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From David Arnold <>
Subject multiple users on a single machine
Date Sun, 18 Jul 2004 19:32:00 GMT

We're writing a series of examinations that will be placed online. We
anticipate that many students will use the computers in our academic
support center (ASC) to take these examinations online. This means that
it's possible that different students could enter our examination page from
the same machine at different times of the day or week. Of course, other
students might also be entering our examination area from different
machines in the ASC or from their home machines.

We will have the usernames and passwords of all eligible students in a
database on our server. The main directory where students first enter is
protected with modperl, maybe something like:

Alias /online_testing/ "/usr/local/apache/htdocs/online_testing/"
<Location /online_testing/>
        AuthName OnlineTesting
        AuthType Basic
        PerlAuthenHandler Apache::AuthTieDBI
        PerlSetVar TieDatabase mysql:test_www
        PerlSetVar TieTable user_info:user_name:passwd
        require valid-user
        PerlAccessHandler Apache::GateKeeper
        PerlSetVar Gate open

Suppose that student A logs into our main page using his username and
password against our database. He is authenticated and presented with links
to examinations. Suppose, for example, that one of these links is "Exam#1".
When student A clicks this link, a second perl script needs to take his
username and password and use the FDFToolkit from Adobe to import this
information into a waiting PDF document. My first question is this: Is the
username and password that student A used to login available to this next
perl script? (Assume that all files are in
/usr/local/apache/htdocs/online_testing/ or perhaps in subdirectories of
this path.) 

If there are documents, tutorials, or other pointers similar to this kind
of application that would be a valuable read, I would appreciate any pointers.

Secondly, suppose at the same time student B has logged on to the opening
page, but from another machine. Is this run in a separate child process? If
student B also tries to access "Exam#1", will things go well?

Thirdly, what happens if student B logs onto the same machine as student A,
but later in the day?

I think my note points to my confusion of all these "processes" and how
they work. I still don't have a handle on that. Any help or explanation
will be appreciated.


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