EICSTES DELIVERABLE D1.2 PROJECT WEBSERVER

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EICSTES DELIVERABLE D1.2

PROJECT WEBSERVER

Isidro F. Aguillo, José A. Prieto

CINDOC-CSIC

{isidro,joseaprieto}@cindoc.csic.es

CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Objectives 3. Methods

3.1. Phase 1. Static pages 3.2. Database-driven pages 4. Tools

4.1. Hardware

4.2. Software

5. Results

6. Navigation operation (Help) 7. Future improvements

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1. INTRODUCTION

EICSTES (European Indicators, Cyberspace and the Science-Technology-Economy System, IST-1999-20350) is a European project aiming to show the advances of the European R&D system through Internet. Such a project, focused on the new information technologies, would not be possible without an active presence in the WWW.

Internet has made possible to share information, which otherwise would be impossible in an activity like ours, which combine seven institutions from six countries. All efforts are oriented to the same result: to study the web from the web itself.

The www.eicstes.org site intends to be instrumental in order to disseminate the results achieved by the various partners. The Net is the best resource to act as a showcase for the project. This was the actual reason behind the creation of this website.

The present report intends to clarify the inception of this small, but ambitious site, as well as its future development. So, it will be possible to better understand the efforts and the intentions of all those who have taken part in the project.

2. OBJECTIVES

The main objective of the website is provide a channel for the dissemination of the results of the project, namely the data obtained from automatic web capture using agent technology, in order to describe the EU R&D public system, consisting of over 20.000 publicly available websites (institutional locations), the statistical databases with the complex, large and multidimensional information obtained, that involves more than 10 millions site links and the results of the new economy analysis involving information sources other than the Internet itself.

The UE R&D public system has been divided into three different parts: Universities

R&D Institutes Hospitals Libraries R&D Public Sector

Other Bodies Profit

R&D Private Sector

Non Profit Portals Directories Virtual Libraries Reference Resources Databases

A different type of page has been created for each section. Up to now, only the part corresponding to the universities is available.

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3. METHODS

To describe the methodology used in the website creation, two different phases have to be distinguish, according to the use of databases:

3.1. Phase 1. Static pages

To begin with the project, we need to have a showcase of EICSTES in the Net. We gave priority to the graphic part, before data incorporation. This phase served to establish the base for the further development of the project in the Net.

No connections with databases were used: only texts taken from HTML pages and JavaScripts.

Development: Design of EICSTES logo.

The starting colours were blue and golden, as in the UE flag. No images were included, as the project subject, as well as its acronym, was difficult to represent.

Site organisation and structure. Homepage Description • Summary • Consortium • Benefits Workplan • Workplan • Workpackage 1 to 10 Results • News • EU Statistics • Publications • Software • Surveys Resources • Documents • EU Links • Related Sites Internal Forum Auxiliary Pages • Search • Map

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• Disclaimer Limitations

- No frames are used - Java is not used

- Compatibility between IIE and NS - Screen optimised to 800x600 pixels Developing the homepage

As the size should not exceed a single page, the composition and contents of the homepage was considerably reduced. We decided to include a banner showing the logo, with the acronyms developed, as well as the indication of the page where we are. It was also advisable to show a series of news, and so a vertical scroll was added to show messages.

To include all logos of partners and contributors was a real problem, which was solved by including an animated gif with all those images, thus obviating the lack of space in the homepage.

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Menus and navigation

See below, under the item NAVIGATION AID >Static part Developing buttons, bars and banners

This is a part of the graphic design. As we had an established logo and a homepage, we needed some decorative elements to complete the pages and to give a sense of consistency during navigation through the site. All pages should have the same structure and be personalised by a banner, to indicate their contents. The buttons should be consistent with the selected colours and logo.

Creation of initial pages (Description and Workplan)

Description and Workplan are the parts now finalised. They contained information on the European project, its planning, members and benefits.

Implementation of results >EU Statistics

It contains the UE R&D system. The part that relates to universities is the most developed one. The actions undertaken have been:

- Generation of maps for pop-ups of each country - Tables with overall information for each country on:

- General - R&D - Internet

- Tables in HTML with data on the universities: - NUTS

- Name of the University in: - Original language - English

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- Spanish - URL

- Number of sites - Number of pages

Upload of EICSTES server

The machine used in this phase of the project was SUN UltraSPARC under Solaris, and the server NETRA (Netscape Enterprise Server).

3.2. Phase 2. Database driven pages.

Collection of data to be showed on EICSTES is made through databases in MS Access 2000. One database is created for each country. In this phase, the databases should be connected with the HTML pages, using a command sequence language, ASP3 (Active Server Pages). This technology was selected due to its easy implementation on a Microsoft server, as IIS 5.0 (Internet Information Server), with OS Windows 2000 Server, which is the new server to replace the old SUN.

The possibilities allowed by this technology improve dramatically the capacity of the traditional HTML. Active web pages are achieved, which change according to their contents.

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Development: Updating the databases

Databases corresponding to the various countries have to be slightly changed, in order to use them directly in the dynamic ASP pages. For instance, the URL type fields in Access are a burden and so they have been changed in text type fields. Within the names of tables and fields, spaces have been eliminated. Ancillary tables have been created to store the totals showed on the pages. These and other changes make the conversion and use of Access databases easier.

In addition, generic SQL enquiries have been created, to be implemented on ASP3, so providing the record sets which appear on the tables of the new dynamic EICSTES site. Preparation of model pages

First of all, a model is prepared and the consistency of databases for a given country is tested (the country selected was the Netherlands, with middle size databases), as the programming is rather similar in all countries. Other improvements are introduced on the initial structure and design. In our case, we include the possibility of ranking data according to different criteria.

The design of the ASP pages maintains the layout of the old site. Changes were considered inadvisable, in order to keep the style and not to induce old users to confusion.

Development of other countries

Once a given country is fully operational on ASP3, the same work can be made for each UE member country.

Uploading the EICSTES server

When all ASP pages have been finalised, the old site will be totally replaced by the new EICSTES. This phase is far from easy, because the ASP technology does not operate with SUN UltraSPARC machine under Solaris and the NETRA server. This problem was considered in due time, and we selected a PC with OS Windows 2000 Server and IIS 5.0 as server. This change has an impact on the Webmaster functions, as regards redirecting e-mail, management and control of the website.

4. TOOLS 4.1. Hardware

• SUN UltraSPARC, 256 Mb RAM.

• PC AMD Athlon 1,400 Mhz, 768 Mb RAM. 4.2. Software

• SW Server SUN

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Server: NETRA 3.1 (Netscape Entrepise Server).

• SW Server PC

OS: MS Windows 2000 Server

Server: IIS 5.0 (Internet Information Server)

• Graphic Design

Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Adobe Image Ready 2.0

• Development Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0 Macromedia Ultradev 4.0 • Databases MS Access 2000 5. RESULTS

The European EICSTES project will have a dynamic site on Internet, where the results of the study on the UE R&D system will be showed, within the item “EU Statistics” of the heading “Results”. Using databases will make access and dissemination of information easier, and will improve the capacity to show this detailed information to the users and the partners of the project. Up to now, only data from public universities are available. The rest of the site is void, waiting for the development of other headings of EICSTES.

In practice, information from each country will be contained in 3 ASP and 1 HTML pages, which shall be used for various purposes (those points which coincide with the old site shall not be explained).

1. country.asp (Country level)

National information on public universities showed through NUTs. The possibility of ranking results according to other criteria is also provided. The records on the tables correspond to universities as main institutions. They indicate:

• NUTS

• Name of the university, in:

• Spanish

• English

• Original language

• URL

• Totals:

• Homepages (total number of universities in the country)

• Sites

• Pages

• Links

• Objects

2. popup_country.htm (NUTS level)

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• With the map of the country and codes of every NUT

• Lists of the codes and development of all NUTs.

3. country_nut.asp (NUTs level)

As in country.asp, but here only the main institutions of the selected NUTS are showed. Therefore, the total by NUTS does not appear, i.e. the point Homepages from the page country.asp.

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4. country_extended.asp (University level)

The development of the sites of each main institution. Same data as in other pages are showed, except: • Totals: • Pages • Links • Objects 6. NAVIGATION OPERATION

This heading is divided in two parts, according to the use of database connection or not.

STATIC PART

It contains HTML pages only and corresponds to the whole EICSTES site, except “EU Statistics” from “Results”.

An important question in any site is the navigation system. It should be user friendly, through easy and intuitive menus. Four different types are used in EICSTES:

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The main aim, as already mentioned, is to show the UE R&D public system. So, the access is by countries and, within each country, by sections. Best way is by means of a cascading popdown menu, made with Javascript. The list of UE member countries is obtained from the first menu, and then two options are possible: either to go to the selected country or to access the second menu and select a given section.

b) Left menu

Through it, we can move within the site structure efficiently. Each element calls to other submenu, where it is fully developed. Operation is made with a Javascript that shows and hides layers with every submenu. It is repeated in each page.

c) Navigation menu

It appears in every page and includes:

• Link to homepage

• Sequential route forwards and backwards

• Link to go to the beginning of the present page

• Link to ancillary pages:

• Aid

• Map

• Disclaimer

• Date of last updating

• Links to coordination organisation

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• CSIC (www.csic.es)

• Link to EICSTES e-mail: eicstes@cindoc.csic.es

d) Banner

It shows the contents of the page where we are, and acts as a guide for navigation. It includes the programme logo and its development, as well as the name of the page with a common background. The possibility of not to repeat the background was also considered, but it was considerably time-consuming. The best idea was to prepare a background with a neutral subject and, therefore, a distorted UE flag was used.

DYNAMIC PART

It is specifically the item “UE Statistics” from “Results”, and contains ASP and HTML pages. To explain this type of pages we show an example about navigation in the new EICSTES site with dynamical information. There are four pages in each country:

netherlands.asp Country Level popup_netherlands.htm NUTS Level

netherlands_nut.asp NUTS Level netherlands_extended.asp University Level

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This figure describes the relationship among links. Arrows show origin and web pages destination of the hyperlinks for each country:

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7. FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS

There are various improvements to be introduced. Most important one is, certainly, to implement all fields of the project, i.e. the whole UE R&D public sector, besides the universities; the R&D private sector; and Reference Resources.

The site elements, which are under construction, should also be filled: Results (except UE Statistics), Resources and Internal Forum.

In ASP pages, we should try to downgrade the level, by creating pages for each site, so that more and more detailed data could be showed.

The overall information for each country (General, R&D and Internet) should be transferred to databases. In this way, the recorded information is broadened and it will be possible to exploit statistically those data within the project.

The pages layout should be changed, in order to make a better use of the space available. Menus should be redesigned to show better the new approach of the site with its dynamic contents.

Figure

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References

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