TACTweb is PC software that allows any PC running Windows (3.x, 95
or NT) to support the querying of TACT databases (TDB's) over the
Web. TACTweb, however, doesn't do the entire job itself. Instead, it
works in tandem with Web Server software that must also be installed
on the server PC. Thus, setting up TACTweb involves:
- First, selecting a suitable PC, and ensuring that it is
running Windows 95 and the basic TCP/IP support that comes with
- Second, installing the Web Server software on this machine
that TACTweb can operate with, and ensuring that it operates
- Third, installing TACTweb itself and testing it with the
sample database that is provided.
- Finally, configuring TACTweb to work with your databases.
To use TACTweb, then, you will need three pieces of software --
all of which are available over the Web:
- You will need basic DOS TACT (version 2.x) to create the
databases that TACTweb can serve. All TACT software is available
for free for academic purposes, and can be downloaded from
A special TACT component that is still being developed by the
author is sgml2tdb -- software that can take a text marked
up in an SGML markup scheme, and create a TACT database. This
special TACT component is available from
- You will need a Web Server. See the discussion
below, but if you are planning to serve from
a Windows 95 machine, we recommend
WebSite. WebSite is not free
software, but a trial version sufficient to run TACTweb is
available without charge.
- You will need the TACTweb software which runs with your Web
Server software. It is available from
Selecting a Suitable Web Server
Before beginning the actual installation, you must consider which
Web Server software you plan to use to support TACTweb. TACTweb has
been tested with two PC-based Web Servers. The two recommended
servers are HTTPD for
Windows which runs under Windows 3.x, and O'Riley Software's
WebSite which runs under
Windows 95. HTTPD for Windows is essentially free. Website is not
free software, although a version can be downloaded for testing.
Using one of these two servers, TACTweb can be made to work on a
Windows 3.x or Windows 95 machine -- although we have found WebSite
under Windows 95 to be more reliable. TACTweb might run with other
servers under other operating systems, but we have not tested it. In
this document we will only discuss how to set up TACTweb to work from
a Windows 95 machine with WebSite.
Preparing your PC to act as a server
Finding a suitable PC
To run WebSite one needs a PC that is (a) running Windows 95, and,
of course (b) that has full-time access to the Internet.
Although not absolutely obligatory, it is best to choose a PC to
run TACTweb which is not being used for anything else. If your server
becomes busy, you will find that the machine will become slow for any
Ensuring TCP/IP Software is Present
If your designated machine is already running Windows 95 machine,
and on that machine you are already using a browser like Internet
Explorer or Netscape, then TCP/IP is already set up on it,
and you can skip forward to the next section.
If not, you should ensure that the TCP/IP support that comes with
Windows 95 has been turned on. This can be done by starting up the
"Network" object in the Win95 Control Panel, and asking to install
Microsoft's TCP/IP Protocol.
Establishing the IP number and Domain Name
Since this machine is going to act as a server rather than
just as a WWW client, it is necessary that your user community be
able to access it. Your users will be able to reference your machine
either by its IP number, or preferrably, by its Domain Name. If your
machine is already accessing the web than it almost certainly already
has an IP number assigned to it. If it has only been used as an
Internet Client machine, however, it may not necessarily have a
Domain Name. Talk to your local network administrator to find out
what IP number and Domain Name (if any) is assigned to it.
If your machine has no domain name, your network manager can
probably arrange to bind an appropriate Domain Name to your machine.
By convention, Domain Names for WWW servers usually begin with the
sequence "www." Although this is preferrable, it is not essential.
Setting up WebSite
At the time of writing, WebSite was available to try out
for free and could be downloaded and tested over the Internet.
Different versions of WebSite can be purchased from O'Riley
Software. We have used TACTweb with both the test version, and with
the version that is bundled with O'Riley's book
"Building your Own
Installing WebSite software on your PC is a three-stage process:
- Acquiring a copy of WebSite. You can
version to try it out for free, or purchase the book "Building
your Own WebSite" which contains a suitable copy on an enclosed
- Installing on your local machine. If possible, install it into
directory "c:\website". The TACTweb files assume that that is
where the server is, and although they can be edited to point
elsewhere, it is easiest if they don't need to be.
- Testing the installation. If WebSite is properly installed and
running, you should be able to test that the WebSite software is
able to serve documents from the test collection provided by
Setting up DOS Environment Space
TACTweb requires the server to run back-end scripts in a DOS
window. It will fail if you don't have enough environment space. Add
to the [NonWindowsApp] section of your SYSTEM.INI which is
normally found in the "c:\windows" directory. Then shut down and
restart your computer.
Installing and configuring TACTweb
TACTweb components are installed in the directory tree that
belongs to the WebSite server. The following graphic shows where the
most important pieces are put when TACTweb is installed:
Recall that the directories WebSite, htdocs and
cgi-dos are created when the Website server is installed. The
directory htdocs and its subdirectories contain documents that
the server can serve directly to clients. The directory
cgi-dos contains programs that can be run for clients by means
of the CGI interface. The directory tactweb is created
specifically for TACTweb and is placed as a subdirectory of the
document directory htdocs. The major files that make up
- A TACT database which must be on the machine TACTweb is to use
(not shown in the diagram above). A sample TACT database ("TDB
file") called midsumme.tdb is provided in the TACTweb
distribution to allow you to test out the software, but any TDB
you can create with TACT 2.x software can be used. TDBs can be put
in any directory on your computer, although there are some
advantages to putting all the TDBs you want TACTweb to access in
- An HTML document that contains an HTML form that can be used
to query TACTweb. A sample HTML form can be found in
tactweb.htm and these forms should be placed somewhere
within WebSite's document directories, so that it can serve it to
the client on demand. In addition to tactweb.htm, there are
a collection of example and documentation documents provided. They
should be put in the same directory as tactweb.htm. When
unpacked, these documents will be in directory
C:\Website\htdocs\tactweb, or subdirectories of it.
- A DOS .BAT file called dotactq.bat that sets up a
suitable environment in which TACTweb runs, runs
tactweb.exe, points it at the TDB it is to use, and ensures
that the resulting HTML file that TACTweb creates is returned to
the WWW server, so that it can in turn return the result back to
the client. This batch file should also be placed in
"c:\WebSite\cgi-dos". The file "dotactq.bat" allows TACTweb to
access the demo TDB that comes with the distribution. Other files
with other names can be created there to point at your TDBs.
- The TACTweb program itself tactweb.exe. This program
will use the CGI interface provided by WebSite to access the query
submitted to it by means of the form in tactweb.htm,
interpret it, process the query against the given TDB database,
and create an HTML document that contains the result of the search
and resulting display. TACTweb should be placed in directory
"c:\WebSite\cgi-dos" where WebSite will expect to find programs
that it can run.
- The files tactjb.res and isolatin.xdt which are
used by the TACTweb program. These files should be placed in the
same directory as tactweb.exe: "c:\WebSite\cgi-dos"
Unzipping the Software
All the files mentioned above are stored in the
archive. We assume in the following description that the WebSite
software has already been installed in directory C:\WebSite.
- change directory to C:\WebSite
- Put the downloaded TACTWEB.ZIP file there.
- Unzip the archive there. Be sure to use the -d (use
directories) option of pkunzip! Files must be put in the correct
directories if they are to work, and this will be done
automatically if these instructions are followed. Use pkunzip
(.04g or later (or equivalent), to uncompress the archive.
Testing out TACTWEB
TACTWEB.ZIP has been configured so that you should be able to
immediately try it out, accessing the demonstration "midsummer.tdb"
database. To do so:
- Make sure that your server machine is running the WebSite
- From a different client machine, access the query document by
giving a URL similar to
your.machine.edu with the domain name of your server
- Choose the link near the bottom of the TACTweb home document
labelled "Click here to try out a query".
- When the query form appears, type in a query (e.g.
"moon.*"), and push on the "submit query" button which
is a part of the form.
- Your WWW client will send the query to the server, who will
activate TACTweb and process the query. In a moment or two you
should receive back the result of your request.
Having now installed TACTweb, and tested it with the demonstration
database, you are ready to adapt it for your own use.
Web design Alex
Stevens, content Geoffrey
Rockwell or John
Bradley. March 7, 1997