There isn’t much subtlety to the reasoning behind the license-free URL Live! from Pacific Software Publishing (PSP). After all, why would anyone in this day and age release a limited freeware Web server when products like Apache and Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) are becoming ubiquitous?
Definitely not to serve as a general-purpose Web server. The reasoning behind the release of URL Live! is its value as specialized tool — a tool for serving and implementing ISAPI applications created using Microsoft tools (Visual C++, Visual Basic) in an intranet environment.
The reasoning behind the release of URL Live! is its value as specialized tool — a tool for serving and implementing ISAPI applications created using Microsoft tools (Visual C++, Visual Basic) in an intranet environment.
To run ISAPI applications, however, you’ll need to try them on URL Live’s ISAPI-compatible API, ULAPI. PSP claims that ISAPI programs should run under URL Live! with few modifications. We tested some simple ISAPI programs and encountered no problems at all.
Using Visual Basic requires a little more work and some additional tools from PSP: VB Bridge, VB SendFORM and VB RecMAIL, included as part of the $499 URL Live! Development Suite. Bonus points if you’ve figured out exactly what PSP gets out of a free release of URL Live! — the company is selling development software that enables Visual Basic programs to be easily implemented in a Web environment.
The claim is that Visual Basic programs can be used as multithreading URL Live! applications that will run under a Web browser. This addresses a major need in the marketplace. Even though Visual Basic 6.0 does ship with tools for implementing VB programs on IIS, developers must choose between enabling a VB application for IIS or a general, non-Web environment. (Unless your users are running IIS on their desktop, of course. This is highly unlikely.)
Of course, you could use URL Live! as a simple Web server, which makes a certain amount of sense if you need to implement a Web server — particularly on an intranet — on a networked PC with limited resources. There’s not a whole lot to URL Live’s administration tasks: you can set up a virtual directory, change passwords, and adjust MIME settings. When you set up a virtual directory, you can also specify its access rights (read, write, ISAPI, directory index). The server also features browser-based administration on a local machine.
URL Live! makes sense in two situations: if you want to install a simple Web server on a low-end Windows machine, or if you want to build a Visual Basic application server. But if your needs are broader, you’ll want to consider one of the other Web servers on the market like Apache, Microsoft IIS, or even Microsoft PWS.
Pros: Can be run comfortably on resource-challenged Windows 95 and 98 PCs, Browser-based administration capabilities, Easy to install and configure, ISAPI support
Cons: No Unix version, No NSAPI support, Limited capabilities, No support, No security past an administrative password, No documentation
New: This is the initial release of URL Live!
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Reviewed by: Kevin Reichard
Last Updated: Initial Review
Date of Original Review: 2/11/99