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WebTen & NetTen - A True Beginner's Guide (Part 1)

by Terry Allen

Before any start is made on this most interesting of topics, I have to make a qualification of what the term 'beginner' means in relation to setting a server up. Firstly, if you've just recently connected to the Internet for the first time and you're thinking how cool it would be to run your own server, you're already in way over your head and have a lot to learn before even considering running your own server.

In this ongoing series of articles, I've referred to a beginner as being someone who has a fair working knowledge of computers, is familiar with both their existing operating system and knows basically what to do when something goes wrong. I'm also assuming that you know what the basics of installing any application are. From here though, your knowledge as a beginner in the field of server setup is probably (like mine), fairly limited and you'll be learning along with me what goes into running your own server, setting it up and getting it to a running and (hopefully) stable setup.

We're also assuming here that your network connection to your server machine is already set up and that you're able to connect to the Internet via a browser, FTP or e-mail application. If not, you're going to need this set up before even starting to install anything else.

If you've read this far, chances are that you've decided to go with Tenon's products, because you're either impressed or intrigued by the prospect of running the legendary Apache web server which will give you pretty much the power of UNIX and the stability that goes with that.

While you may already have decided to go with WebTen and NetTen, I suggest you check out the other options to see what both these products have to offer. View the web sites, subscribe to the mailing lists (including the WebTen list) and get a feel for what the actual users are saying about the products they're evaluating or using. For those who have only just started checking the Mac server market out, other options include shareware applications such as Netpresenz, Quid Pro Quo and MacHTTP as well as commercial applications such as Quid Pro Quo Plus, WebSTAR and a variety of other options.

For the purposes I need to set up a server and indeed the needs of a great many other server administrators, WebTen offers the advantages of both Mac OS and those of UNIX. The security of Mac OS, combined with the ability of WebTen to use a surprising array of CGIs and scripts, including Apple CGI, Perl, WebSTAR Plug ins and others.

Once you've viewed the FAQ files, specs of the products, established that either WebTen, NetTen (or both) will meet your needs and you've asked a few questions to the company's tech support people to get a feel for how you're going to work with the company, it's time to download and evaluate.

Downloading both WebTen and NetTen is easy enough. Once they're decompressed with an application such as the freeware Stuffit Expander, they end up as regular Install applications, which you simply double-click on to launch, in the manner of all good things Mac.

Once the installer has launched and you're presented with the options window of what to install, there's the core part of the application, plus some options like PHP and the like as well as demonstrations of things like HTML/OS which you can choose. I chose to install everything except the demos, the total number of items installed being more than 1,000 and the installation process was over in less than 3 minutes.

To give you a brief outline of what I'm installing this software onto, our server is a Power Macintosh 7300/200 with 128MB of RAM. I've installed a freshly formatted Seagate 2GB Hard Drive with Mac OS 9.0 then run the updater to bring it to 9.0.4 after which I've then removed unnecessary control panels and extensions like Appletalk Remote Access, the modem control panel and things like that. If you're not sure what to remove, there are numerous articles available and many people on mailing lists who can help you out here.

Now, we're to the launch of the application. This is where you'll need a PDF reader such as Acrobat Reader to check out the manual (preferably on another Mac) for reference. A preferences box will launch on the first start of the application.

Leave the options as they are for the moment, click on OK and let the application launch. You'll see a progress bar and on my server, the first launch took quite some time, upwards of 2 minutes, while internal processes went on. Don't be concerned, subsequent relaunches are very quick, it's only the initial setup that tackles this time.

Once you're successfully launched and can see the status windows up and running, look for the menu option to change the Admin password. A quick word of warning about this option. When you enter this for the first time, you'll see the admin username you've put in and the password in bullet form. When you check it again, it will have disappeared! Don't panic - it's been stored within the WebTen application preferences and you won't see it again unless you change it yourself.

All being well, you should be able to launch a browser on the local machine and point it to the IP address of the machine and voila! you should now see the WebTen home page. Congratulations, you're now in the world of web serving. In the next article, I'll be outlining a little more detail about getting your own content on the server, so I'll see you then...

(Terry Allen of hEARd has been using computers since 1980 when he first came across the new Apple II Plus in his high school. Since that time, he's worked on various platforms, though all his word processing is still done on an Apple //c. You can find the hEARd web site at http://www.ozemail.com.au/~hmag/)

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