Plans for cello MS-Windows client

Thomas R. Bruce (
Mon, 12 Apr 1993 12:10:05 -0400


A considerable degree of mystery has surrounded the development of the
Cello Windows browser. Here's some information - and a kind-of,
sort-of schedule - which I hope will help some of you who have been
curious about it.


As presently constructed, Cello works directly as a WWW, gopher, FTP,
and Telnet client in much the same way as XMosaic does. The terminal
emulation for the Telnet client is, for the moment, restricted to ANSI
emulation, but this will either be improved to support more
sophisticated features in future or else hooks will be added to permit
you to run your own Windows Telnet.

Tagset support includes all of the current WWW tags excepting more
nebulous, contemplated tags like <BLOCKQUOTE>. Text attribute tags
(<STRONG>, <B>, <I>, <U>, etc are supported). <OL> is supported.
Diacritical and national characters are not supported, but will be
soon up to the limits of the Windows ANSI character set.

Gopher+ is not currently supported but will be in a future version.

NNTP support is in development.

In addition, Cello supports post-processing of any and all files for
which the user configures an association-by-filename-extension in the
WIN.INI file. For all practical purposes, this means that out-of-line
viewing of graphics files and out-of-line listening to audio files are
currently supported provided that 1) the user has an appropriate app
installed for the file-extension as given in the URL and 2)the URL
uses a file:// scheme. (For example, I can't get at Marc's Internet
Talk Radio files; the http:// access scheme in their URL's causes
Cello to assume that they're in HTML format -- is this a bad thing?
should I have a way of handling this?).
I can play .au files, though.

This last gets a little tricky in terms of .Z and .zip and the
handling of other compressed files. Cello is not too bright about
handling these -- it happily will decompress them, and then has no
idea what to display. How are others handling this?

I also hope to develop a URL scheme and code for handling DDE and OLE
linking by the time of the first release. Anyone have any suggestions
about what the URL for such things ought to look like?

Internals (library):

At present Cello uses very little of the WWW common library. This is
in part a product of the difficulty of porting into the Windows
environment, and in part a product of my laziness in understanding the
common code architecture. This can and probably will change in future
versions, with NNTP support as a 'trial balloon' in that direction.

The GUI internals are about half Windows-API-direct and half Borland
ObjectWindows. Coding is C++. No release of source code is


At present Cello uses a commercial TCP/IP stack from the Distinct
Corporation. The coding from my end will be converted to Winsock
compliance prior to beta release, but I am cynical about what 'Winsock
compliance' means at this stage. For that and a few other reasons we
will obtain an unlimited runtime license from Distinct which will
permit us to distribute their stack to academic institutions at no
cost to the end user for one year. After that, we'll see. The
Distinct package does offer some useful features, such as SLIP and PPP
support and dialling, which we would like to keep around.


So far as progress and dates are concerned, here's the plan:

As matters stand:

-- NNTP is not yet implemented, and will be prior to beta release.
-- Terminal emulation is in the process of being cleaned up.
-- HTML is stable -- at least until the next round of improvements is
put in .
-- I have about 3,412,345 minor user interface changes/improvements to

All this argues for a limited beta release around 1 May, with general
availability around 1 June and something stable enough to call a
'version' by July 15.

Overarching concerns:

The LII is a garage shop primarily interested in the distribution of
law-related information over the Web. We are not a full-blown
software shop...and for that reason some of this probably will seem a
bit fluky/nebulous to a number of you. Dates will probably slip, and
some features will be slow in coming....and I'm afraid it's the best I
can do for all of you who have already shown interest in a 'vaporware'
product. Do keep those cards and letters coming -- I need feedback
and suggestion on features and implementation (though some things may
not happen right away). We could also use money (grin).



| Thomas R. Bruce |
| Research Associate |
| Cornell Law School Voice: 607-255-1221 |
| Myron Taylor Hall FAX: 607-255-7193 |
| Ithaca, NY 14853 |