Oily Rag 1: Introduction

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Oily Rag: Be prepared to get your hands dirty.

UniServer 3.5-Oily Rag Introduction

I am slightly saddened by the fact; Uniform Server 3.5 is the last in its series. The new model "four" series will eventually supersede it. However before that time comes with its boast of go-faster stripes, super plugins and 0-60 in the blink of an eye, I thought it worthwhile having an in-depth look at 3.5, sort of lift the bonnet and have a poke around.


I use a car analogy because Uniform Server 3.3 is reminiscent of older cars where you can dive in, get your hands dirty, fine tune and bolt on a few goodies to make it uniquely yours.

Like a car you would not recast an engine block or camshaft; these are fixed components. Similarly DLLs and exe files are pre-complied, hence are fixed components. In both scenarios you can tweak, move components around, add little extras, even move the air intake to act as a vacuum cleaner. This blows your engine apart as it sucks up a puddle of water.

Leads me onto component reuse. Buried within 3.5’s architecture are some very elegant, standalone components just asking to be reused, perhaps in other projects. However I am thinking more in terms of tweaks saving extra work when coding.

That dream

Ever purchased a brand new car, sat there looking at the dashboard wishing you could remove or add a new switch?

Not a chance, for fear of devaluing the car. However take a look at 3.5's admin panel and wreak your revenge; it won’t be devalued when you break it. Just install a brand new one.


Well if you are feeling opulent, you can have a model 3.5 for every day of the week.

I purposefully neglected to state what the model refers to, thus giving me the opportunity to emphasize that Uniform Server is much more than a web server.


Just get on with it!

If I were reading this article (instead of writing it), by now I would be screaming! Show me something new and shut up. OK, at least it’s not full of those irritating adverts.

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So I lied!

Could not resist it.

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At best they provide eye candy.

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After a time it becomes so irritating

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Result Click through

Bandwidth is valuable, don't waste it

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For this series I could not think of a better title. Oily rag seemed appropriate.

Anything you read in this series requires you to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

However I take no responsibility for any hair loss, blood dripping down walls (please bang your head against something else) or laptops that are hurled out of windows (could move to a basement flat).


Skills required: knowledge of CSS, HTML, be a competent programmer preferably in C++, PERL, PHP, MySQL and machine code and that’s only to service a car.

Actually, to complete any topic in this section, I found copy and paste more that adequate.

For once in my life I will be very serious. No matter what fancy titles or terminology you see, it all boils down to one thing, manipulation of text files. If you know where to find these text files you can hack them to your heart's content and make them work for you.


Oily Rag - Content

3.5-Apollo problems and bugs

In keeping with the oily rag philosophy you will find detailed information on how to correct bugs in Uniform Server 3.5-Apollo.

The bug count has increased slightly. I have consolidated these in a separate section 3.5-Apollo problems and bugs

Running 3.5-Apollo as a Service

I have retained this in the Oily Rag section because various pages require changing. However installing and running (see Running 3.5-Apollo Service) remain easy.

Check out Combined bug fix. It includes all pages that need changing.

CD Part 1

Introduces techniques required to convert Uniform Server to run from a CD. Highlights files which pose a problem. These contain functions that require read/write access. These are modified to produce a working example with no frills. Check out Part 1

CD Part 2

The example in Part 1 although functional is a one-way process. Part 2 introduces the concept of file switching, which greatly enhances the plugin's functionality. Concludes with a down-loadable plugin USCD1.

CD Part 3

Part 3 highlights problems with plugin USCD1. Proposes an alternative solution to file switching and introduces Perl commands (instructions) that will be used in a new plugin USCD2.

CD Part 4

Part 4 consolidates all the ideas to produce something resembling a usable plugin. You can download plugin USCD2, which provides a reasonable starting point that you can tailor to your own application.

CD Part 5

Part 5 Introduce components required to provide a complete CD solution.

CD Part 6

Part 6 Looks at making the CD independent of an host PC's browser. It also shows how to host several sites on the same CD.

Dedicated drive

Running Uniform Server on a dedicated drive is extremely easy. No need to run it as a service. Removes the need for a virtual drive. This gives it a slight speed advantage when run on a USB stick or separate partition on a hard drive or even a separate hard drive.

Wait for process to start. Includes a batch progress bar

This proposes a solution to prevent the dreaded error message "connection was refused" when starting 3.5-Apollo. I have also included a batch file progress bar.

MySQL server upgrade to 5.0.51b

A step-by-step guide how to upgrade Uniform Server 3.5-Apollo's MySQL server to 5.0.51b.


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