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The Poor Man's Web Server


The BeOS comes with a spartan but functional personal web server, called PoorMan. It's great for serving up HTML pages with GIF and JPEG images, but it doesn't currently handle more dynamic features, like server-side includes or CGI scripts.

The Using Internet Services chapter of the BeOS User's Guide includes pretty good instructions for using PoorMan, but here's the One Minute Manager's guide to getting your pages on your local network, or on the Internet:

  1. Start PoorMan.

    You can launch PoorMan by choosing it from the apps submenu of the Be menu in the Deskbar, or by double-clicking it. PoorMan is located at /apps/PoorMan.

  2. Select your web documents folder.

    When PoorMan is launched the first time, it asks you to tell it the location of the folder containing your web documents. You can let it create the default folder, /home/public_html, or you can select a pre-existing folder. The easiest way to go is to just let PoorMan create the default folder, by clicking the Default button:

    PoorMan's Choose Folder dialog

  3. Put your first HTML document in your web documents folder.

    Create a simple HTML file, and name it "index.html". Put this file into your web documents folder:

    The Web Documents Folder

  4. View your first web page!

    To view your page, open NetPositive, choose Open Location... from the File menu, type "http://localhost" in the text box, and click the Open button:

    Visit Your Web Page

    Ta da! That's all there is to it!

  5. Check PoorMan's log.

    Prove to yourself (and your neighbors ;-) that you're serving the web page from the BeOS by checking out the PoorMan consol log:

    PoorMan's Consol Log

Now, that was pretty easy, wasn't it!

Of course, this isn't the whole story. You may need to know more about creating and editing HTML files, or how to connect your system to the Internet to become your neighborhood Web Expert. Read the Connecting to the Internet With BeOS chapter of the BeOS User's Guide for more networking info (including how to view your first page from systems other than your local machine), and check out a good HTML book to learn more about creating web pages (Be's Webmaster recommends the books by Laura Lemay).

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