Server software with a different design

John Franks (
Tue, 29 Nov 1994 16:44:51 -0600 (CST)

WN -- a server for the HTTP
Version 0.93 (beta) now available

An HTTP server should do more than just serve files.
It should play an active role in both navigation and
presentation issues. It is my hope that this server
provides better tools for the creative webmaster.

WN is a server for the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It runs
on a wide variety of UNIX platforms and is available at no cost for
any use under the terms of the GNU public license.

The design of WN is based on the use of a small flat database in each
directory with information about the files in that directory.
Fields associated with a file include its title, and may include
keywords, expiration date and any user defined fields like author or
document id.

User's Guide at

or just an overview at

To see a few of the things this server can do that most others can't
check out the index to the User's Guide at

o A variety of built-in searches including title searches,
keyword searches, or fielded searches for user defined fields.
These can be done across the entire server or any subhierarchy.

o Builtin full text searching of text documents in a single
directory. This is intended to provide a mechanism for users
to search a single logical HTML document which may consist of
many files on the server.

o Secure server side includes and wrappers for documents.

o Security based on per directory databases. Only files with entries
in databases may be served.

o Filters. An arbitrary filter may be assigned to any document
to process that document on the fly when serving it.

o CGI 1.1 support for forms, clickable images etc. CGI scripts
can be in any directory. Their execution can be restricted
by requiring a specific user or group id for the database
referring to them.

o Ranges. Support for URLs which return only a specified byte
or line range of a document. This is useful for structured

o Over 100K of documentation.

WN's functionality was planned with a focus on serving HTML documents.
This means such things as enabling full text searching of a single
logical HTML document which may consist of many files on the server,
or allowing users users to search all titles on the server and obtain
a menu of matching items, or allowing users to download a total
logical document for printing even though the document consists of
many linked files on the server. All of these are done in a way which
is transparent to the user (and largely transparent to the maintainer!)
The User's Guide at <">
provides a good example of both of these. But these are only examples of
many new tools WN makes available to webmasters.

Available at:

John Franks