Externally-Hosted%20Web%20Services:%20Good%20Idea%20Or%20Bad%20Idea? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Externally-Hosted%20Web%20Services:%20Good%20Idea%20Or%20Bad%20Idea?

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Title: Externally-Hosted%20Web%20Services:%20Good%20Idea%20Or%20Bad%20Idea?


1
Externally-Hosted Web ServicesGood Idea Or Bad
Idea?
  • Brian Kelly
  • UK Web Focus
  • UKOLN
  • University of Bath

Summary This talk describes a variety of
externally-hosted web services and ponders on
their applicability for UK HEIs.
Email B.Kelly_at_ukoln.ac.uk URL
http//www.ukoln.ac.uk/
UKOLN is funded by Resource The Council for
Museums, Archives and Libraries, the Joint
Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the
Higher Education Funding Councils, as well as by
project funding from the JISC and the European
Union. UKOLN also receives support from the
University of Bath where it is based.
2
Contents
  • What Problems Do We Face?
  • Externally-Hosted Web Services
  • Case Studies
  • Web Statistics
  • Email Lists
  • Authoring Tools
  • Other Examples
  • Link Gateways User Feedback
  • Third-party Content Notification Services
  • Other End User and Authoring Tools
  • Conclusions

3
Ring Any Bells?
  • You manage a Web service or create departmental
    Web pages
  • Your job was fun once, but now it's difficult to
    keep on top the job
  • You need extra resources, but cant get them
  • Your good Unix systems staff have left for
  • There is a software solution, but it's expensive
  • You tried to install the 14 day evaluation
    version, but couldn't get it to work
  • When you eventually got it to work, your PC
    wasn't powerful enough to run it
  • You can't afford an upgrade to your PC

4
An Answer To The Webmaster's Prayer?
  • A solution may be available
  • A solution which is free (in many cases)
  • A solution which requires no software
    installation
  • A solution which requires no investment in
    hardware
  • A solution which exploits the network and keeps
    UKERNA in business
  • The solution is deployment of externally-hosted
    Web services

5
What Do We Mean?
  • Remember HTML Validation services
  • Enter a URL into a Web form and check it
    validates
  • Add an image if your page is valid HTML
  • Link the page to the validation for on-the-fly
    validation - an externally-hosted web service

6
Hit Counters
  • Another example is the hit counter
  • Link to image held on remote server
  • Image (of number) updated every time image
    retrieved

See ltYahoo gt Business and Economy gt Business to
Business gt Computers gt Software gt Internet gt
World Wide Web gt Log Analysis Toolsgt for lists of
hit counters
7
Your View So Far
  • Sounds great, no software to install, available
    for free. What else can be done in this way?

Question Has anyone made use of externally-hosted
web services?
Sorry I'm indecisive.I can't decide.
What edge of this spectrum are you closest to?
No way! I don't want to be reliant on anyone
else. Besides, I'll be out of a job if this idea
takes off this is out-sourcing.
8
Hit Counters to Web Stats
D
  • Hit counters have developed into comprehensive
    Web statistical services
  • Model
  • Link to image held on remote Web site
  • Follow link to remote site to get graphical
    display of hits
  • Use JavaScript to record PC profile

See lthttp//www.exploit-lib.org/issue5/indicators/
gt
9
eGroups Mailing Lists
D
  • eGroups lets you set up free mailing lists
  • eGroups provides an email and a Web interface
  • Calendars, polls and databases are also provided
    by eGroups
  • How does this compare with Listproc or
    Majordomo installed locally?

See also Yahoo! gt Computers and Internet gt
Internet gt Chats and Forums gt
10
Using eGroups
D
  • eGroups are being used by the organising
    committee and delegates for planning for the
    Institutional Web Management workshop
  • Mailing lists
  • Voting
  • Database
  • (Realtime chat)
  • See lthttp//www.egroups.com/groups/iwmw-2000/gt

The Institutional Web Management Workshop will be
held in Bath University on 6-8 Sept
11
Content Management
D
  • Manilla is a Web-based content management tool.
  • You can buy the softwarefor 899 or use it for
    free at Editthispage.com

12
Managing Link Gateways
D
  • LinkBank.com enables link gateways to be managed
  • Bulk upload
  • Email notification of broken links
  • Summaries of usage
  • User "sort by" option

13
Managing Link Gateways (2)
  • JumpList.com provides a free link management
    system

14
User Feedback
D
  • Elements of user feedback can be added through
    use of voting systems, quizzes, etc

See lthttp//www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue23/web-focus/gt
and lthttp//ezpolls.mycomputer.com/gt
15
Forms Processing
http//www.responders.net/
  • Why bother with CGI scripts when you can use
    Web-based forms-processing software

1.Make Your Website InteractiveReceive feedback
from your customers. All responses are emailed in
seconds. 2. Build Your Forms Online - No HTML
NeededDesign your Request Form in 2 minutes or
less with our EZ-Form Builder, without
programming.  3. Customize Your Request Form As
NeededAsk up to 10 questions of your choice,
change the title, add special instructions, and
more! 4. Easy Integration Into Your Existing
SiteAdding your form is as simple as creating a
link.
16
Content
http//ezpolls.mycomputer.com/
  • Free newsfeeds, classified ads, jokes, cartoons,
    quotations) can be included on your Web site

http//notinmybackyard.com/
17
Notification Services
D
  • You can register a page at Netmind.
  • You will receive a message when the page is
    updated.

The Netmind service is used at Exploit
Interactive to provide notification of a new
issue.
18
Server Down - Notification
http//www.internetseer.com
  • Recently the Exploit Interactive Web server
    crashed after a virus checker caused memory
    leaks.
  • Internetseer's free Website monitoring service is
    now used to check the site hourly.
  • Up to 230 URLs can be checked for free.

19
Submit-it Services
http//www.submitit.com/
  • Rather than manually submitting key resources to
    many search engines you can
  • Purchase and install an application locally
  • Subscribe to a Web-based service
  • Use a free Web-based service

Exploit Interactive has used ScrubTheWeb
reviewed in issue 6
http//www.scrubtheweb.com/
20
Search Engines
  • If you are one of the 50 HEIs without a search
    facility on your Web site, why not let a
    third-party index your Web site?
  • All you need is a few lines of HTML

Nene College and St. Mary's College use FreeFind
and Derby University uses AltaVista
21
Graphics Services
  • Web services for
  • Image manipulation
  • File format conversion
  • are available

http//www.newbreedsoftware.com/webfx/
TIFF -gt PDFhttp//DocMorph1.nlm.nih.gov/docmorph/
(free)http//www.fastio.com/tiff2pdf.html
(licensed)
22
Calendars
  • Why bother with Outlook when you can get calendar
    facilities for free?

23
Issues
  • Many externally-hosted web services are available
  • But
  • What about the dependencies of the network(s)?
  • What about the reliance of the third-party? Will
    the company stay in business?
  • If the service is funded by advertising revenue,
    with use contravene the JANET AUP?
  • Will large-scale use of such services generate
    large network bills?
  • Is my data secure and private?
  • Is my data reusable and available in an open
    format?
  • Is is sensible for a mission-critical service?

Remember the WebTechs incident?
24
RDN Include
  • The Resource Discovery Network Centre (RDNC)
    coordinates the work of RDN hubs, such as SOSIG,
    EEVL, BIOME, etc.
  • Institutions may be reluctant to link to hubs as
    they want users to stay on the University Web
    site.

The RDNC is developing the RDN-I (Include)
service to give the appearance that the hub is
located within the institution.
The RDN will be providing an externally-hosted
service
25
The DNER
  • The DNER
  • JISC-funded initiative managed by Lorcan Dempsey
  • Distributed National Electronic Resource
  • Seamless access from institutions to national
    resources (MIMAS, BIDS, EDINA, etc)
  • Based on intelligent server software (broker) and
    support for standards (XML, Dublin Core, Z39.50,
    etc.)
  • An example of Business-to-Business application

JISC's vision for the DNER has many similarities
to the externally-hosted Web services we have
seen, but based on open standards.
26
What About The Users?
  • "I use the external services because the
    University doesn't allow me access to install on
    the server and because it doesn't make any
    appropriate tools available."
  • Tom Wilson, Department of Information Studies,
    University of Sheffield
  • "Our search facility is currently hosted by
    atomz.com , some calendering by Yahoo!, so I'm
    increasingly drawn to externally hosted
    solutions... more time to catch up on other, more
    pressing work, until they all stop working."
  • Ian Usher, Webmonger, Department of Geography,
    UCL

See lthttp//www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue23/web-focus/gt
for full quotes
27
HotMail
  • One UK University
  • 60 of new undergrads in 1999 arrive with HotMail
    account
  • They use HotMail in preference to the University
    account
  • Should they support it?
  • Can they afford not to?
  • What will happen when students arrive with their
    own Web-based calendaring facilities?

28
ASP
  • Application Service Providers (ASP)
  • Commercial sector already moving in this
    direction
  • Sun promote access to StarOffice across network
    in preference to MS Office on local PC
  • See lthttp//uk.dir.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy
    /Business_to_Business/Communications_and_Networki
    ng/Internet_and_World_Wide_Web/Application_Servic
    e_Providers__ASPs_/gt

Are Athens and Mailbase early examples of ASPs?
29
Conclusions
  • Externally hosted web services
  • Are available in many different areas
  • Arguments against their use (reliability,
    privacy, performance) should diminish as they
    mature
  • Your user community will use them (are using
    them) in any case
  • Of particular interest to the FE community?
  • Will we see a move towards use of Application
    Service Providers (ASPs)?
  • Time to grasp the nettle?

Have your views changed?
30
Resources
  • Various directories of externally-hosted services
    are available
  • lthttp//toolsforthe.net/gt
  • lthttp//homepagetools.com/gt
  • lthttp//www.mycomputer.com/gt
  • lthttp//link.freesitestuff.com/?scottpgt
  • lthttp//www.freecenter.com/gt
  • lthttp//www.newbreedsoftware.com/web/gt
  • lthttp//www.egroups.com/group/free4libgt
  • lthttp//www.intranets.com/gt

Acknowledgments to Peter Scott ltscottp_at_moondog.us
ask.cagt for his contributions.
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