Sidebar


The FastTrack and EMWAC Servers

We also managed to obtain a trial version of Netscape's FastTrack Server, but too late for an in-depth look. Our impressions are that FastTrack is as complete a product as Web Commander and Web Professional, but not as easy to work with on a regular basis. Setting up a Web site took about twice as long as with any of the three products reviewed in this article.

We were impressed with FastTrack's access control, its support of Java and JavaScript, and the Netscape Server API (NSAPI). Performance in a brief test showed the Netscape FastTrack to perform on par almost to the millisecond with Microsoft's Internet Information Server. FastTrack's reasonable price will make it a viable alternative to Microsoft's IIS.

If you don't feel like laying out big bucks for a commercial Web-server package for your NT machine, you may want to try EMWAC, a freeware HTTP server. EMWAC consists of the EMWAC software itself and Process Software's Purveyor Encrypt WebServer (a reduced set of Process' commercial Web-server product). EMWAC has full support for WAIS, CGI, and forms, although WAIS users will need another tool (the WAIS Toolkit, also freeware) to enable this feature. EMWAC runs on Windows NT Server and Workstation (hence differentiating itself from several commercial products which run only on the Server version). Installation is manual, with not a GUI window in sight, but proceeds quickly enough. After installation, a new applet is added to the NT Control Panel. Purveyor Encrypt WebServer adds access control, SSL, proxy-server support, redirection of URLs, log files, and the ability to use virtual servers.

EMWAC's most critical problem is that it runs under the System account, so files must be modified to allow read access by System. The documentation explains how to set permissions properly. Another annoyance is that full, explicit directory paths to the HTML files must be provided, otherwise the content disappears when the Web administrator is logged off. Again, the documentation explains how to work around this problem.

EMWAC does work, and is stable according to many users on Usenet. There are enough features to run a full Web site, although EMWAC lacks some commercial niceties. Still, if you want to experiment with a Web site without spending any money, EMWAC is an excellent alternative to Microsoft's Internet Information Server. You can find the server on the Web at: www.emwac.ed.ac.uk/html/internet_toolchest/https/contents/htm, and the WAIS toolkit for it is at: www.emwac.ed.ac.uk/pub/waistool. — T.P.