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The Linux Intranet Server HOWTO: Accessing the Web Next Previous Contents

6. Accessing the Web

Now that we have setup the HTTP server, the clients and interconnected the Linux server with the other servers, we need to make some small adjustments on the Linux server to be able to access these mounted filesystems from the Web Browser.

6.1 Accessing the mounted filesystems

To access the mounted directories in your HTML pages you have two methods:

  • Create a link in DocumentRoot (/usr/local/etc/httpd/htdocs) to refer to the mounted directory as
       ln -s /mnt/MYDOM_NW/vol1/home/htmldocs netware
       ln -s /mnt/MYDOM_NT    winNT
       ln -s /mnt/MYDOM_UNIX    unix
  • to edit the file srm.conf in your /usr/local/etc/httpd/conf directory and add a new alias.

  # Alias fakename realname
  Alias /icons/     /usr/local/etc/httpd/icons/

  # alias for netware server
  Alias /netware/   /mnt/MYDOM_NW/vol1/home/htmldocs/
  Alias /winNT/     /mnt/MYDOM_NT/
  Alias /unix/      /mnt/MYDOM_UNIX
And restart your HTTPd. You can access the documents on the netware server by referring to them as http://linux.mydomain/netware/index.htm for the netware files and similar notations for the others.

6.2 Connecting to the Internet

You can finally connect your Intranet to the Internet to access E-Mail and all the wonderful information out there. I propose to write a brief note on how to do this in a future revision. Detailed explanations are available in the ISP Hookup HOWTO from http://sunsite.unc.edu/mdw/HOWTO/ISP-Hookup-HOWTO.html and Diald mini HOWTO at http://sunsite.unc.edu/mdw/HOWTO/mini/Diald for setting up these connections.

6.3 Other uses

The HTTP server can be used in the office to provide transparent access to information residing on different servers, at several locations and directories. The data can be simple documents in Word, Lotus spreadsheets, or complex databases.

The application of this technology is being typically used as follows:-

  • Publishing corporate documents

    These documents can include newsletters, annual reports, maps, company facilities, price lists, product information literature, and any document which is of value within the corporate entity.

  • Access into searchable directories

    Rapid access to corporate phone books and the like. This data can be mirrored at a Web site or, via CGI scripts, the Web server can serve as a gateway to back-end pre-existing or new applications. This means that, using the same standard access mechanisms, information can be made more widely available and in a simpler manner. This means that it can be used to create an interface with RDBMS like ORACLE and SYBASE for generating real-time information. Here is a list of links to such sites on the Web.

    - Web Access - http://cscsun1.larc.nasa.gov/~beowulf/db/web_access.html - CGI gateways - HTTP://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/RDBGate/Overview.html

  • Corporate/Department/Individual pages

    As cultures change within organistions to the point where even each department moves towards their own individual mission statements, the Intranet technology provides the ideal medium to communicate current information to the Department or Individual. Powerful search engines provide the means for people to find the group or individual who has the answers to the continuous questions which arise in the normal day-to-day course of doing business.

  • Simple Groupware applications

    With HTML forms support, sites can provide sign-up sheets, surveys and simple scheduling.

  • Software distribution

    Administrators can use the Intranet to deliver software and up-dates on-demand to users across the corporate network . This can be done with 'Java' which allows the creation and transparent distribution of objects on-demand rather than just data or applications. This is indeed possible more easily with the newer versions of Linux which has builtin support for Java.

  • Mail

    With the move to the use of Intranet mail products with standard and simple methods for attachment of documents, sound, vision and other multimedia between individuals, mail is being pushed further forward as a simple, de facto communications method. Mail is essentially individual to individual, or individual to small group, communication. Several utilities are available on the Linux platform to setup an E-mail system like sendmail, pop3d, imapd.

  • User Interface

    The Intranet technology is evolving so rapidly that the tools available, in particular HTML, can be used to dramatically change the way we interface with systems. With HTML you can build an Interface which is only limited by the creators imagination. The beauty about using Intranet technologies for this is that it is so simple. Clicking a hyperlink from HTML can take you to another page, it could ring an alarm, run a yearend procedure or anything else that a computer program can do.

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