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Server Applications


Home Page Release Notes License:

Current Version: 4.1 / 4.5 (December 22, 2004) / 5.0.2 (May 25, 2005) / 6.0 (May 5, 2009)

Interaction is an application that adds threaded discussion forums, chat rooms, and a shopping cart system to any WebStar, MacHTTP, Web Server 4D, WebTen, Quid Pro Quo, NetPresenz, Zeus, or Mac OS Web Sharing server.

Versions 4.0 and higher can generate WAP documents and other XML based formats using XSL, making the pages available both for web browsers and PDAs. It can extract and include data from other sites (included web enabled databases) using the revised Resource entity type, with form data optionally forwarded from the original request based on configuration in a dialog on the Mac.

Interaction 4.5 is "Carbonized" and runs on Mac OS X Classic (but not natively on Mac OS X), in addition to Mac OS 8.6 and 9.x with CarbonLib 1.4 or higher.

Version 5.0 is the first "native" Mac OS X version, and version 5.0.2 is presumably a bugfix release. Changes are somewhat detailed in the online release notes.

Version 6.0 is the first new release in almost four (!) years, and makes the following enhancements:

  • Components - The components have been moved to the Plug-Ins folder inside the application bundle. They can be managed using the Get Info item of the Finder's File menu (under plug-ins).
  • Menus - Quit and Preferences menus are on the Apple menu.
  • Themes - Theme manager supports multiple predefined themes.
  • Chat - XSLT templates for the statements.
  • Chat - Case insensitive matching of keys in form submissions
  • Chat - Fixed the 28 entity so that it can be used correctly in chat statement template entities.
  • CGIs - Better feedback when a back-end CGI fails to respond.
  • Preferences - All preference groups have documentation.
  • Preferences - Process Order preference has been superceded by new Responders preference.
  • Preferences - Menus for Preferences is on the Apple menu as prescribed by MacOSX.
  • Dialogs - Modernized Visitors Monitor.
  • Dialogs - Visitors monitor dynamically updated when a visitor arrives or expires, with real time update of each session item.
  • Dialogs - Modernized Recent Visits monitor.
  • Dialogs - Restores the triangles in the Document outline palette.
  • Dialogs - Fixes the Resource Entities dialog in OSX so it no longer fails to accept input or misehave in other ways.
  • Dialogs - The pop-up menu on the Composite Restriction dialog fits.
  • Dialogs - Drag & Drop works again for files and folders from the Finder.
  • Dialogs - Updates the Locations dialog when files are removed.
  • Services - Fixes bugs in the theme selector of forum/chat.
  • Services - Predefined themes are no longer separated from custom themes in the theme selector.
  • Services - Many fields now display special characters instead of character entity references e.g. the Forum dialog (thanks to Pat Sheehan).
  • Mailer - Sends mail even when it isn't possible to resolve a domain name for the local host
  • Mailer - Fixed OS X problem where the mailer considers hidden unix files (.*) to be mail and attempts to send them.
  • Mailer - Mailing works better under NAT.
  • Mailer - Queue emails instead of failing if a mail host preference has not been provided.
  • Multiple Sites - Sites without a host in their domain name is used as default for requests where there are no site that exactly matches the hostname.
  • Multiple Sites - Each site has it's own Components folder (in with the site specific data) with extensions to provide site specific features.
  • Scripting - Allow arguments to headers in with-open-http-resource.
  • XSL Transformations - Disabled evaluation of XSL instructions in an entity referenced in an XSL template.
  • XSL Transformations - Improved XSLT processing with a new experimental command called 'apply'.
  • XSL Transformations - Experimental XPath 'ip:entity' function accepts a URI to represent the optional location of the entity.
  • XSL Transformations - Fixed bug in xpath != with two booleans, which behaved same as = with two booleans (i.e. opposite of correct).
  • XSL Transformations - Corrected xpath string comparisions using = and != to be case sensitive.
  • XSL Transformations - Don't pass on DOCTYPE declaration and comments from source document in pages generated by XSLT (bug fix).
  • XSL Transformations - Corrected issue with not using local variables when expanding template parameters
  • Server - Customizable number of responders.
  • Etc - Menus for Quit is now on the Apple menu as prescribed by MacOSX.
  • Etc - The Problem Report has been moved to ~/Library/Logs/ and is no longer an item on the Windows menu.
  • Etc - Cache Database has been moved to ~/Library/Caches/

User Reviews

"Interaction is a great tool. I'm currently using it to support a web-based bulletin board that is used extensively by students in a web-enhanced distance learning class that I teach. It is a little confusing to set up, and much of its considerable power is not readily apparent, but this is one program with a whole lot of potential! And Terje Norderhaug, the program's author, issues frequent updates and bug fixes and also responds quickly to messages from his users."
—Dan Mitchell

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Also See . . .

Can't find what you're looking for? Try a search:

Also, if you have an older Mac, be sure to check out the "Classic" applications page for more options.

Finally, take a look at ALEMIA if you think you know that name of an application, but aren't quite sure.

Built Into Mac OS X

Mac OS X has a huge amount of TCP/IP-based server software built into it that I don't specifically cover here. Your "Sharing" Preference Pane allows you to enable and disable these services with a click of the mouse. The software running behind the scenes to provide many of these services is generally of the open source variety. The standard release of Mac OS X includes, among many others:

  • Apache httpd (web server; enabled via the Sharing Preference Pane).
  • Postfix (mail server; see Mac OS X Hints for more information).
  • tnftpd (FTP server; enabled via the Sharing Preference Pane).
  • OpenSSH (Secure Shell server; enabled via the Sharing Preference Pane via "Remote Login" but additionally configurable via selected applications listed on this page).
  • BIND (Domain Name System server; see Mac OS X Hints for more information).
  • Samba (Windows file sharing; enabled via the Sharing Preference Pane).
  • XFree86 (X Window server; enabled via the "X11" application in your "Utilities" folder, if you elected to install it with Mac OS X).

Of course, Mac OS X Server includes many more, in addition to offering more recent versions of many of the above servers.

Related Links

Graham Orndorff has written a superb collection of articles on setting up email servers and secure email clients on Mac OS X.

Also Consider . . .

These are applications that are newer and of potential interest, but which I haven't yet selected for permanent inclusion. Have a look, and let me know if you think they deserve to be part of the permanent collection!