Rags Int., Inc.
Web Site

This web site started as simple Word Perfect document that I merely saved as html format.    The original document was a printed tri-fold flier.   It needed a lot of reformatting to layout as a web page.   Adding links to the lecture descriptions and my resume was simple.  

This is serviced by my own Web Server, Domino GoWebserver 4.6.2 running under Windows NT Server V4.   I have added a Firewall, FTP Server, and Proxy Server.   I have a local LAN as well as a DSL connection.   The server is backed by a UPS, but I do have to reboot it often since this is both my production and sandbox machine.   I also have AIX, Digital UNIX, HP-UX, and other Windows machines on the local LAN.   No, they are not assessable from the internet! 

The visit counter is a CGI script written in C.   The ones provided with Domino GoWeb are very nice, but they do not run with IBM HTTP server (future objective), and there was no easy way to prevent them from counting local accesses (mine).   Again, there are lots of them available on the web.   Most use a remote counter (not what I wanted).   The rest were bone ugly.   So, I wrote one that outputs text, skips counter updates for local hits, and logs some statistics about each visit.   I intend to make sure that it can be ported easily to any Web Server.   It is currently using Server Side Includes (SSI).   I'd like to find a way to eliminate that dependency.  

Adding audio was a real pain as it turned out.   The first attempt was to add a simple wave file using my mike.   The quality was horrible and the files were huge.   Then, I tried some editing software to offer different formats.   This led to a long struggle with mime types and file formats.   It turns out that MSIE keys on the file extension only and Netscape keys on the mime type (content) only.   My Web Server was not configured to present the correct mime types.   So, the multimedia stuff is extremely dependent on the client packages installed, browser configuration, and file associations.   Totally out of my control.   That's why I offer different formats.   The HTML tags to control the audio are totally different for MSIE and Netscape, so it took a lot of effort to make sure that both would work with any format, as long as you have the right player and have it configured in the browser.   For help here, you might want to see the RealAudio and Winamp Home Pages.   You can test some sample audio clips at the Sound America Home Page.   The HTML tags I use should allow the audio to load before it starts to play.   This eliminates the broken sounds on dial connection when it plays while loading (default).   Once cached, it should play fine.  

If you want to see the Netscape MIME types registered in your browser, click here: Show My MIME Information.   If you want to see the Netscape Plug-Ins registered in your browser, click here: Show My Plug-In Information.   Checkout the following links for browser updates and information:

http://home.netscape.com/download/ Netscape Communicator/Navigator: Latest downloads and Updates.
http://home.netscape.com/plugins/ Netscape Communicator/Navigator: Plugin Information and Links.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/IE/ Microsoft Internet Explorer: Main Page.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ Microsoft Internet Explorer: Latest downloads and Updates.

This site currently employs:

HTML HyperText Markup Language, the primary web page formatting language.
HTTP HyperText Transfer Protocol.   Used to transmit Web Pages.
Style Sheets Controls the format and layout of elements in the page.
DHTML Dynamic HTML.   A combination of HTML, style sheets, and scripting languages that allows for dynamic generation of web page content.
Frames Puts window panes in the main window.   See the Texas BBQ.
Tables Formats tabular data such as this.
MIME Types Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extension.   Used to identify the format of HTML data being sent to the browser.   This is also referenced as the 'content/type' in HTML.   Ultimately, this identifies the program that will render (display) the image, sound, or text.  
GIF Images Graphics Interchange Format.   Used a lot for icons and buttons.
WAV/MP3/AIF/RealAudio A few of the many audio and multimedia file formats.
JPEG Images Joint Photographic Experts Group.   Better color depth and compression than GIF.
MPEG Video JPEG with video motion and sound.
CGI Common Gateway Interface.   Allows access to server programs from the web server.   Data is collected from the web page through 'forms' containing elements such as text, push buttons, and selection lists.   Server replies come back as HTML including text, images, sounds, and just about anything your browser can understand via a MIME type.   I use this to update the visitor count while ignoring my own visits.  
SSI Server Side Includes.   Used to extract information from the web server and CGIs.
Java Applet Java is an Internet programming language from Sun Microsystems.   An applet runs in a browser (with restricted functions).   Applets are 'compiled' into byte-codes that are transmittted to your browser and executed via a 'virtual machine'.   This allows platform independence and security checking.   I use a Java Applet to allow you to sign my guest book.
Java Servlet This runs in my server instead of your browser and has access to my local files.   In other words, the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) is in my Web Server, rather than in your browser.
Java Script This Java code allows some limited programming within the HTML pages.   A scripting language is interpreted at execution time rather than being compiled in advance.   Other browser examples are JScript and VBScript.   The term 'script' comes from Unix and refers to a large number of interpreted languages such as; Korn Shell, Borne Shell, Perl, and REXX.  
Web Server This is where the HTML pages and Java code comes from.
Firewall Used to prevent unauthorized or malicious access to my machine.
Proxy Server Used to allow my other local machines access to the Internet.
FTP Server (File Transfer Protocol).   Allows me to accept or send large files to my customers.

This site also holds the Texas BBQ Home Page http://www.rags-int-inc.com/bbq/.   There, you can read about the history of the Texas BBQ and view some pictures of the 2000 attendees.   This uses HTML Frames.  


CICS

Some folks have asked me, what's CICS, so here goes.   CICS stands for Customer Information Control System.   It is a software package known as a Transaction Manager.   That is, it allows you to build applications supporting many concurrent end user interactions (transactions) accessing shared information.  

It was written in 1968 by five IBM programmers in Des Plains, Illinois.   The target forecast was for five to seven utility companies in the midwest.   At that time, online processing was virtually unheard of.   Information was retrieved from giant printouts created every night.   Updates were done on a nightly cycle.   This new CICS was neat stuff.   There are tens of thousands of customers, throughout the world using CICS today.   Now, instant access to online information is routine.   The WWW provides it from anywhere to anywhere.  

Deploying CICS is still not a trivial task.   But when the business volumes are high, nothing does the job like CICS on the mainframe.   So, you can expect it to be around for a while longer.  

The WWW has changed the face of Data Processing or Information Services (whichever term you prefer).   Now, the demand is for information access direct to the end user instead of just access for your own internal staff and employees.   CICS has changed too.   It is now considered a family since it runs on many Unix and PC platforms as well as the traditional IBM mainframe.   It supports most of the modern and popular Relational Data Bases.   It allows client programs running almost anywhere to access server programs running in CICS on another platform.   This allows access to legacy business functions from new applications written in GUI languages such as Visual Basic and Power Builder to name just two.   It also allows direct connection from the Internet through programs running in the Web Server or even programs running in the end user's machine, such as Java Applets.   The CICS Server can be on a Unix, PC, or mainframe machine.   Sometimes these "Distributed Systems" are deployed as "Gateways" with the PC or Unix servers handling the network traffic and some local processing and the "backend" servers managing access to the critical business data.   That's the arena where my services are called on.  

You can learn more about CICS at the IBM Home Page, the IBM Hursley England Web Site, the IBM CICS Transaction Server Web Site (mainframe), and/or the IBM CICS TXSeries (Distributed Systems) Web Site.  


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www.rags-int-inc.com/bbq/Texas BBQ 2000      www.rags-int-inc.comRags Int., Inc. Home Page      www.rags-int-inc.com/Christmas02/Rags & Christine - Christmas 2002