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Z39.50 on the web (and in print)

From: Sebastian Hammer <quinn@indexdata.dk>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 14:30:28 +0100
Message-Id: <4.2.0.58.20020221141220.029f4678@bagel.indexdata.dk>
To: ZIG listserv <www-zig@w3.org>
Cc: ZIG listserv <www-zig@w3.org>
Hi guys,

Ok, this has to look like a shameless plug for one of our tools, but I 
think it's also a little interesting in light of the "Z39.50 is not 
web-friendly" debacle. It supports my personal thesis that it is indeed 
possible to speak in practical terms about Z39.50 without ever mentioning 
the "dirty" words ASN.1 and BER.

The PHP "Black Book" by Peter Moulding has a fairly hefty couple of 
sections on the Z39.50 support in the PHP programming language for 
web-servers. It introduces the protocol thus:

"Z39.50 is a protocol to let one computer search another computer and 
retrieve information without knowing the search syntax used by the other 
computer. Both computers must have Z39.50 software installed".

Which is short and to the point.

It goes on to provide both reference and tutorial material about the use of 
our Z39.50 extension to the language -- much more approachable than our own 
documentation, in fact. I guess I'll have to recommend it to interested 
developers, in spite of the fact that we get no kickbacks from the 
publisher, and have absolutely nothing to do with the contents of the book.

One concrete piece of criticism is the lack of an automatic way to discover 
Z39.50 hosts, which I'll pass on to the ZIG. It might be a good idea to 
think of some protocol-level way to access databases of targets -- such as 
Z39.50, LDAP, or even "something XML".

Reference:

Moulding, Peter
PHP Black book
ISBN: 1-58880-053-9

All the best,

--Sebastian
--
Sebastian Hammer, Index Data <http://www.indexdata.dk/>
Ph: +45 3341 0100, Fax: +45 3341 0101
Received on Thursday, 21 February 2002 08:30:14 UTC

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