Archie Warnock (
Mon, 19 Jul 93 10:12:35 EDT

So Martijn Koster sez to me:
> I think I'm a bit confused about the current WAIS debate.
> In the above case you get URL's back. Unless you have a WWW browser they
> are no good, so I assume you are using a WWW browser to send the searches.
> Then where does the need for WAIS come in?

WAIS handles the searches, so your starting point in the web is a
document that's relevant to your topic of interest. It's easy to
implement already, and getting easier. If you're running a WAIS client,
you call an external viewer (like NCSA Mosaic) to display documents of
type URL (or HTML) - just as you'd use an external viewer to display a
document of type GIF or TIFF.

It's efficient because you don't have to retrieve an entire document
using WAIS - only a URL. If you let the WWW client handle the document
retrieval from the URL, you always have the documents in context - i.e.,
you always retrieve from the HTTP server, so things like relative links
work correctly - they don't if you use WAIS to retrieve the document.

> Can you not achieve the same thing by having waisindex generate an index
> of a file with titles, keywords and URL's, and have a command line WAIS
> client called from the HTTP server, or compiled into the HTTPserver do
> the lookups? This would eliminate the need for the WAIS protocol, and in

You probably could, but this seems to require less code hacking. It's
not a hard thing to do - it's a clever thing ;-)
-- Archie Warnock Internet:
-- Hughes STX "Unix --- JCL For The 90s"
-- NASA/GSFC Project STELAR: WAIS to do science