintaining hardware capable of handling any
multimedia content (that is, sound card, video, and so on)
- Basic cleaning of equipment
An ActiveX Web site administrator needs to be
familiar with the wide variety of different types of Web browsers that will be used to
access his site. This is usually limited to MS Internet Explorer and Netscape, but can
include a great many others.
To send files to, and retrieve files from, a Web
site, the administrator will probably need to use an FTP client. If you enable your users
to have FTP access, each user will be able to manage his own accounts, such as WWW and
Most importantly, you must be familiar, to some
extent, with all the software running on your servers. This is not as important if you are
using your ISP's servers rather than your own. Two times you will definitely want to be
familiar with your ISP's server software are
- When using an ActiveX server (that is, MS Internet
- When using an FTP server. Different servers use
different logon/logoff processes and, especially when performing automated tasks, the
commands and responses are different among them.
Managing a Web site really does not require a very
in-depth knowledge of networking . In fact, most HTML authors do not know or care much at
all about networking as a technology. They just do it. There are, however, a couple of key
networking features about which you, as an ActiveX programmer, need to be aware.
- Hostnames and IP AddressesYou have seen that
most Internet hosts are referred to by their domain name, such as bucky.com or
www.microsoft.com. You also know that every host on the Internet has an IP address, such
as 188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.206. DNS (Domain Name Service) is where the two come
- DNS By referencing the DNS, you can find out
the IP address of a domain, or vice versa. (See Figure 10.5.) This is done on the Internet
by registering a domain with your server's IP address through the services at InterNIC
(Internet Network Information Center). (The URL for InterNIC is http://www.internic.net.)
Figure 10.5. DNS resolves
hostnames to IP addresses and back.
When your domain is registered through InterNIC,
other users can connect to you with a relatively easy-to-remember name such as
MyHost.MyDomain.Net instead of having to use a mix of your hostname and your IP address
In an intranet , such as an office LAN, you can usually omit the domain name of a
machine within your own domain, using only its hostname to refer to it.
For example: if you are operating a machine named MyHost.MyDomain.Net and want to access
another machine at MyDomain.Net named YourHost.MyDomain.Net, you could simply refer to the
other machine as YourHost.
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet
Protocol) is the language of the Net. It is the protocol used to communicate between
hosts. Whether you use a dial-up, ISDN, Frame Relay, or T-1, you will use TCP/IP.
There are a variety of other services that can also
be run on the Net, but these would still use TCP/IP to communicate. Some of the services
that you can run over TCP/IP include SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) and any or
all the standard Internet services (FTP, SMTP, HTTP, and so on). Often these services are
referred to, not incorrectly, as protocols. (See Figure 10.6.)
Figure 10.6. FTP is working
over TCP/IP. TCP/IP is working over ISDN. ISDN is working over the telephone network.
You should remember that a protocol is a language or syntax, and a service
is the implementation of that protocol (or set of protocols).
To use these services, you need not know too
much about how they work. However, to program with them using ActiveX controls, you
will want to have a fairly thorough understanding of the respective standard.
Wear Your Socks Prior to
ActiveX, there was one library within windows that gave programmers a facility for
programming Internet applications for Windows: the WinSock.DLL, which is based on the
Berkeley Sockets specification. Now, with ActiveX, we have a bucket-load of libraries and
controls with which we can very easily program the same applications.
With the WinSock , the programmer needed to be quite expert in the hows and whys of
TCP/IP. Often, when creating custom Internet applications, programmers found it easier (if
not better) to create their own protocol rather than to stick with the established ones.
Programmers are not known for being conformists, and learning how everybody else did mail
or file transfers was actually more difficult than creating one's own, proprietary method.
Of course, this failure to comply with established standards meant that many programs
written for the Internet were actually only usable for a specific purpose and were not
generally compatible with other Internet applications. By releasing such a rich and wide
variety of Internet programming tools, Microsoft has given us a way to stick to
established protocols without having to be a network guru. We just end up looking like
You will learn more about these powerful controls in the final chapters of this guide as
you create News, Mail, FTP, and other standard network utilities .
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an
organization that provides a user with a connection to the Internet, usually for a fee.
Most cities have at least one ISP operating locally, and almost every metropolitan area
has more than a dozen small and large providers.
Most ISPs can be broken down into two categories:
- Those who cater to individual dial-up
customersThese ISPs tend to offer a full package of Internet user services,
including an e-mail account and a Web site. One downside to using this type of service is
the use of dynamic IP addressing, which gives you a different IP address every time you
log on to the service. Also, some of the providers charge as much as $2.50 for every hour
you are online.
- Those who cater to commercial and leased-line
customersThese ISPs tend to offer fewer user services and a more technical level of
LAN-to-Internet connection. One downside to using this type of service is that you do not
usually have the use of your ISP's Web and mail servers, with the possible exception of a
few administrative e-mail accounts.
Usually a provider will offer both commercial and
individual network services, concentrating on one and offering the other on the side.
Yeah, but where does an ISP get its
Some of the more established services, such as CompuTek.Net and MCI.Net, even offer such a
high grade of service that other ISPs get their connections from them.
A good example of this ISP-to-ISP service is FishNet, a dial-up ISP in little Greenville,
Texas. FishNet provides individual and commercial users in its area with dial-up Internet
FishNet , in turn, gets its Internet connection from CompuTek in Dallas over ISDN lines.
CompuTek, then, gets it's connection from SprintLink Network over several T-1 lines.
Sprintlink and CompuNet have the rare advantage of being located in the Richardson, Texas
"Telecom Corridor." Richardson, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina are the hubs
of North Americas two main Telecom R&D networks and, as such, are referred to as
Sprintlink runs backbones that connect nodes all over the worldlinking many
networks, LANs, and ISPs together in one big Internet. There are also several other
backbones, such as MCI, AT&T, and UUNet, as well as several FreeNetseach
providing a connection, of one sort or another, to the Internet.
So where did the connection originate? Well, the final mass of connections is
the beginning and the end. The Internet does not "exist" anywhere, and there is
no original source. When you connect to somebody who connects to somebody who connects to
somebody... you're Internetting! So when you connect to an ISP, you are opening a path to
everyone else who can open a path to your ISP.
Sometimes portions of the Net will go down for a time, but stocks do not
necessarily plummet, and businesses do not necessarily fail. In early August 1996, AOL
(America Online) went down for a while. Users could not access the Net, but the Internet
itself did not collapse. Portions of the phone network go down from time to time also, but
they always restore the lines.
So, as long as you can call up your ISP, and your ISP is connected to somebodyeven
if it's just connecting its subscribers to each otherthe Net is not "down"
Building a Bomb-Proof Network : A
Once upon a time, there was a great country. The people of the country had spent the last
50 years at war, and there seemed no end in sight. In fact the bombs they made for their
enemy were so big, the leaders decided to live underground for fear off fallout. They
decided also that they would talk to other leaders on the phone and wouldnt be
They knew that the bombs, when they came, would land everywhere. The buildings would be
gone, and their phones would stop working. So they went to their scientists and asked them
to build a bomb-proof phone system.
"That would be a very interesting task," the scientists said, "but
weve been building bombs. We dont know anything about telephones." So
half of the scientists that were building bombs started building telephones.
The scientists went back to the leaders and said, "Some of you are going to die. Will
the people who die need phones, too?"
"Dont be silly," said the leaders. "Only the ones who survive will
need a phone."
Stumped, the scientists approached the professors at the universities and asked them how
they talk to each other. The professors had been using phones and told them so.
"So lets get this right," the scientists said to the professors. "You
talk over the telephone to each other. And if your phone stops working, and it would if a
bomb hit, you would wait and use your phone later, when it works again?"
"Thats right," replied the professors.
The scientists then went to the leaders and said, "We it. We have your bomb-proof
"We are going to use the commercial telecommunications infrastructure. It is
reliable, because there are teams across the country working day and night to support it.
When one section of it goes down, only that section is disabled. All the non-bombed areas
are still working."
Excited, the leaders discussed among themselves their plans for the new network. But when
they tried to predict how and when they would need it, they found that they would not.
So many scientists had focused for so long on building the bomb-proof network, that there
were no more scientists working on bombs.
Selecting an ISP
There are many ways to obtain a connection to the
Internet. There are an even greater number of companies that will help you obtain that
connection. Selecting the right connection for your specific site's needs is key in
maintaining a polished Web presence. To do that you will have to have some sort of
relationship with a local or distant ISP.
Because of the anonymous features of the Internet,
it is often difficult to tell what kind of operation an ISP is running until you actually
use its service or visit its shop. For this reason, you will want to physically visit its
facilities and meet their people before you invest much more than the cost of a dial-up
account with them. On the outside, this may seem frivolous. However, one year of dedicated
service can cost upwards of $3000. A few dollars, or even a few hundred dollars, is
well-spent to ensure that you dont pay for several thousand dollars worth of someone
Levels of Service
The level of
service you require is not necessarily a case of "more is better." Very few
people find the Internet useless, but not everybody needs a 10 megabyte-per-second
Ethernet connection. Consider what your current needs are. When a dial-up
connection costs $25 and dedicated access costs $250, you must assess what you truly
require before going big.
If you are just getting started, consider a high-speed dial-up connection for a few
months. This will give you time to see just what the heck the Internet is before you go
trying to program over it.
If you are managing a Web site on your ISP's server,
you can do so with as little as a dial-up account. Your ISP will usually provide you with
an FTP site where you can post your Web pages, images, and ActiveX controls and scripts.
You should be aware that you can operate a
Web server over a dial-up connection, but only while you are online. When you log off,
your server can no longer process requests from the Net.
If you operate your own servers, there are three
major differences from having dial-up service. First, you will not need your ISP's Web
server. Second, you will have a local drive on which to put your Web stuffyou can
set it up for FTP or whatever type of access you desire. Third, and most important, your
Web site will be up as long as your dedicated connection is working.
In this chapter you have been exposed to some of the
issues confronting ActiveX Web site and network administrators in selecting and working
with an Internet Service Provider. These issues include networking, hardware and software,
and user-specific considerations.
You know that both a client and a server system must
have a console with a CPU and a network connection, be it dedicated or dial-up. You also
know that a dial-up connection is not very effective for running server software because
the server will be disconnected whenever the dial-up session is concluded.
You have also learned about the different kinds of
services that you may run on your server, such as FTP, News and e-mail. Each service is
designed to fit a particular need, and you need only install the ones you want your users
to be able to access, and which provide the best format for the delivery of your content.
You also know about some of the technical skills
required of Web site administrators. Although they need not be specialists in hardware,
software, or networking, they still need a general mix of all of those skills to maintain
their systems. The real focus for the Web site administrator is on the content.
Finally, you learned a little about how to select an
ISP by visiting its site and selecting a level of service.
- Q Why would an ActiveX programmer care what an
ActiveX site administrator does, as long as he creates programs that "Meet the
- A The programmer not only responds to requests
from the administrator; he must also anticipate the administrator's needs. For instance,
if your administrator asks you to create a control that keeps track of how many hits his
users' pages receive, it will benefit you to be familiar with the capabilities of his
different servers to process and log that type of data. If you don't know where this data
is logged, you won't know how to retrieve it.
- Q I can't get my 28,800 modem to connect higher
than 9600, and I know the modem is in good shape. Why is it so slow?
- A Many TelCos (telephone companies) only
guarantee 2400-baud connections (Southwestern Bell in Addison, Texas is one example). To
avoid embarrassment, they will usually work with users to "condition the lines."
This involves putting a circuit in at your phone box and another in at your connection to
the phone company's C.O. (central office). This "black box" will usually bring
you up to speed.
- Q I want to set up an Internet server, but I only
have a dial-up connection and 16-bit Windows. Can I do it?
- A Yes. You can run a server over a
dial-up connection, but your users will experience very slow responses. Also, some
providers charge for access by the hour. You may want to switch to a less costly
unlimited-access dial-up account if you operate your server on the Net more than an few
hours per week.
Develop a brief plan of a Web site for a real or
fictional company. Show the directory structure and which standard and ActiveX servers you
would use. Identify what personnel are needed to develop and maintain the site.
- What is the first thing you must do to set up a Web
- What two hardware components are common to servers as
well as standalone or client computers?
- What hardware features are generally associated with
ActiveX servers and clients?
- How often does a dynamic IP address change?
- What is the benefit to having a static IP address?
- What three ways can be used by Me.Our.Net with an IP
of 204.001.001.001 to refer to You.Our.Net with an IP of 204.001.001.002?
- What protocols are used to send and retrieve mail,
- What makes an NNTP server difficult to manage?
- What does a database server do?
- For what two types of customers do ISPs provide
Internet Access services?