Research: readthis


REmotely Accessible Database for Textfile HIerarchie"S"

Version 1.0

Chair of Computer Science III

Aachen University of Technology

What is readthis?
Essentially, readthis is a simple, Network Objects based server for hierarchies of text files.

What can it be used for?
All applications where different users from possibly different sites share a common repository of textual, structured information. Demo applications contained in the distribution are a very simple news/blackboard system called mininews and a problem management system called bugtrack.

What's the idea?
The hierarchy corresponds e.g. to news groups in the mininews example or to problem categories in bugtrack. A hierarchy level is called a group in readthis. The text files reside somewhere within the hierarchy, i.e. in a group, and correspond e.g. to individual news articles or problem reports. They are expected to have a structure expressed in "fields" (like Author and Subject for mininews or Originator, Description, and Severity for bugtrack) and corresponding values for these fields; they are therefore called records in readthis.

How does it work?
The core idea is very simple: the readthis server is passed a directory hierarchy on startup. The group hierarchy is directly derived from the directory hierarchy. In each subdirectory, a configuration file may be present which tells the server how the records in the corresponding group look like (what fields with what type), who may access the group, and what additional actions should be taken before/after a record is stored/retrieved.

readthis has been running so far with SRC's M3 3.6 and Reactor 4-1.1 on an UltraSPARC (SOLgnu). There are some things in the Ident, Mail, and, most noticeably, in Usignal2/SignalHandler modules which are OS/platform dependent and which have to adapted on other systems. If somebody goes to the bother of doing that, please let me know so I can put it in the distribution. For Solaris-2 users, I seriously recommend installing the "incorrect wait flags on Solaris-2" patch from SRC's Bugs and Patches page. Regular actions won't work properly without it. Other patches might be necessary; since I have installed all of them, I can't tell whether they are needed or not.

You want it? You can have it.
Via ftp from ftp://ftp-i3.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/pub/Modula-3-Contrib/readthis.

Your problems, suggestions, and remarks are welcome. Please send e-mail to the address above. If you want to improve the demos, or even write new applications with readthis, I would be glad to include them in the distribution.

readthis, its demo applications, and its utilities are free software; you can redistribute and/or modify them under the terms of the GNU Library General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This software is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Library General Public License for more details.

Created by: system last modification: Monday 29 of November, 2004 [14:10:15 UTC] by Sven