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Intranets Unleashed

David Garrett, et. al.


C  O  N  T  E  N  T  S


Introduction


Chapter 1   Harnessing the Power: Intranet Defined

Chapter 2   What Can You Do?: The Intranet in Action

Chapter 3   Intranets Versus Traditional Groupware

Chapter 4   Client/Server Basics and Theory

Chapter 5   An Intranet Shopping List

Chapter 6   Servers: Hardware Needs

Chapter 7   Servers: Operating Systems

Chapter 8   Server Software

Chapter 9   Strating with the Server

Chapter 10   Connectivity: Opening Up Your LAN

Chapter 11   Wide Area Networks

Chapter 12   Selecting an Internet Service Provider

Chapter 13   Client Issues

Chapter 14   Security: Keeping Hackers Out

Chapter 15   Security: Access Control

Chapter 16   Security: Secure Internet Data Transmission

Chapter 17   Training the Users

Chapter 18   Intranet Administration: A Critical Function

Chapter 19   Browsers: Viewing Corporate Information with HTML

Chapter 20   Authoring Tools

Chapter 21   Creating a Dynamic Site

Chapter 22   Creating a Functional Site

Chapter 23   PDF Presentations

Chapter 24   SGML Presentations

Chapter 25   Audio Presentations

Chapter 26   Video Presentations

Chapter 27   FTP: Sharing Files

Chapter 28   Using Databases

Chapter 29   Telnet: Direct Access

Chapter 30   E-Mail: The Basic Model

Chapter 31   Internet Chat Tools: An Intermediate Model

Chapter 32   Internet Phones: The Advanced Model

Chapter 33   CU-SeeMe: The Nest Wave

Chapter 34   Intranet Tools

Chapter 35   Creating Real-World Applications

Chapter 36   Group Scheduling

Chapter 37   Message Boards

Chapter 38   Contact Databases

Chapter 39   Alert messaging and Real-Time Chat

Chapter 40   News Feeds

Chapter 41   Group Document Creation and Editing

Chapter 42   Private Messaging Areas

Chapter 43   Document Submission

Chapter 44   Search Functions

Chapter 45   Help Desk

Chapter 46   Reference Desk

Chapter 47   Integrating Existing Applications

Chapter 48   Maintaining a User Database

Chapter 49   Designing a Successful File Structure

Chapter 50   Maintaining Security

Chapter 51   Hardware and Software Upgrades

Chapter 52   Managing and Planning for Large Web Projects

Chapter 53   The Future of Intranets

  Resource Guide

Glossary

Credits


Copyright © 1996 by IntraACTIVE, Inc.

FIRST EDITION

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Acknowledgments

As anyone who has written a 900-page book in three months can tell you, this cannot be done by one person. Unless, of course, that person is my editor, Marcia Eldredge (bigedit@intraactive.com). Only her careful mix of charming wit and iron will could have poked, prodded, goaded, threatened, and somehow pried the necessary prose from the almost two dozen monumentally busy authors associated with this book. Miraculously, she was also able to take the unintelligible, jargon-laden techno-babble of geeks like me and turn it into a concise, understandable book. I owe her my undying gratitude.

I also owe a great debt to the many people who endured long hours and unending frustration to bring this project to fruition. Cara Gerard, Brienna Pirelli, Jane Tobler, Sarah Case, Peter Kastor, Julia Stitely, and Joan C. Szabo all deserve much credit for this book's being published in a timely manner. Also, many thanks to my agent, Amy Meo, and to Grace Buechlein, Gayle Johnson, and Brian-Kent Proffitt at Sams.net Publishing, without whom this project would not have gotten off the ground.

Last but not least, the talented authors who braved Marcia's wrath and the "Doorstop Curse" for this project have earned my eternal respect. Anne Marie Yerks and Frank Pappas especially performed over and above the call of duty, helping me finish many of my chapters in the last third of the book. Among the misfortunes to befall the authors of this book were: a broken arm, mononucleosis, fainting spells, heatstroke, pneumonia, hard disk failure, a hurricane, and unending connectivity problems. Not to mention the fact that most of the authors are among the best in their fields and are in constant demand to perform what they like to call "real work" (which also can be accurately defined as "paying work"). To those on my staff as well as those at other organizations, I wish you all the best.


About the Authors

David Garrett (dave@intraactive.com) is a founder and the vice president of technology at IntraACTIVE, Inc. (www.intraactive.com), a Washington, DC-based firm specializing in Internet and intranet consulting, design, and services. He leads the development of advanced technology for the company and is the driving force behind its InTandem software. He is also a frequent speaker and author on the subject of Internet and intranet technology and theory. Garrett crashed his first computer at age 14, writing a BASIC program that was simply too much for his Commodore 64 to handle. While at Michigan State University, he interned at Shearson Lehman Bros., where he wrote account management and analysis software. After college, he began a career as a financial consultant and futures trader at Shearson and Paine Webber. In 1990 he left to start a succession of computer and communications technology ventures, including a dial-up bulletin board system for employment information. He is now proficient in most data communications protocols and familiar with several programming languages, including C, C++, Java, Perl, and PL/SQL. He is also an expert LAN/WAN integrator and administrator. He became interested in TCP/IP and Internet technology in early 1994, during a brief stint writing the EnviroNews Daily Bulletin for the EnviroLink Network, one of the first organizations to provide information on the World Wide Web. Teaming up with Jack Hidary of EarthWeb, Inc. (www.earthweb.com), Cliff Majersik, and Josh Becker, he started IntraACTIVE, Inc. in November of 1994. The company has since built some of the most innovative Internet and intranet Web sites in the world. Garrett has helped hundreds of companies use technology to communicate, share information, and promote better workflow in more efficient and cost-effective ways. His plans for the future include building software to help organizations integrate internal networks with their Internet presence.

Jerry Ablan (munster@mcs.net) is best described as a computer nut. Involved in computers since 1982, he has worked on and owned a variety of microcomputers, including several that are no longer manufactured. He is currently employed by the Chicago Board Options Exchange as a software engineer. In his spare time, he operates NetGeeks (http://www.netgeeks.com), an Internet consulting firm in Chicago. He is the author of Developing Intranet Applications with Java and a coauthor of Web Site Administrator's Survival Guide, both from Sams.net Publishing. He is a contributing author for Que's Special Edition Using Java.

Eric Ashman (eric@intraactive.com) is an Internet systems engineer specializing in UNIX World Wide Web server management, CGI scripting, dynamic Web database development, and general Internet business and development consulting. After working as a Novell NetWare administrator for three years, he began working on the Internet in 1993, setting up Linux servers as Internet hosts. In June of 1995, Ashman began working for Discovery Channel Online, the Web site by Discovery Communications. He also serves as a systems administrator for IntraACTIVE, Inc. Ashman received his bachelor of science degree in audio technology from American University in 1994 and his master of science in computer information systems from American University in 1996.

Matthew J. Baird (baird@intraactive.com) is a freelance software engineer whose specialty is the development of Internet and intranet systems for organizations across the United States and Canada. Baird earned his degree in computer science from Queens University at Kingston, and he has since relocated to the Washington, DC area to explore new and exciting opportunities in the information systems field. He is currently developing new intranet technologies with IntraACTIVE, Inc. A specialist in the design and development of Web-based client/server applications as well as database-to-Web interfaces, Baird has developed many commercial applications for clients in a wide range of industries. With an in-depth background in the DOS, Windows, and UNIX environments, he has had the opportunity to work extensively with many of the cutting-edge technologies that are the cornerstones of today's intranets, including CGI, API programming, C/C++, SQL, Windows NT, client/server development with Wayfarer QuickServer, and WAN/LAN systems and integration.

Josh Becker (josh@intraactive.com) is one of the founders of IntraACTIVE, Inc. He has extensive experience with Internet companies and nonprofit organizations. He currently is setting up the West Coast office and leading business development efforts for EarthWeb LLC (www.earthweb.com), and he remains an advisor for IntraACTIVE. Becker, who is completing his M.B.A. and J.D. degrees at Stanford, has also served as the managing director of ReliefNet, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the online community with information about relief crises and organizations. Previously, he worked in consulting, starting with ICF International, an environmental consulting and engineering company, and in public relations, serving as the press secretary for a U.S. Congresswoman and numerous Democratic candidates, where he pioneered the use of the Internet for reaching voters.

Matthew Benson (mbenson@bivwood.com), a senior associate at Bivings Woodell, Inc., is responsible for managing the firm's Internet practice. In this capacity, he works closely with technical, scientific, and executive-level clients to develop and manage customized intranet applications. He applies years of experience in the political and legislative arenas to his current position, enabling him to adapt Internet technology to clients' communications needs.

F. Gary Bivings (fgb@bivwood.com) is cofounder of Bivings Woodell, Inc., a Washington, DC-based consulting firm specializing in controversy management and recognized for its pioneering application of Web technology to complex issues resolution. He is the architect of the firm's Internet practice as it relates to multinational industrial and financial services clients. He has a master's degree from Harvard University and has extensive experience in introducing and managing intranets in highly sensitive political and organizational situations in which rapid, confidential information exchange is critical.

Sweth Chandramouli (sweth@bivwood.com) is an associate at Bivings Woodell, Inc. He is a key member of the firm's technical team, with responsibility for working closely with client administrators and users. A skilled Web technologist, he oversees content development and software applications for client usage.

Jobe Doody (jobe@intraactive.com) came on board with IntraACTIVE, Inc. in August of 1995 doing freelance graphics design for InTandem. Later that November, he joined the ranks of full-time staff as a multimedia designer. Since November, his projects have included the World Wildlife Fund, BKR International, DFK International, NISH, For Your Safety, and The McGuffey Project Web sites. The company's Macintosh enthusiast, he is currently exploring new and current Web technologies and interface design for IntraACTIVE's public sites and InTandem groupware software. In addition to his responsibilities at IntraACTIVE, he is a lab advisor at American University's New Media Center, where he is active in hardware and software support, installations, and multimedia design. He also serves on the university's software selection committee. Prior to IntraACTIVE, his employment affiliations included Quantum Research Corporation and American University's Computing Center. At QRC he performed technical support, system administration, and Web design projects that included the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Institutes of Health, and the Smithsonian Institution.

>Nikki Goth (nikki@herring.com) is an editor at The Red Herring, a San Francisco-based monthly publication that covers technology and the entertainment business. She has been with The Red Herring for about a year, writing about private and public companies in various technology sectors, including Web content and Internet software tools. She has previous work experience in the securities industry at Donaldson, Lufkin, & Jenrette in San Francisco. She completed a B.A. in political economy and German studies at Williams College in Massachusetts.

Steve Greenberg (slgreen@leland.stanford.edu) received his engineering degree and M.B.A. in finance from Cornell University and is currently pursuing his J.D. at Stanford Law School. After a brief position in IBM's Westchester sales group, he served as vice president of a private equity group, where he was responsible for managing acquisitions, strategic alliances, and business development in a variety of industries. Greenberg has also headed his own consulting firm. Most recently, he has worked in the legal, finance, and business development groups at Madge Networks, a provider of LAN and WAN products. He is currently studying the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and its effect on various new technologies, including Internet telephony and video-conferencing.

Matthew J. Handy (handy@intraactive.com) is an independent software engineer specializing in the development of Internet and intranet systems for corporations throughout the United States and Canada. He graduated from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario with a B.S. in computing and information science. He subsequently worked with a number of high-profile organizations to create powerful and effective solutions using many disparate technologies, including object-oriented software design and development in C++ and Java, client/server development with Wayfarer QuickServer, WAN/LAN systems and integration, Windows NT, and Lotus Notes. He is currently developing new intranet technologies at IntraACTIVE, Inc. Prior to escaping the frozen north for a better life in the States, Handy spent countless hours helping the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan develop and implement a wide array of financial systems. He also served as a project coordinator at IBM-Canada, and he has started a software development and consulting firm (Handy Computer Consulting). Working as an independent consultant in the mid-Atlantic region, he has helped a number of companies and organizations, such as the American Institutes for Research and Wavelength Technologies, maximize the potential of today's available information technology.

Hal Herzog (hal@intraactive.com) has acquired most of his computer expertise through self-instruction. He is currently employed as an Internet consultant at IntraACTIVE, Inc., where his work includes HTML programming and Web site creation. He has been responsible for the design and redesign of IntraACTIVE's InTandem intranet software. He is proficient in a wide range of software packages, including Slirp 1.0c, RealAudio, Oracle 7, Java, Web Edit Pro 2.0, FrontPage 1.1, PhotoShop 3.0.5., Visual Basic 4.0, and Truespace 2.0.

Paul Itoi (itoi@start.net) is founder and managing director of SWAN Internet Services, which develops intranet content and functionality. Most recently, he designed and implemented an intranet site to aid technical support at Genentech, Inc. of San Francisco.

Art Klein (aklein@id1.com) has been in the information systems arena for over six years. He has been involved in application development, software optimization, and systems and network management for a variety of firms in many different markets. Most of his recent work has been with financial services institutions. He has worked on a variety of systems, ranging from CRAY supercomputers to PCs and Macintoshes. He holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He currently is a senior systems programmer in a large West Coast financial services firm.

Edmund Landgraf (elandgra@aol.com) is a senior technical consultant for SuperNova Consulting of Manassas, Virginia. His skills include data modeling, front-end development, middleware implementation, data warehousing, data mining, three-tier client/server architecture, intranet deployment, decision support, enterprise information systems, and relational and object-oriented databases. In addition, he holds Microsoft certifications for Windows, Windows NT, and SQL Server, and he has explored Microsoft's Internet Information Server running on NT with data feeds from SQL Server to ActiveX controls. He coauthored a paper published at Client/Server West Exposition (1994) in San Jose on a phased-implementation methodology to integrate distributed and replicated databases. His research interests include secure electronic commerce, object-relational databases, and reusable middleware components. Landgraf has worked in an extensive number of business areas, including health care, telecommunications, large-scale manufacturing (Fortune 10), education, food management, financial services, banking, and professional consulting. Most recently, he has worked to help a company specializing in health care information design a system architecture that would create custom client databases out of a large data warehouse. He was the lead database architect for a custom 4GL-based application that handled large amounts of data, from 100 to 600MB, and that included over 350 entity relationships. Landgraf had previously worked for American Management Systems, Inc. of Fairfax, Virginia. He has a B.S. in computer science engineering from Cornell University.

Cliff Majersik (cliff@intraactive.com, www.intraactive.com) is the president, CEO, and a founder of IntraACTIVE, Inc., a full-service intranet solutions provider, Web developer, and consulting firm. He has overseen development of IntraACTIVE's InTandem intranet software and helped design numerous intranets and Web sites. He frequently writes, teaches, and speaks on applications of Internet and intranet technology. His first programming experience was on an Atari 400 15 years ago. Prior to founding IntraACTIVE, Majersik worked for National Strategies, Inc., a Washington, DC political consulting firm that specializes in communications and environmental issues. While there, he worked on behalf of several trade associations. Majersik lives in Washington, DC and is a graduate of Williams College.

Mike Mazan (mmazan@theserver.com) has significant experience with servers and operating systems. He has been involved in server projects covering almost every server architecture and type over the last 16 years. His clients have included government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, associations, labor unions, and many small businesses. Currently, Mazan is president and CEO of The Server Company, Inc. in Reston, Virginia. TSC was founded by Mazan in 1994 as a company providing specialized servers to industry and government. TSC growth has been driven by providing state-of-the-art server systems preconfigured as specific application servers. These servers build ready-to-run applications, including Internet and intranet Web sites, Lotus Notes, and Microsoft Exchange, Telephone, Imaging, Fax, and Accounting. Mazan has founded a number of other technology companies over the past 16 years, including Chesapeake Technology Group, Inc. CTG provides technology consulting in groupware and messaging. Mazan continues to provide ongoing technology consulting to long-term clients via CTG.

Jim Noland (jnoland@criticom.com) has significant experience in PC, Macintosh, and UNIX construction and networking. His networking experience includes software support, systems administration, and network design and architecture using computer-aided design applications. Specifically, his work experience includes 10 years with RF broadband systems data and video network design installation and maintenance for various organizations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Air Force 7th Comm Group Pentagon, Information Systems Command-Pentagon, and Intermedia Cable Network. In addition, he has seven years of experience with networking systems administration of Torus, Windows, TCP/IP, NetWare, and OSI. He has provided technical support and LAN administration for DigiCon Corporation, Information Systems & Networks, CritiCom, Inc., and Deputy Chief of Staff/Operations and Planning, U.S. Army. He has extensive experience in systems integration of many networking technologies. Noland also has extensive knowledge of ISDN, T-1, frame relay, broadband, and other wide-area network services. He currently provides supervisory-level management and overall project management for network installations and integrations for a diverse list of clients. He has received and given numerous training classes in computers, networking technologies, systems administration, and broadband technologies and applications.

Frank C. Pappas (fcpappas@aol.com) is a freelance consultant and author who specializes in the development of user interface, content, and management solutions for Internet-based systems and corporate intranets. He graduated with degrees in political science and Spanish language and literature from George Washington University in Washington, DC. He has worked with federal agencies and private organizations to integrate modern technology into established systems in order to enhance productivity and information distribution. Since leaving behind the fires, floods, and earthquakes of Southern California in late 1992, Pappas has assisted a number of organizations in the Washington, DC area and abroad in the exploration of the limits and potential of evolving Internet and computer technologies, including The American Institutes for Research, America OnLine, George Washington University, the U.S. House of Representatives, and Bush-Quayle '92. An accomplished author who writes on both technical and popular issues, his articles have appeared in a number of newspapers and other publications across the country, including the Glendale News-Press and The Commercial User's Guide to the Internet. Pappas is currently pursuing a master's degree in Latin American Studies at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.

Laura Sandage (laura@intraactive.com) is a multimedia consultant for IntraACTIVE, Inc. while she pursues an active interest in film and other visual media. She has also produced and written several short pieces, some of which aired on a PBS affiliate station, and another of which was used as a national training video for basketball players involved in the American Athletic Union. While in college, she became interested in multimedia computing as a computer lab advisor for American's law media center. Like other students, she found the Internet not only a source of communication, but also an excellent opportunity for an enjoyable career.

Richard Simon (simon@intraactive.com) is the director of networks and systems for IntraACTIVE, Inc. He has been performing user support and system administration for the last four years. His specialty had been PCs, but he's also added UNIX and Macs to his repertoire. He came to IntraACTIVE from the Software Productivity Consortium, where he was a systems analyst for PC and UNIX environments. Simon attended the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. He earned a B.A. from Williams College, and he now resides in Washington, DC.

Nova Spivack (nova@earthweb.com) is cofounder and executive vice president of new business at EarthWeb. He has more than 10 years of experience in the software and new media industries. At EarthWeb, he is responsible for fostering strategic alliances and partnerships and managing the company's marketing activities, strategic planning, and design of new technologies. Spivack plays a vital role in the development of Gamelan: The Directory for the Java community, which is endorsed by Sun Microsystems (www.gamelan.com). He was also instrumental in the development of the first Java-related online store, Gamelan Direct. Prior to EarthWeb, he was an editor/reviewer at Individual, Inc., where he produced daily industry intelligence reports for a number of Fortune 10 and Fortune 1000 clients. Spivack also acted as a consultant to Thinking Machines Corporation and Kurzweil Electronics in areas related to artificial intelligence, scientific visualization, parallel computing, multimedia, online help, user interface design, and distributed databases. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Oberlin College and a C.S.S. degree from the International Space University, a NASA-sponsored graduate and professional program.

Mary I. Woodell (miw@bivwood.com) is cofounder of Bivings Woodell, Inc., a Washington, DC-based consulting firm specializing in controversy management. She is a recognized expert in the organizational impact of emerging and mature technologies in highly regulated industries. She is the author of Guidelines for the Implementation of Process Safety Management, published in 1994 by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, as well as numerous technical and general-interest articles. She is a frequently cited commentator in the news media on the subjects of crisis management and risk communications.

Anne Marie Yerks (ayerks@intraactive.com) is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where she majored in writing and editing. She attended graduate school and taught English at George Mason University. Her work has been published in both local and national publications, including Southern Exposure, The Independent Weekly, Bust, and Pediatric Nursing. She now works as a writer and multimedia consultant at IntraACTIVE, Inc., and is in the process of developing a resource guide to intranets on the Web.


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Introduction

In March of 1995, while working with my friend Jack Hidary (now of EarthWeb, LLC), Cliff Majersik and I built an intranet for a large Washington DC-based trade association. It was one of the first intranets of its kind. It was only accessible via the Internet, it was totally password-protected, and it allowed members of the association to communicate and trade files among one another as well as view association documents. At the time, the word "intranet" had not been introduced. However, we certainly saw the benefit of creating resources for companies and organizations using this technology. After all, if Web technology was the best way to display and trade information on the world's largest computer network, wouldn't it be perfect for smaller networks? At that time we also were very interested in promoting open systems. Prior to this, while EarthWeb was focused on developing advanced Internet technologies and Java, Cliff and I had been busy building public Web sites, creating powerful intranet tools, and consulting for companies and organizations that were eager to unleash the power of intranets.

Nearly two years after we built that first intranet, we were still exploring how intranets could change the shape of work flow and communications within an organization. We were eager to show businesses how an intranet could form an internal business community that would allow companies and organizations to grow and prosper in the most efficient way that technology offered. During this time, we found that businesses mainly used the technology of the Internet for marketing and research purposes-and for good reason, as the Internet provided a unique avenue to reach both resources and consumers beyond the walls of the business.

But we wanted to equip businesses to use those same Internet technologies to form their own "internal Internets," or intranets. The potential we saw in building these "internal Internets" was so great that along the way we founded a company, now known as IntraACTIVE, Inc., to help organizations use this technology. As of this writing, IntraACTIVE has more than 25 employees and has developed a suite of intranet applications called InTandem (discussed in this book). In early 1996, we were contacted by Sams.net Publishing and agreed to write a comprehensive book on intranets that would explore every concept and technology that might find a home on a company's intranet. That comprehensive book is the one you're now reading.

At its most basic level, an intranet is a place to post employee handbooks and annual reports. At its most sophisticated level, an intranet provides platforms for real-time Web chat and video exchange across the network. In between, an intranet allows the integration of applications such as PDF presentations, group document creation and editing, and reference desks, as well as strategic communications and workflow applications. Regardless of the level of sophistication, however, intranets provide boundless solutions to the constant task of refining work flow and communication channels in an effort to make workplaces and workers more efficient.

The need to communicate internally and to know the customer will be as important in the future as it was when the first proprietor opened his door for business. Intranets will continue to increasingly fulfill this unwavering need. Intranets allow any business, regardless of its wares or size, to harness the intellectual expertise of all employees and make it available to any authorized audience, subsequently expanding the knowledge base of everyone involved in the business. Any successful businessperson knows that a smart business is a profitable business.

The power of intranets stems from the Internet itself, and it is in this power that intranets' success lies. In fact, it is the prevalence of the Internet and the overwhelming software and hardware applications that have sprung from its success and popularity that have spawned intranets and set the stage for their bright future. Yet inherent differences in geography separate the Internet from intranets. Like the once-untamed Wild West, there is no central authority and little organization on the Internet. Anyone with computer programming knowledge and $50 a month to pay for an Internet account can put up a Web page. With intranets, there typically is a hierarchy to organizing information and communications within a business. An intranet reflects such organization, whether it be from the more traditional vertical corporate hierarchy or from the newer team approach.

This book is designed to help you first understand and then seize the power of using and designing an intranet. The book offers its readers the range of possibilities and opportunities awaiting both the first-time builder and the administrator who is always looking for ways to enhance and/or tweak an existing intranet.


Who Should Read This Book

Intranets Unleashed deserves a place on the desktop of anyone who is contemplating (or delegated to) designing an intranet, anyone who is exploring their organization's newly created intranet for the first time, or anyone who considers himself or herself a "seasoned" intranet user who intently explores every turn of his or her business's intranet and eagerly awaits the expansion of additional functionality to the intranet. This book offers background, guidance, and value for any user interested in the many applications of an intranet, whether that user is the programmer or the systems administrator, the CEO or the customer service representative, the technophile or the reluctant user. It's written for people employed in any type of business-a corporation, small business, university, government agency, trade association.


What You'll Get

Our goal in writing this book was to offer every reader a full range of ideas as to what an intranet can offer, as well as how to go about taking advantage of that functionality. My hope is that after finishing this book, you will be able to envision every aspect of your future intranet, or the enhanced functionality or efficiency of your existing one. We also provide you with a road map to get you from the conceptual level to a fully operational intranet. Obviously we cannot provide you with every detail, but we do provide the material and background so that you can know what questions to ask and where to find the answers regarding intranets.

To help you grasp and apply the concepts and technologies discussed in this book, most chapters include sidebars of two fictional organizations. Through these organizations-an accounting firm and a membership association-we illustrate how the specific theories, applications, and systems that are discussed might be applied. (See the section in this Introduction titled "Helpful Sidebars: McKeon & Jeffries and the Sporting Goods and Apparel Association.")


How This Book Is Organized

This book has eight parts. In the first two chapters of Part I, Gary Bivings, Mary Woodell (both of the consulting firm Bivings Woodell), and I introduce the intranet from the perspective of where the Internet ends and the intranet begins. Then we discuss the various information resource uses of an intranet. In the second half of Part I, I examine the differences between intranets and traditional groupware. I then set the foundation for intranets with a detailed background of the client/server relationship.

Part II, "Building Your Intranet," begins with my intranet shopping list, a list of the basic ingredients you need in order to set up an intranet, such as server hardware and software and client hardware and software. In a later chapter I also offer a shopping list of client machines, discussing specific requirements for different intranets. In other chapters, Mike Mazan of The Server Company and Eric Ashman of Ashman Consulting discuss servers in depth, examining the hardware, operating system, and software needs. Richard Simon of IntraACTIVE offers a detailed plan for setting up a server. Jim Noland of CapitolNet spends three chapters discussing the topic of connectivity. Richard Simon and Jerry Ablan, a software engineer with the Chicago Board Options Exchange, then examine security from all sides, including keeping hackers out of an intranet, protecting data storage, and securing data transmissions. Finally, Matthew Benson and Sweth Chandramouli of Bivings Woodell share their insights on training intranet users and administrators.

Part III is called "Using Your Intranet: Business Applications." Hal Herzog of IntraACTIVE begins this part of the book with chapters on browsers and authoring tools. Matthew Handy and Matthew Baird, also of IntraACTIVE, spend two chapters exploring the topics of creating dynamic sites and functional sites. Jobe Doody of IntraACTIVE discusses creating cross-platform presentations with PDF presentations, and Jim Miller of IntraACTIVE discusses SGML presentations. This part also highlights communications technology for the intranet. Anne Marie Yerks and Laura Sandage, both of IntraACTIVE, discuss audio presentations and video presentations, respectively.

In Part IV, "Using Your Intranet: Corporate Data," Art Klein takes readers through file transfer protocol and sharing files on an intranet. In another chapter, Art talks about the history and nature of Telnet and terminal connections and why they're used. Also in Part IV, Edmund Landgraf of IntraACTIVE and Frank C. Pappas of Interactive Applications Group, Inc., discuss the role of databases in intranets.

Part V, "Using Your Intranet: Communication," explores the four avenues of utilizing an intranet to communicate. This section begins with me discussing e-mail. Nikki Goth and Paul Itoi are the experts discussing WebChat and CU-SeeMe, while Steve Greenberg and Josh Becker of IntraACTIVE offer their expertise on Internet Phones.

Part VI, "Developing Intranet Applications," begins with Frank C. Pappas offering an in-depth examination of tools used to develop applications for intranets, while Matthew Benson and I explore creating real-world applications. Anne Marie Yerks, Cliff Majersik (president and CEO of IntraACTIVE), and I spend the next 11 chapters discussing actual intranet applications, beginning with group scheduling and finishing with reference desks.

In Part VII, "Administering Your Intranet," Edmund Landgraf begins with a discussion of integrating existing applications. In subsequent chapters Cliff Majersik and I offer insight into maintaining a user database, file structures, and security. Cliff rounds out Part VII with a look at hardware and software upgrades.

In Part VIII, the final section, Nova Spivack of EarthWeb discusses managing and planning large Web projects. Cliff Majersik and I then look at the future of the Internet and what's ahead for intranets from both a systems and a concept perspective.

Appendix A offers resources, such as Web addresses and information on the software, hardware, and other applications discussed in the book. We've also included a glossary to help you understand any unfamiliar terms you may encounter while reading this book.


Helpful Sidebars: McKeon & Jeffries and the Sporting Goods and Apparel Association

To help you understand and, in some cases, apply the concepts discussed in this book, most chapters include sidebars that follow the intranet development of two very different hypothetical organizations. The first is a medium-sized regional accounting firm, McKeon & Jeffries; the second is an international trade association, the Sporting Goods and Apparel Association. Hopefully, by following these organizations' intranet development from chapter to chapter, you will gain a unique first-hand understanding of how to develop and implement your own intranet. Additionally, these sidebars should help you immediately begin to apply-at least mentally-the information within each chapter to your own intranet. Although no two organizations are the same, and no two intranets are the same, we try to cover as many potential issues as possible. Keep in mind that while we have tried to provide as realistic a view as possible, we address more options and possibilities with each organization than most organizations will consider. Many intranets will not be as complex as the two we build throughout this book, but they certainly will be as effective and successful.

The first business is McKeon & Jeffries (M&J), a medium-sized accounting firm based in Philadelphia. The firm has 75 CPAs and 55 support staff in three offices: 95 are in the main office, 20 are in Washington, DC, and 15 are in Raleigh, North Carolina. The firm specializes in taxes and audits, so the CPAs spend much of their time on the road in clients' offices. The majority of the firm's client base is in the local areas that surround the three offices. The firm currently has about $19 million in revenues.

M&J is looking for an intranet to solve some of their information and communications problems. They want to exchange files, communicate via e-mail, and access client and research data via the intranet. They also need an avenue to carry on discussions among accountants in the three offices to avoid the expense of conference calls, training, and meetings. Additionally, the company wants its employees to have access to the system from the road or from home. M&J needs only cursory access to the Internet, mainly for e-mail and research. The firm someday wants to allow clients to browse its intranet in a limited fashion.

McKeon & Jeffries currently runs a Novell network in each of the three offices. The Philadelphia office is connected to the Washington, DC office via an ISDN line, but the Raleigh office is not connected to the other two offices. The Washington and Philadelphia LANs are accessible to one another. The Raleigh office currently uses interoffice e-mail. None of the offices has an Internet connection. Most of the accountants have 486 or Pentium processors, and many have laptops. The support staff mainly uses 386 processors, although some have 486 processors now. All of the machines are running Windows for Workgroups.

The technical staff consists of a partner with an interest in and some knowledge of the technology, and a systems administrator who is responsible for the networks in all three offices. The budget for the development is $45,000 for the first year. McKeon & Jeffries wants the intranet up and running in 60 days.

The second organization is the Sporting Goods and Apparel Association (SGAA), located in Washington, DC. The SGAA is a multinational organization of sporting goods manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. There are 150 member companies in 40 states, Canada, and Mexico. The members are very diverse, ranging from multimillion-dollar manufacturers to small mom-and-pop retailers.

The SGAA plans to use its intranet to facilitate communication and the exchange of information among members. It plans to discuss everything from political and regulatory issues to marketing and distribution. Additionally, it wants to use the technology to announce new products, provide technical and pricing information, discuss association issues, and share data among members. They are very interested in making information accessible at different levels, depending on the user. The SGAA's intranet will be accessible to its members via the Internet.

Like all companies, the members have various levels of technological proficiency. Some of the manufacturers have advanced computer networks, while some of the resellers don't even have a computer. The SGAA itself has 35 employees and is running a Windows 95 network. It also has several Macintosh machines that are used for desktop publishing.

The SGAA has hired a manager of information systems to develop the intranet, and it will rely on the expertise of the information managers of some of its larger members. The SGAA also has contracted with an Internet Service Provider to provide technical assistance with developing the more advanced software. The SGAA has budgeted $225,000 for developing its intranet in the first year, and it plans to have the intranet up in running within a year.


Conventions Used in This Book

This book uses the following conventions:

  • New terms appear in italic.
  • All code appears in monospace.
  • Placeholders in code (words that stand for what you actually type) appear in italic monospace.
  • When a line of code is too long to fit on only one line of this book, it is broken at a convenient place and continued to the next line. The continuation of the line is preceded by a code continuation character (Â). You should type a line of code that has this character as one long line without breaking it.

Conclusion

Welcome to the future of network computing! Building this intranet might be your first step toward using your computer as more than an expensive typewriter. Think about the possibilities-the cost savings, the efficiency, the flexibility you will enjoy when you implement this technology. Never again will you need to have your employee handbook printed hundreds of times whenever there is a change. Never again will you have to update the corporate directory every six months. Consider the possibilities of having your corporate data updated instantly by any employee, or of having research materials at your fingertips. Imagine looking up a phone number or another important piece of data while conducting business from out of the country or from a client or friend's computer. Picture yourself sitting on the beach, sipping a mango daiquiri while your work is done automatically as you get a really good tan. Well, okay, maybe an intranet can't do everything, but it sure would be an excuse to get that cool new computer you had your eye on! Have fun!

dave@intraactive.com




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