NetForms 2.5 User's Guide

Installing NetForms


NetForms is easily installed and configured; it's really just a matter of copying a handful of files into your Web server's root folder. Figure A shows the contents of the "NetForms" folder which includes 3 items that must be copied to your Web server root folder, including the NetForms.acgi application file and a folder full of examples to help get your NetForms Web server up and running.


Figure A: NetForms Installation Folder

To install NetForms just follow these steps:

  1. Open your Web server's root folder.

  2. Open the NetForms installation folder (shown above).

  3. Copy the following items into your Web server root folder:

  4. Launch your Web server application.

  5. Launch the copy of "NetForms.acgi" in your Web server root folder.
Once your Web server and NetForms are up and running on your computer, use your Web browser to open the following URL:

http://your.server.address/NFStart.html

Of course, you will have to replace "your.server.address" with the address of your server.

The NFStart page has a link to the on-line User's Guide, which includes complete information on installation and configuration of NetForms.

Note: While your Macintosh Web server will automatically start NetForms when it is needed, it is a good idea to manually start it yourself to take care of any potential start-up problems that might occur (insufficient RAM, incomplete installation, etc.).


NetForms Files

After you launch NetForms for the first time, a new folder, named "NetForms Files", is created in the same folder as the application. Auxiliary files and folders used by NetForms are created and stored in this folder.

Two binary files, named "UserTrack" and "RecentDocuments", are created and are not readable by any program other than NetForms. They are special files that NetForms uses to store information on user activity and recently accessed documents. If these files are deleted or absent, new files by the same names will be created automatically.

A file named "NetForms Preferences" is automatically created also. This file stores the configuration options selected in the "Misc. Configuration" dialog. Because it resides in the "NetForms Files" folder and not in the "Preferences" folder inside your System Folder, you can have multiple copies of NetForms.acgi running on the same server, each with its own set of configuration options. This is useful when running more than one web server on the same machine, as commonly occurs when running a secure Web server on the same machine as a standard server to provide secure communications.

Finally, NetForms creates two subfolders within the "NetForms Files" folder used to process email messages, named "NetForms Mail Queue" and "NetForms Failed Mail". Mail messages generated via the SENDMAIL directive are stored in the "NetForms Mail Queue" folder temporarily until they are sent. When errors occur, failed mail messages are moved to the "NetForms Failed Mail" folder.


Getting Started

Once your Web server and NetForms are up and running on your computer, use your Web browser to open the following URL:

http://your.server.address/NFStart.html

We'll talk more about configuring the NetForms application itself below in the section "Configuring Your Server," but if you have installed NetForms correctly the "NFStart.html" page will have links to the on-line User Guide and several example forms. Try a few of the examples to get a feel for how your users will be entering information into your system. Using and looking at the examples is the best way to learn NetForms and the fastest way to begin creating your own interactive Web systems.


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