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REBOL IOS Questions and Answers

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Q: What is REBOL IOS?

A: REBOL IOS is for group communications.

It is designed to help people work together in a secure fashion from anywhere and with almost any type of computer system. The unique power of REBOL enables an unlimited range of new applications for information sharing, collaboration, and coordination.

Q: Who needs IOS?

A: IOS is for people who need constant communications within a private, noise-free environment.

It will benefit individual project teams, supplier or customer relationships, non-profit organizations, on-line communities, trading groups, and any other close partnership between people.

Q: What is the X Internet?

A: The X stands for ''executable''.

The X Internet works by automatically distributing programs, not just web pages. What's the advantage? X Internet applications make greater use of the power of your local computer, handheld device or appliance. As a result, applications are more responsive and network traffic is dramatically reduced. X Internet applications make a 56K modem feel like DSL.

Q: How does IOS relate to the X Internet?

A: REBOL IOS makes the X Internet possible.

IOS applications (called reblets) are tiny, so they download quickly and don't take much local storage space. Most IOS applications consist of both a client side and a server side, although this is transparent to users.

Q: Is IOS Peer-to-peer (P2P)?

A: Yes, it is peer-to-peer in the sense that you use an IOS client to communicate with other members of your group - your peers.

IOS also takes advantage of server technology to allow messages and files to be stored and backed up in a safe location, even when users are not on-line. For example, when you go on-line, you will receive alerts and messages you missed when you were off-line. In addition, the server model allows a greater degree of account management and user authentication that is often required in modern business environments.

Q: What is REBOL/Link?

A: REBOL/Link is the IOS client program that is run by each user.

It is available for a wide range of platforms, such as Windows (all versions), Solaris, Linux, BSD, SGI, and others. And, because it comes from a single source, it is perfectly consistent across all platforms. Downloading and installing REBOL/Link takes just a few seconds.

Q: What are the minimum system requirements to run REBOL/Link?

A: We recommend:

Q: What operating systems does IOS support?

A: In addition to supporting Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000, and XP, IOS runs on a wide variety of Linux systems, BSD, Solaris, SGI, AIX, HP/UX, and more.

We plan to support Macintosh OS/X. It is possible to support Win CE devices, Sharp Linux PDA, Sony Playstation, Nintendo systems, and XBox if a large order is dependent upon them.

Q: Does IOS share applications as well as data?

A: Yes, that's one of the strengths of IOS.

Applications are synchronized in the same way as files, so applications are always up-to-date for all users. (From time to time when you use IOS, you will see an application icon momentarily turn red while it's being updated. The red color is an indication that the application is being updated.

Q: Does IOS support file versioning?

A: We support automatic file backup.

Each time a file is published, the old copy is saved on the server. You can obtain any prior copy of that file by right clicking on its icon and selecting the History button. You will see a list of all prior versions of the file, along with their dates, sizes, and who published them.

Q: How difficult is it to install IOS?

A: Typically it takes about five minutes to install IOS on your server.

It requires that you create a new user account, unzip the distribution files, then copy a file to your CGI bin directory. In addition you will want to add it to your boot startup so the server restarts. Additional changes may be required, depending on your web server setup. Once you have the server running, it is "hands free" and requires no server-side interaction. All other operation can be done from the client by using the admin account.

Q: Do I need to be a guru to administer an IOS system?

A: No, not for most daily operations.

The only required activity of an administrator is to create and delete user accounts. That is easily done through the User-Admin reblet that is provided.

Q: Can the IOS server run on a different system than the web server?

A: Yes.

You can run the IOS server on one machine and have your web-server redirect requests to it. This is done through a normal TCP connection.

Q: How can I see what files have changed recently in IOS?

A: In the utilities arena, click on the History icon to see a list of recent file changes. Those highlighted in red have changed today.

Q: Is there a way to synchronize IOS files that do not show on the desktop? Application data files for example.

A: Yes, the IOS system handles such files quite well. Applications as well as users can create those types of files.

Q: Does IOS require a Web server?

A: There are three versions of IOS.

IOS Express operates by "tunneling" encrypted information through your existing web server. This allows you to run IOS without the need to change your network configuration and firewalls. We will also be providing IOS Lite, which can be used on a local area network without the need for a web server. That only allows access from with that network, not externally. In addition, we plan to offer a hosting service for organizations that do not have a web server, but need external access to their IOS system.

Q: Does IOS have a permissions system?

A: Yes. There are two methods of control: synchronization and access.

The first determines if you will even know of the existence of a set of files. For instance, there are currently dozens of folders and files that are being shared that you don't synchronize because you are not part of the workspace. For each set of files, access privileges can be specified to determine who can add, change, delete, create icons, modify server-side code, and perform other actions.

Q: Is there a way to see what files have been modified locally?

A: Yes. When you modify a file locally, changes are not uploaded until you request it.

To indicate that the file has been locally modified, its icon turns red. If you right click on the icon, you will see a short message explaining why it is red. To update it back to the server, just click on the Publish button. You can also use the Modified? application in the utilities arena to see all files that have been changed locally, but not uploaded to the server.

Q: Can I share my files only with certain people?

A: Yes. The easiest way to do so is to create a folder and specify who will share it with you.

The folder will only appear on their desktops. No one else will know that it even exists.

Q: Can scripts be executed by the server?

A: Yes, many applications contain a server-side and client-side scripts.

The server script normally manipulates storage formats, date-stamps records, and authenticates users, but the server can run just about any type of non-GUI script.

Q: Will Reblets be customizable?

A: Most reblets are quite small can be easily customized by changing their source code to suit your purposes.

Think of applications in IOS more like web pages than like applications. They are disposable applications. Make them into what you need.

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