GS WorldView: July MM
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The Arachnid IIgs Web Browser
Credits: The text of the second Arachnid Preview Release was obtained
from the author's web site. Many thanks to Kim Howe for his efforts with
this amazing development project.
Charles T. 'Dr. Tom' Turley
GS WorldView Editor

Arachnid Preview Release 2
 by Kim Howe

This is the second preview release of Arachnid, a new web browser I am
developing for the GS. This second release is still a very long way from a
complete product, although significant progress has been made since the first
release. Many users will find that they are able to surf the net in a limited way
with this release.

Warning Warning Warning

This is a Preview Release. The next release may be a beta, but this hasn't even
got that far yet. It has been fairly stable for me, but understand that you try it out
at your own risk. I don't see any reason why it should damage anything, but if it
does, it's your problem, not mine.


Arachnid requires Marinetti 2.0 installed and set up. Therefore it requires
System 6.01 as well. It should work with 2M Ram, but I haven't actually tried
it with less than 4. Unfortunately this version still requires that you use a proxy
server, which you must enter into the preferences before you start surfing (it can
either be a domain name or an IP address). If you don't have a proxy server, you
are welcome to try with the "Use Proxy" option turned off, but I don't think it will
work. Be sure to let me know if it does. Hopefully I'll get to the bottom of the
problem there soon and post a version which does work without proxies.

Arachnid has been developed and tested on my Rom 1 GS, System 6.01, with
4M Ram, Zip 8/16 and Apple Rev C SCSI card.

Known Bugs

Quite a few. The code to transport without proxies doesn't seem to work yet. The ftp
code still has some problems too. The html parser is the same as in preview 1, which
is simply the proof of concept code I wrote over a couple of days. The windows title
has an extra character in it sometimes. The Stop button doesn't always display
correctly. It is possible for the content of a web page to cause the system to crash.

Due to the very limited nature of the html parser in this release, most pages don't
display correctly. Some simple ones will.

I want to try it!

Download: ArachnidPR2shk.bin

OK. Once you have unshrunk the archive, you should have the Arachnid folder with
the following files:

Arachnid        the Application
Arachnid.prefs  the preferences file
Bookmarks       the Bookmarks file
Cache           a folder to hold pages which have been downloaded
Read.Me.Please  this file

Double-click on the Arachnid Application. It should open up for you and display the
toolbar. You will need to select preferences from the Edit  menu, and enter the details
of your ISP's proxy server. Once you've done  this you can go to the file menu and
Choose "Open New Web Window...".  Enter a URL to view. Arachnid should call
Marinetti to connect to the net and download the page.

During the actual download process, you will see a succession of messages in the right
corner of the toolbar. If you want to abort the process you can click on the stop
button. (There is a bug where the stop button isn't always drawn. If you click on the
toolbar, then click on the window it should reappear. If you succeeded in getting a page
down, Arachnid will attempt to display it.

At this point "Formatting" will be displayed on the toolbar. This is the old code, which
doesn't support the stop button, you will have to wait for it to finish parsing the html
and drawing the screen before it will listen to you again. If the page displays acceptably,
it may have some links on it (shown in yucky purple). You can click on links and it will
attempt to go to those links.

The new http transport seems to have worked pretty well for me, so the pages should
load up, even if the html parser can't display them well. If you're really adventurous,
you can try downloading more than one page at a time. The new http transport is
multi-threaded, so you can have more than one thing happening at the time. This also
means that Arachnid should keep listening to you, even while it's busy downloading.
Of course the more things you are doing at once, the slower your machine will become.

What's Coming Next?

I hope to be able to get the bugs out of the no-proxy transport, and ftp. At this point
Arachnid should be able to download future versions of itself. If I can do that soon,
I will make a third preview release. The next stage is to rewrite the html parser, so
that it works a lot better, and is also multi-threaded. When it reaches this stage, I will
call that the first beta, because it should be quite a useful browser. Note that this
preview release has a drop dead date built in. It will not operate after Dec 31 2000.

Constructive comments and questions are welcome. Email khowe@omninet.net.au.
The Arachnid web site is located at http://www.omninet.net.au/~khowe/arachnid/index.html.

Arachnid PR2 is copyrighted freeware. It is not public domain.

My thanks go to Tony Diaz, who has kindly donated several reference books to me.
These are currently on their way across thePacific Ocean, and will help greatly in the
completion of this project. (So far I have been working with a minimum of documentation.)