Re: About Automatic Entry: Profiling

Walter Ian Kaye (boo@best.com)
Tue, 27 Feb 1996 22:55:11 -0800


Message-Id: <v02120d03ad59954d9879@[205.149.180.135]>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 22:55:11 -0800
To: www-html@w3.org
From: boo@best.com (Walter Ian Kaye)
Subject: Re: About Automatic Entry: Profiling

At 9:44p 02/26/96, Michele Bassan wrote:
>On Sun, 25 Feb 1996 19:32"William C. Cheng" <william@cs.columbia.edu> replied:
>
>>Profiling is probably not the right solution to this kind of problems
>>because one can not resonably expect all applications to support user
>>profiles.  Windows 95 provides user logins and so does all UNIX machines.
>>(I don't know about how Mac's handle multi-user environment.)  I think
>>that browsers should explicitly *not* provide user profiling and expect the
>>operating systems to implicitly support that.
>
>Do you expect the majority of the users to use UNIX machines, or MAC/Windows?
>And even with Windows 95, do you expect your friend/wife/son to login
>separately into the same machines?
>Do you expect Apple, Microsoft and the other major operating system
>vendors to rapidly agree on some user profiling system?
>Do really word processors, spreadsheets, etc. need user profiling?
>I agree that a common profiling repository that can be accessed by all
>application will be a better solution, but probably not a practical one
>for a (long) while.


On the Macintosh, we already have a system-wide program called
"Internet Config" [1], in which we can store preferences common to
multiple Internet-related programs. Its categories are the following:

  1. Personal (real name, organisation, quoting string, signature, plan)
  2. Email (email address, email account, email password [if applicable],
            SMTP host, and extra mail headers)
  3. News (NNTP host, news username, news password, extra news headers)
  4. File Transfer (archie server, Info-Mac server, UMich server, and
                    local downloads folder)
  5. Other Services (ph host, finger host, whois host, telnet host, ftp host,
                     gopher host, www home page, wais gateway, LDAP server,
                     and LDAP searchbase)
  6. Fonts (list font, screen font, printer font)
  7. File Mappings (filename extension, file type/creator, creator app name,
                    post-process app creator, post-process app name, MIME type,
                    and some related boolean flags)
  8. Helpers (editor, finger, ftp, gopher, http, mailto, news, nntp, telnet,
              tn3270, wais, whois, ph, netphone, etc)

It supports multiple preference files (profiling system ;-) ) and a suite
of APIs (from low-level to high-level) which allow applications to launch a
helper app by the user simply Command+clicking on a URL. For example, when
I see a Web URL in an email message in Eudora, I can command-click on it
and it will launch Netscape Navigator (if not already running) and take me
right to the address. Silly me, I take this all for granted! So I'll thank
the authors, Peter Lewis and "Quinn". There, that's better. :-)

I've got these IC prefs coming out of my ears now, having just completed a
set of parsing routines for them in my comm/terminal program's scripting
language. Whew! But enough about me. ;-)

-Walter

[1] <ftp://redback.cs.uwa.edu.au/%2fOthers/Quinn/Config/>

__________________________________________________________________________
    Walter Ian Kaye <boo@best.com>     Programmer - Excel, AppleScript,
          Mountain View, CA                         ProTERM, FoxPro, HTML
 http://www.natural-innovations.com/     Musician - Guitarist, Songwriter