This column covers features and
resources available through the University s Campus Wide Information
System (CWIS). It was formerly named News from the CWIS/Gopher Hole.
UNT s Home Page on the World Wide Web can be found at http://www.unt.edu.
I ve Got Those Creepy,
Crawly, Cranky, 1 2 3 Hanky, Webmaster Blues...
- Yet another bimonthly issue of Benchmarks...
- Yet another two months of struggle to enhance and expand UNT s
- And yet another two months of frustration with lack of time and
Please pardon me if I sound a
little whiny this time around. It has been anything but a stellar
time for this webmaster since the last issue of Benchmarks was
published. I had expected great things to occur with my announcement
in that issue of the tremendous amount of world-wide attention UNT s
web site was getting. I mean, I was impressed that UNT s WWW server
was experiencing over 500,000 accesses a month. And I
certainly was surprised to find that 70% of that number reflected
off-campus accesses (i.e. not originating from users at UNT.)
Truth be told, I do suffer from just a slight lack of
patience at times. I also know that delayed gratification has never
been a strong suit of mine. However, I find it hard to believe that I
wasn t visited by some Great Webmaster Fairy who, with a wave of a
golden wand, bestowed upon me:
- days of 36 hours instead of a measly 24,
- 60-day months,
- about half-a-dozen clones of myself, and
- a small Cray supercomputer (or two).
well, a person can dream, can't they?
Introductions are in
On a much brighter note, one good thing has happened
in the interim. I did get a half-time student employee position
allocated to me, and was blessed with the opportunity to hire Sharon
Marek as my assistant. She is a master s student in the School of
Library and Information Sciences. She has proven herself to be a
quick- learner and an energetic worker and seems to possess an almost
saintly amount of patience (she has to in order to put up with me as
her supervisor.) I am looking forward to having her able assistance
around to make my work life more bearable. If you telephone me and
find yourself wondering if my voice has suddenly changed, kindly
introduce yourself to Sharon, and wish her luck.
Lest you think that I have been doing nothing
but sulking the past couple of months, allow me to dispel that nasty
rumor (probably started by my boss.) Here are just some of the things
that are either being planned, or are actually underway, regarding
enhancements to UNT s Web site and the services available on it.
- Web forms: First and foremost: I have been searching the
Internet far and wide for a solution to my problem with providing
support for interactive Web forms. I know that a lot of you have been
wanting to get some experience in doing this. It really has been hard
for me to deny you this opportunity, and I don t really expect you to
completely understand what my problem is with Web forms. But I truly
have been looking for a solution to the dilemma I have created for my
For those of you who are not aware, creating and using
interactive forms generally requires a CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
program in order to process the information entered by the user into
the form. Unfortunately, this means that there has to be a custom CGI
program for each and every form. I have longed for a way to offer this
The solution is near at hand: I have
found what promises to be a generic form-handling script that will
allow anyone publishing a Web page at UNT to easily incorporate
interactive forms into their documents. As soon as I am able to verify
that all safety precautions have been implemented in the source code
of this program, I will let you know of its availability and will
provide detailed instructions on its use. Be watching for news of this
on the UNT homepages (http://www.unt.edu/
- finding myself inundated with requests for custom CGI programs,
- opening up the server to the perils of allowing anyone to create
their own CGI script.
- Re-design Time: Next up is an announcement for all of you
to be specially mindful of UNT s main homepage over the next few
weeks. Yes, it s time for the semi-annual remodeling of the Web site!
I believe that you will find even more improvements in this next
iteration than you witnessed after the last remodeling effort. A great
deal of effort is being put into making the information that most of
you are interested in (as obtained from the Web server s logfiles)
more readily available.
By the time that you read this, the new
look should have been available for browsing for a while and, with the
added capability of interactive forms, you will have had a chance to
state your likes or dislikes regarding the new design and structure.
The new design will also incorporate many of the guidelines and
suggestions that are coming out of the Standards and Cooperation
Program Group; adding to the effectiveness and attractiveness of your
university s Web site.
- And for the future... In addition to the foregoing, but on
a more long-term scale, I have been investigating the possibility of
providing an SQL database server, with accompanying WWW- interfaces,
for the benefit of the departments and offices who may have a need for
such capability. Using the World-Wide Web as a friendly front-end to
organizational databases of information is one of the hottest topics
on the Internet. Implementing such a service has the potential to
increase the amount and kind of information available, and vastly
increase the sophistication of the access and retrieval of that
This service would unfortunately have to be limited
to official use only since the addition of database access to a Web
server limits the server s capacity. However, it has such a potential
that I feel I would be remiss in my duties if I did not try to find a
means of providing this service through the Web servers I administer.
I invite any faculty or staff members who feel that this may be of
benefit to them to email me at email@example.com
so that we can discuss the possibilities (and possibly negotiate
assistance in this endeavor [wink]).
For those of you
who may still find interest in the growth of the World Wide Web at
UNT, rest assured that growth is still being experienced. The LAN Web
server (www-lan.unt.edu) experienced a 50% growth in average daily
accesses from September to October, and UNT s main Web site,
www.unt.edu, continues to experience a steady 20% growth rate.
No matter what else happens no matter how few or how many
resources are brought to bear on administering, maintaining,
developing, and enhancing UNT s Web presence, it will continue to
grow. However, growth without a corresponding increase in resources to
manage it is making it more and more difficult to ensure that everyone
who visits UNT s Web site retains a positive image of the university.
Do I hear a call for volunteers?
And so it goes...
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