NoteServ Configuration

By Josh Burker

Note: this documentation was taken from Josh's Newton website, therefore the references to his home page.


With Paul Guyot's release of NoteServ 2.042 the implementation of "folders" is a bit different than in previous releases. With Paul's help via the many email messages I've sent his way, I have pieced together this page to help educate others about the many functions of NPDS and NoteServ in particular. Paul answered many users requests to have separate Notes folders in which visitors post their messages using the Whiteboard SSI, or Server-Side Include (more on that later) and in which the owner posts his or her Notes. While previous releases allowed you to define your WWW folder and your Posts folder, the feature didn't really work as advertised. With version 2.042 you can define both folders and have it work as intended.

Configuring your Folders

Essentially there are three types of Notes that people can access from the web:
The WWW folder is where the index.html page must be located. This page, completely customizable, can be generated by the NoteServ component of NPDS with a tap of the stylus. Typically, the majority of people running NPDS servers use a variation on this default page, some more customized than others.

In addition to the index.html page, you can store in the WWW folder Notes that you do not want to appear in your normal "NOTE_LIST," which would produce a list of the administrator-posted Notes from the Posts folder. Why would you want to do this? To better mimic the directory/document structure typical of a web server. In the diskless world of the Newton, the directory structure works much differently than on a hard drive-based system. This note, for example, is located in my WWW folder; you will notice, back on my home page, that this specific page does not show up under the "Notes in my Notepad" area. However, it is still available to the visitor because it is located in the WWW folder.

Any Note that you wish you have appear in the "Notes in my Notepad" should be filed in the Posts folder. So long as it is in this folder, the Note will appear in the list generated by using the "NOTE_LIST" SSI.

Filing some Notes in the WWW folder and linking to them from a Note in your Posts folder is a convenient way to keep the "clutter" down on the "NOTE_LIST" and yet allow for a complex web site hosted on your Newton.

Linking to your Notes from other Notes

The Newton stores its information on linear flash RAM card (at least until Paul's ATA driver for the Newton is finalized). NPDS references Notes to be served in a rather convoluted, difficult to remember way. Typically, as you move across links on a NPDS server you will notice a long URL composed of a string of numbers in this format:


As you might imagine, trying to develop a complex web site on the Newton, with Notes linking to other Notes in your WWW folder, can be difficult as you try to remember the long string of numbers.nsd that make up the URL for a particular Note. Paul Guyot pointed out to me recently that pages can be accessed using the Note's name as well! You may have noticed that the link to this page [on Josh's Newton, this document is at /html/NoteServ%20Configuration] is not a long string of numbers, but rather a recognizable string of words. Linking to the Note's name is much easier; just make sure you represent the spaces in the Note's name correctly in your HTML:


Linking to the Note's name is much easier than trying to track down the VFN (virtual file name, if memory serves) for a particular Note by accessing your server from another computer, writing down the string of numbers....

Using SSI on your NPDS server

While the Script Editor and Scripties packages are not necessary to run a NPDS server, they make fine additions to the server suite, and add power to the server as well.

The Scripties package includes a number of server-side include scripts that will return both static and dynamic information to the visitor. For example, on my home page I have an SSI that looks to my Newton to determine roughly what time of day it is, then greets the visitor accordingly: Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening. Other SSIs include the WhiteBoard component, the Datebook component, and, if installed, the Names component. So even if you choose not to install the Script Editor and the Scripties packages, your NPDS server will still be using SSI to customize the visitor's experience.

The Script Editor and the Scripties packages merely add functionality and allow you the opportunity to beefy up your NPDS server. Since the SSI functions are well documented on Matt Vaugh's NPDS page I will not go into much more detail here. Check out the page above for answers to your SSI questions, as well as AA Magazine, Matt's online magazine devoted to NPDS (you can get to it from the NPDS page above). The AA Magazine in particular has a wealth of knowledge about scripting your NPDS server.

Perhaps my favorite built-in SSI is the Insult generator, which I showcase on its own page, as well as throughout the server. Thou craven, clay-brained dewberry


I hope this page has been useful to those of you out there who are considering running a NPDS server, for those of you already running one and looking for more functionality, and for those of you interested in those strange individuals running powerful web servers from their handheld computers. Please let me know via a post or an email whether there is any more information you would like to see here or any clarification to the information above.

Created: Thu, 17 May 2001 05:06:00 GMT
Modified: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 19:34:00 GMT