HTML, XML, XML-RPC in one net app

Dave Winer dave at
Fri Feb 5 14:31:56 GMT 1999

We're getting close to releasing Frontier 6, and as part of that process we
created a demo app that's accessible thru HTML, XML and XML-RPC. The app is
now on the air, ready for you to check out and think about and possibly
learn from. 

***HTML interface

First, here's the HTML interface.

Please log on, get a password, create a message or two, became familiar
with how it works from a user's point of view. You'll definitely want to
have a couple of messages in your queue to try out the other examples.

***XML interface

Now, thru your web browser, visit these two pages:$1

There you go, dynamic XML. Now, what's it good for? Not much, because you
also want to be able to add a message or delete a message, and for that you
need to make a procedure call. 

***XML-RPC interface

The XML-RPC interface is documented on this page:

There are five procedures:

mailToTheFuture.addMessage (username, password, msgstruct)

mailToTheFuture.deleteMessage (username, password, n)

mailToTheFuture.getAllMessages (username, password)

mailToTheFuture.getMessage (username, password, msgnum)

mailToTheFuture.getMessageCount (username, password)

With these five procedures you can access all the functionality of the
server without coming in thru the HTML interface. 

***Next steps

We've already got XML-RPC clients running in the following environments:
Python, Perl, Java, Frontier, and are close to having a clean interface to
JavaScript running in the popular web browsers. Thru this interface,
applications can use the W3C DOM or other XML APIs to walk structures on
the MTTF server. 

We're working with a talented UI development team lead by Marc Canter, the
lead developer of Macromedia Director. To us it's a black-box, we've
provided wires into our server, and the designers have already figured out
how to hook in. We'll go back over their work when they're ready and create
a simple browser-based API for calling into our server, and optimize their
interface in the CMS running on the server. 

***Beyond Hello World

I know that many of you on this list weren't involved in the evolution of
system scripting on the Mac, but this is feeling a lot like that, this is a
simple demo app that's functional and interesting enough to motivate
applications, but simple enough so that it isn't a huge chore. We're beyond
the Hello World stage in the XML-RPC world.

***Crossing boundaries

And XML-RPC is now meeting one of its other objectives, it crosses platform
boundaries. We have XML-RPC servers running in Java, Python, Apache, Perl
and Frontier. We want XML-RPC to go everywhere, crossing not just technical
boundaries, but connecting the open source communities with commercial
developers and system integrators. 

The MTTF server can be cloned in all those environments, and as long as it
supports the same XML-RPC interfaces, you can swap a Windows NT server for
a Linux server, or vice versa. That may be the most revolutionary feature

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