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From Mohammed obaidan <>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] Re: GUI for configuring Apache httpd by editing httpd.conf
Date Sun, 15 Feb 2009 11:08:21 GMT

OK I am really happy with the replies here and really appreciate your
opinions and ideas.

Since Apache is used on more UNIX machines than Windows machines, it
seems that the audience here are Linux users and are willing to edit
the file by a text editor without any helping tool. However, in my
point of view, I think when a Windows user want a simple web server
will go for IIS because it has a GUI. This will affect Apache usage
share, though not that much but at least will have an impact.

Regarding the GUI for the modules, I think that every module creator
can for example implement a simple plugin for my tool, as you said,
since it will needs lots of time and effort. Perhaps I will look at
the modules structure  and how they work. If there is a possibilty to
make a standard plug in for modules that can be easily added to the

Regarding installing a basic Apache on Windows, it is not an easy
task. It is easy iff you install it from a package like XAMPP.

Regarding the users that will use this tool, I think the majority of
the users will be Windows users and users who are Windows users but
using Linux as a server.

I think such a tool will contribute a lot to Apache since it will ease
it configuration. I know that most of you are thinking that this tool
for Windows users that are so lazy to do it by hand. However I think
it will help them and people who are switching to Linux like myself.

One final note, I will read about the modules and their structure.
Maybe I need more understanding of them to progress. Also, I really
appreciate your comments and ideas about this issue and I hope if some
experts join our discussion.


On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:56 PM, André Warnier <> wrote:
> Mohammed obaidan wrote:
> [...]
> My grain of salt :
> It is your time you will be spending, and how you spend it is up to you.
> So I do not want to discuss whether it is a good idea or not, or whether you
> can or cannot or should or should not do it.
> This is thus just a personal opinion, to add to the list for your
> consideration.
> If you have a look at the graphical configuration interface for IIS, you
> will see that it is a fairly complex piece of work. Lots of dialogs, lots of
> tabs, lots of options, etc..
> Yet in that case, we are talking about a commercial product made by one
> company, following rather strict guidelines of what things should look like,
> what users expect, how pieces interact with one another, etc..
> Apache, being something made by lots of volunteer people, much more
> independent of one another that MS employees are, with a lot more freedom to
> think along their own lines, is a different animal.  The basic principles of
> the Apache configuration are fairly standard.  But each module used within
> Apache has a bit of its own logic when it comes to configuration, which
> parameter fits with which other or not, and how they interact with the basic
> Apache and with other modules. In addition, although the Apache httpd team
> does a great work of orcherstrating the releases so that in the end there is
> a usable and reliable product, each module still has much its own life and
> its own release schedule.
> So in the end, I believe that making a generic tool that would handle all of
> these differences would be very complicated, and very time-consuming to keep
> up-to-date.
> About the point of creating an interface that would help configure the basic
> Apache, but not the individual modules :
> As some people have pointed out before, basically every operating system
> nowadays already includes an Apache package, managed by the standard
> "package manager" of that OS distribution.  Using that tool, a system
> manager can install/deinstall/upgrade a basic working Apache within a couple
> of minutes at most.  Adding or removing an Apache extension module is almost
> as easy in most cases, and in many cases adding or removing a VirtualHost
> also.
> But, at least in 50% of the cases, the basic Apache configuration is not
> enough, and one needs a series of the extension modules to be configured
> according to a very specific configuration and usage.
> In my view thus, it is more at the level of each extension module, rather
> than at the level of the generic Apache configuration, that a better
> interface would be useful.
> If I'm not mistaken, that's what webmin is about : it provides a kind of
> generic "framework" where one can plug in different modules, as long as
> these modules follow some basic rules.  I don't know if webmin's logic is
> adaptable to Apache extension modules, but if it is, that's the direction I
> would follow.  And if it isn't, then maybe defining such a generic
> interface, where each Apache module author can just easily "plug-in" his own
> graphic management module for his own extension module, would be a worthy
> enterprise.
> In the end however, there is another aspect.
> I believe that the users/managers of software like Apache, and
> users/managers of software like IIS, have fundamentally a different point of
> view and approach to such issues.  People who like IIS and its graphical
> interface, are generally people who grew up with Windows and its graphical
> interface.  They consider this to be the "normal" way of things.  They are
> prepared to sacrifice a bit of understanding of what is really going on
> behind the scenes (e.g. in the dark corners of the Windows Registry), to the
> facility and ease of use of a graphical interface that makes things simpler
> on the surface.
> On the other hand, the people who like Apache as it is now, like to know
> exactly what is going on, and are prepared for that to go through the
> sometimes tedious editing of configuration files by hand with a text editor,
> knowing that by doing so they can really drive the process exactly like they
> want, without some kind of "wizard" popping up and pretending to be smarter
> than themselves.
> So the thing is, assuming you would create such an interface, would there
> really be a public willing to use it ?
> Considering that for the people that just want to install and configure a
> basic Apache, it is already easy on most systems; and considering that due
> to the nature of Apache and its modules, it is always going to be very hard
> to create a graphical interface that satisfies the needs of the more finicky
> others, I personally doubt it.
> But then, for some system administration tasks, I also enjoy the facilities
> offered by some graphical interfaces, so maybe I'm wrong.
> Good luck anyway.
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