Chapter 13



Integrated TCP/IP Applications


This section is somewhat orphaned because there aren't very many freely available TCP/IP application suites and we only talk about one. That's a shame. One of the things that makes Windows so appealing is its unified (or somewhat unified) approach to application design and usability. When you get the same programmer or group of programmers working on the same products, they almost cannot help but make their products not only look similar but also work well together. This has been the model for Lotus Corporation's SmartSuite, Microsoft's Office, Borland Office, and WordPerfect Office (now from Novell).

If you really must have the same look and feel in all of your applications, try some of the commercially available TCP/IP application suites. See chapter 12, "Commercial WinSock Applications," for more information.


WinQVT/Net


WinQVT/Net is perhaps one of the most mature shareware Windows TCP/IP software products out there. QPC Software, the maker of this program, created WinQVT/Net as a complete TCP/IP solution for PCs, before the WinSock specification had become a standard. With version 3.98 of the software, it has stopped supplying a TCP/IP transport of its own and now relies exclusively on others to provide WinSock. The WinQVT/Net suite provides a reasonable set of mail, news, FTP, and network printing services, as well as an excellent Telnet client.


Installation and Setup

Since there is no setup program, all you need to do is decompress the distribution .zip file into the directory where you want it to live. Then, run qvtnet16.exe. The WinQVT/Net Console Setup dialog box will appear, which has a lot of options that you don't really need to change. The only one that you should change is your Host File Directory, which should be the directory that your winsock.dll file lives in (see figure 13.59).

Figure 13.59: WinQVT/Net Console Setup dialog.

Once you finish up this part, you should be ready to use the program.


Basic Usage

Upon startup, you should see a small window with a disproportionately large toolbar. On this toolbar, there are icons for FTP, Telnet, news, mail, and network printing (lpr). Clicking once on any one of these will bring up the individual application. This central launching and configuration point is really the only thing that ties the WinQVT tools together.

Figure 13.60: WinQVT/Net main screen.

NOTE: Telnet isn't referred to as Telnet in WinQVT. It's called Terminal, and the icon for it is a computer screen and keyboard.

In the following sections, I will discuss the individual components for the WinQVT integrated package, in the same manner as I have their standalone cousins in previous sections. Since each of these are part of a more integrated whole, it made more sense to talk about them all here in one spot.


WinQVT/Net FTP


The FTP client that launches from WinQVT/Net is an example of the non-graphical Unix-mimicking FTP clients. About the only difference that you will see between this client and running FTP from a Unix command prompt is that most of the common commands are available from pull-down menus. If you aren't into menus or your mouse hand is busy holding Internet Starter Kit for Windows, you can also issue all of the commands that you would be able to use on the Unix command-line version. I suppose there's nothing wrong with this interface, but it seems like a waste of a perfectly good graphical environment.


WinQVT/Net Mail


In describing the QVT mail package, "basic" is a useful term. For the casual mail user, this may be a plus as there are very few options. To do simple mail retrieving and delivery, this program works fine. The first screen that you'll see in WinQVT is encouragingly simple, with three menu items: File, Send Mail, and Setup. "Setup," I thought, "that is where I configure all the nice things that I like to do with my mail." However, clicking on the Setup pull-down allows you to set up only fonts and printer characteristics -- not exactly what I was expecting in terms of server names and the like.


WinQVT/Net News


WinQVT/Net offers a Usenet newsreader among the list of applications in its integrated repertoire. WinQVT/Net's newsreader is in the tradition of xrn, from the world of Unix and X Windows, and has an upper window pane for lists of newsgroups and article subjects and a lower pane for actually viewing articles. In this way, QVT has chosen an opposite path from WinVN.


Installation and Setup

Install WinQVT/Net by uncompressing the .zip file into a directory on your hard disk. Create a Program Group and a Program Item for the application, wnqvtwsk.exe. Once this is done, start WinQVT/Net and configure it by selecting News from the Setup menu.

Figure 13.61: WinQVT/Net News Reader Configuration.

The only critical item of information to be changed is Host, which must be set to your own NNTP server name. Once you enter the NNTP server, you can click on the News button from the button bar to open the actual news application. From here, pull down the menu Newsgroups and select Subscribe.


Basic Usage

Once you've selected the list of newsgroups you wish to read, just about the only thing you can do with this newsreader is read news. No bells and whistles -- just click on the group you would like to read, see the groups list replaced by the articles list, and get ready to read articles. There really are no other options. You can choose articles, read them, and post your own articles, all by clicking on one of the buttons labeled Read or Follow-up.

The Newsreader in WinQVT/Net is simple and effective, but certainly not very full-featured. The lack of threading and integrated mail makes it an unlikely candidate for anyone but a raw beginner looking for the simplest possible interface.


WinQVT/Net Telnet


WinQVT/Net provides a nice Telnet program as part of its integrated TCP/IP suite. It offers good VT220 support and all of the basic functionality you would need in a Telnet application, including backspace remapping and font/color selection. It also offers some nice perks, such as keyboard remapping and configuration files for individual sites.


Basic Usage

In order to connect to a site, click on the Terminal button from WinQVT's console. This brings up a dialog for entering the machine to which you wish to telnet. Type this machine name in the Host Name or IP Address field and click OK (see figure 13.62).

Figure 13.62: WinQVT/Net Telnet's Start Terminal Session.

Soon you'll see a window for that site, at which point you are connected.

If you see an "^H" or "^?" every time you hit the backspace key, try going to the Setup menu and clicking Terminal. In the dialog that comes up, there will be a backspace option that you can switch between delete and backspace. Experiment with this setting to fix this problem.


Overall Evaluation

I really think that the Telnet provided in this package is its strongest point. WinQVT/Net does make a reasonable showing in all categories, and certainly takes the Swiss Army knife award for WinSock applications. It falls short of NetManage's package in overall functionality and ease of use, but does give NetManage a fair run for its money.


Administrative Details

WinQVT/Net is a shareware application that costs $40 for everyone except students, who can register the program for $20. You can find WinQVT/Net on the Internet at either of the following:

ftp://biocserver.bioc.cwru.edu/pub/windows/qvtnet/qvtws398.zip


Summarizing Proust


My apologies to those who aren't familiar with the Monty Python "Summarizing Proust" skit, but attempting to summarize this chapter in a few sentences feels much like trying to summarize Marcel Proust's seven-volume Remembrance of Things Past in 30 seconds. That said, here goes.

I started out by discussing the email programs with a distinct focus on Eudora, since nothing really competes with it. I then moved on to WinVN and News XPress, both good newsreaders. FTP was easy, with WS_FTP providing the basic features that most people need, and NCSA Telnet and EWAN ably filled out the Telnet category. WSGopher claimed the crown in the Gopher world, and WinWAIS stands alone as the only WAIS client for Windows. Netscape, NCSA Mosaic, and WinWeb vied for the title among the World Wide Web browsers, with Netscape fairly easily taking the honors for the moment. After that, things got messy, with hard-to-classify programs like CU-SeeMe, WS IRC, and WinWorld each fitting into the discussion. Finally, I looked at the sole freely distributable integrated package, WinQVT/Net.

Perhaps the lesson that I'd like you to take away from this chapter, and from this book, is that the Internet is a vast and multifaceted place. Although there may be a single great program like Eudora that everyone uses, there are undoubtedly many lesser programs that have their devotees. And, because new stuff appears all the time, you should always keep an eye out or you might miss fabulous new programs like WinWAIS and Netscape, both of which were released since the first edition of this book was published. Luckily, most of these tools are either freeware or shareware, which enables you to try them out to your heart's content, although I do encourage you to support the shareware programmers who do such good work.

That said, for those of you who are feeling somewhat overwhelmed with using the main programs, let's move next to a simple, step-by-step discussion of how to use the main programs in each category.