WWW94: the phoenix project: distributed hypermedia authoring


presented by m.g. lavenant & j.a. kruper, university of chicago, USA

introduction

the biological sciences division of the university of chicago decided that they would like to setup an information system based on the web. but they felt that the current implementations of the WWW software had two significant limitations: the lack of an userfriendly cross-platform HTML editor and rudimentary wide-area authentication and authorization services. the goals of the phoenix project were to overcome these problems by providing an X-Windows based WYSIWYG HTML browser/editor and integrated wide-area authentication and authorization support for HTTP services.

a WYSIWYG HTML editor

the phoenix HTML editor was built around the tkWWW. it runs locally on UNIX systems and remotely on PCs and MACs via X-server software. while the editor allows direct access to HTML, it also provides a userfriendly interface to HTML constructs. the phoenix editor supports the currently implemented provisions of the proposed HTML+ specifications.

authentication

authentication is implemented using a dedicated division-wide Kerberos server. when a phoenix client is started, it prompts the user for a login password and obtains a so called "ticket" from the Kerberos server. when a client accesses a phoenix server, this ticket is used to authenticate the user. this mechanism allows to identify each access request without asking the user's password over and over again.

authorization

to support authorization on a document basis, the HTML+ specifications were extended by a so called "access control file". this is basically an URL pointing to a file that contains access control information. this allows easy access control for groups of documents because all documents that shall have the same access control settings can point to the same access control file.
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3rd_day_phoenix / 13-jun-94 (ra) / reto ambühler