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RE: Some Qs about running your own Conversant server




 
Subject RE: Some Qs about running your own Conversant server
Posted 3/11/2003; 11:12 AM by Seth Dillingham
Last Modified 3/11/2003; 11:12 AM by Seth Dillingham
In Response To RE: Some Qs about running your own Conversant server (#411)
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On 3/10/2003, Duncan Smeed said:

>Hi Seth, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Thanks for
>your help. I must be doing something wrong since the new zone is
>not playing ball.
>>[snip]

Hmm.

Have you upgraded your installation? Choose the Conversant->Updates->ALL menu item.

>Since the computer is now in the machine room I followed the
>steps for creating the zone in the browser...
>
>>Use your regular username/password, as it's going to create an
>>account for you in that zone. (You still need to create a
>>conversation in this zone.)

[SNIPped instructions...]

>Done.  This is what I did previously.  I created a new zone -
>ap2003 - to go alongside my existing xl zone but any attempt to
>access it at the root level - http://www.yourserver.org/ap2003/
>gives me the following error:
>
><error>
>"500 Internal server Error The server has encountered an error 
>processing your request.
>Error: Can't evaluate the expression because the name "ap2003" 
>hasn't been defined."
></error>
>
>The existing http://www.yourserver.org/xl/ works fine.

Right, because (as I said) zones don't have web interfaces, so there's no way to view a "zone" in your browser. Until there's a conversation, there's nothing for the server to show you.

>Next thing I tried was to create a conversation in that zone - 
>http://www.yourserver.org/ap2003/duncan - which seemed to be created 
>OK but access at that root level gave me the following error.
>
><error>
>500 Internal server Error
>The server has encountered an error processing your request.
>Error: Can't evaluate the expression because the name "tools" hasn't 
>been defined.
></error>

You've run into a known bug. Two of them, actually.

1. New conversations created through the admin interface don't have a home page.

2. Trying to view a site's home page, when the site doesn't actually have a home page, results in a "tools hasn't been defined" error instead of a 404.

>However, http://www.yourserver.org/ap2003/duncan/1 at least threw
>up a reasonably compete page comprising a message with the text
>"New Conversation: duncan"

Your next step is to go to the wizards and create a conversation with the same name as the zone, so that it will become the "default" conversation for the zone. (Ie, create a conversation named ap2003).

<http://www.yoursever.org/ap2003/duncan/__wizards__>

>If you like Seth I can set you up as a Zone admin on my server if
>that woould help.  Let me know and I'll email you the URL of the
>new server.

I'd be happy to help you figure this out, but I'm guessing that the above information will make a big difference and you might not need me.

>>>Rather than post just now the specifics of the problems I had,
>>>I was wondering if there are some docs/folklore that explain
>>>zones and any inherent complexities arising from their use.
>>
>>Not much, unfortunately, though the above information should get
>>you started.
>>
>>You're likely to have more questions, especially when you're
>>creating new conversations. Keep asking them! I'm not going to
>>guess at all the questions you might have and answer them now,
>>as the email will be too long. Just don't be 'shy' about asking
>>anything.
>
>It seems to me that there's a disconnect between the very first
>zone that's set up when Conversant is installed for the first
>time and subsequent zone+conversation creation.

Not really, no. Or actually, there's never any connection between zones. They are entirely independent of each other.

The real problem here is with creating secondary zones. We don't have this problem on Free-Conversant because we have a special-purpose signup wizard that does the work for us. When a paying customer (not a free-conversant user) wants a new zone, I usually set it up myself.

Btw... you should put timbuktu on that server (or Microsoft's Terminal Services, VNC, or PCAnywhere). You're probably going to need it eventually. Radio-based software can't stay running forever (as you know, it occasionally needs a restart, we have software that does it automatically ever day), and you'll need access to the GUI in order to run root updates.

Seth

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