Reinhard Doelz doelz at comp.bioz.unibas.ch
Fri Dec 10 02:18:18 EST 1993

In article <9312100441.AA22821 at pclsp2>, vinz at PCLSP2.KUICR.KYOTO-U.AC.JP (Vincenzo Nardi-Dei) writes:
|> I found NSCA Mosaic a very amusing tool of information, but, on
|> my opinion, a long way has yet to be done to get a good working
|> system. It is very slow on getting data and too many times is
|> unable to connect with remote host.

We look at Information technology seriously. The 'old' days of plain FTP 
are no logre too attracting. About a year ago, GOPHER took off. Despite 
the fact that it was offering a nice option to interface searching 
engines like WAIS, a GOPHER site is relatively easy to maintain. 
Still, a consistent  mainienance of GOPHER is difficult, and even if there
are many active links the information offered may be outdated (it actually
is outdated at our GOPHER, sorry to say this). 

WWW is, developmentwise, where GOPHER was about 18 months ago. Many sites 
are experimental, and move in between several ports and places rapidly.
It is not surprising that links expire, but a 'resource discovery' which 
operates automatically still has to be found. 

We were running an inofficial WWW server since April 1992, mainy as 
gateway to FTP and GOPHER, and made it public in October 1993. In contrast
to GOPHER, the current developments of WWW look promising enough for 

	- support of client side user input (as MIME message)
	- support of menu interfaces 
	- (moderately) easy way to write own server scripts/daemon parts

I am personally not convinced yet that there weren't another new product
in a year which is Hyper-XXX and we claim that this were the new song 
to sing. The NCSA user interface to WWW is slow because it automatically
transfers images, and I doubt that we can make useful images in the extend 
which is now offered; I would consider a huge part of W3 server bandwidth
is wasted because there's a transfer of logos, images of people, music, 
etc etc. So on the one side Mosaic gives us a hell of new features but 
on the other side I am concerned whether we (the Biologists) can use 
it extensively and easily. the Expasy server with the SDS page is the only 
place I know which has useful gifs (please correct me if I am wrong) 
for the Biochemist at the lab bench. 

Once there are enough clients supporting user interfaces for fill-out
(like the current GOPHER+ ASK, there are features which can be used 
only by few clients), we will release a new interface for a Biological 
Database Query System. However, we won't repeat the mistakes of the 
GOPHER age; at times where we offered the only EMBL WAIS server in the 
world our system was hit by hundreds of automatically launched queries. 
The new systems will have access control, and other features, which 
seem to limit the general-purpose idea first, but once they're established 
they are much easier to maintain and kept stable. 


|    Dr. Reinhard Doelz            | RFC     doelz at urz.unibas.ch         |
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