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From (Beth Frank)
Subject Re: NCSA 1.5 --- a first look
Date Thu, 24 Aug 1995 16:44:08 GMT
> Finally, some interesting notes from Beth Frank on 2.0, and future
> directions:
> *) NCSA httpd 2.0 will not be a drop-in replacement for 1.x.  Nothing
>    yet on how hard it will be to switch.

We plan on providing a utility which will convert your files from the
old form to the new form.  The primary reason for the change is that
we are going to be supporting a metadata database instead of .htaccess

> *) 2.0 will support an "authentication API" allowing people to slot in
>    their own authentication code -- Beth actually says "Authentication
>    API", which doesn't make it clear whether there will be APIs for
>    other functions as well; also, from her description, it sounds
>    vaguely as if the custom authentication code runs in a separate
>    process from the server itself, but I could just be confused about
>    that.  

There will be APIs for other functions and a way to drop in support
for custom methods.  We are trying to build a framework in which the 
webmaster can build the server of his choice from a set of modules.
I've been calling this the Lego or tinker toy approach.

>    There's no sign of this yet in 1.5 --- check_auth() is still pretty
>    monolithic.
> *) In the future, they're going to try to move towards a concept they
>    call the "Repository", which is apparently intended to leverage the
>    current web technologies into something which more directly
>    supports group activity and collaborative work.  That sort of thing
>    requires extensive support on the client side to be effective (in
>    terms of good authoring tools and the like); I take it that NCSA is
>    actively working on those now as well.

We're trying to build a digital library.  For the most part the vanilla
version will require little or no new functionality on the browser side. 
(We may need a cookie which Mosaic doesn't currently support.)   Some of
the modules being developed by other portions of the DLI project or NCSA
will require either CCI apps or custom tools to use the special features.
There is a significant amount of collaborative tool work going on at NCSA,
but it only effects 2.0 peripherally.

> rst

I'd be happy to answer any further questions anyone has about 2.0.  You
can contact me directly ( or post the mailing list
as appropriate.

		Elizabeth(Beth) Frank
		NCSA Server Development Team

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