[Info] [Home] [Files] [Messages] [Misc] ? @ [Site]

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Main Areas

You will find the main areas of this site at the head of ea These are [Home], [Files], [Messages] and [Misc]. In addition, you will see two symbols there: @ for e.mail to the webmaster, and ? for (this) help page.

In addition, the regular online presentation of the OWL-Server can be accessed here by way of the menu headings [Info] and [Site]. The [Info] entry takes you to a page with system information - you cound term it a kind of "extended help" page - and [Site] to the "remainder" of the information. The data is split up in this was for two reasons. Firstly to highlight the system information, and secondly because a click on OWL-Server.DE in this section no longer takes you to the information section, but back to this presentation.


You will find several subareas inside every main area. These are displayed immediately below the main area headings. For example, in this area there are the subareas [Start], [Search], [Sitemap], [Help], [mail2webmaster] and [telnetBBS].

If you click on a main area heading, you automatically arrive at the [Start] page that exists for every main area in the menu. There you will find a description of the main area, and brief descriptions of the individual subareas. And in the overview of the [Home] menu, you'll even find brief descriptions of all the main areas. Not bad, eh? :-)

There are also three buttons in the row with the subareas. On the left side, buttons with a German and an English flag. The purpose of these should be apparent: you can switch between a German and English language presentation using them. And then there's also the button on the right side, with a small arrow pointing left. This performs the same operation as the "back" button of your browser. However, JavaScript must be activated for this button to work all the time.

The small arrow pointing upward, that you will find on nearly all the pages, does not require JavaScript for its operation. The purpose of this symbol should be apparent from the direction of the arrow: a click on it will always bring you back to the head of the page.


The current location is also simple to determine. For one thing, it should be displayed in the title bar of your browser. In addition, the current main area and subarea should be displayed in underlined text in the menus.


By the way, a site map showing all the menu entries in this site on a single page, and enabling you to click on these to select the entry you desire, also exists. You can find it in the home area under the menu heading [Sitemap].


Error handling is also simple. If you try to access something that doesn't exist, or if some other problem arises, you will be shown an error message. And it offers you all the functions of the already-familiar main menu. As an alternative, there is also a "back" function, although this only operates when JavaScript is activated.



You will find a "normal" search engine in the Home menu under the [Search] entry. This search engine goes through all HTML pages on this system. However, it cannot search for numbers, punctuation or the like.

In addition, you will find a somewhat more thorough search engine, one that can also operate with numbers, punctuation and meta-tags, in the [Misc] area under the [Search Docs] menu entry. With its help, you can search through an index of the documentations available in the system, the online presentation, or the mirrored pages, as you desire.


However, the general search engines are pretty unsuitable for systematic searches for files. For this reason, there are two additional search engines in the files area. With these, you can systematically search for specific files, and have the search results displayed in the form of a file name (for download) with the size and date of the file and a description of it.

The faster of the two search engines is [bbs2web]. It operates using an index, but has the disadvantage that it does not always find really everything, and also cannot search for certain characters. In addition, the results are always displayed at the maximum 200 files per page. No smaller numbers are possible.

For these reasons, an [Extended Search] also exists. This performs a full-text search in the file descriptions and finds everything there is to find. Including numbers, file names and special characters. In this case, it is also possible to limit the number of files displayed on a page. However, there is the disadvantage that the search can drag on for some time - at the longest maybe two to three minutes. Thus, this is only something for those with patience. :-)


The method used to switch between the English and German languages has already been described. A few minor comments are in order on this subject, since not all information is actually available in both the German and English languages. As always in such matters, a number of compromises were unfortunately necessary in this case as well. These luckily are limited to the following four minor points:

  • The information accessed under [Info] and [Site] are exclusively available in the German language. Since these texts are not necessarily useful to English-speaking users, no translation is planned at the moment.
  • The descriptions of the file areas and files only exist in one language in the system. Therefore, these will be displayed in either English or German (sometimes even in Russian, Finnish or Danish ;-) regardless of the language that has been selected. The following applies:
    • The file descriptions are probably more than 90 % in English. The remainder is generally in German or Russian.
    • The descriptions of the file areas are around half in German and half in English. English-speaking users should thus not be surprised if they cannot read some of the descriptions in the "Main Index".
  • Newsgroups, FidoNet echos and the like are in the original language. Since most of the groups on this system are German-language forums, it is natural that the texts and descriptions will be in German. Incidently, the [Newsreader] provides German and English menus. The [FTN-Reader] is only in English. But no problem, since this only involves a maximum of 20 words.
  • You will find both the layout and the language of mirrors, documentations and the like "as is". This naturally applies double for external links. In addition, you depart from the familiar navigation environment in all such cases.

Links and "Speed"

You can set links to these pages from anywhere you like. However, two things should be observed when doing this:

  1. Never link to IP addresses! This system is presently only accessible using dynamic DNS services, since it has no static IP address. Well, at least none that is always accessible. Thus, if you link to an IP address, your next attempt to reach this site, or at the lastest the next one 24 hours later, will land you at a completely different system - or in limbo.
  2. It's best not to link to the root directory of the server, but directly to the correct index or the desired page. Unless you want to first display the introductory screen of this site with its selection of language and protocol.

Incidently, such a dynamic link will transfer a maximum of 64 KBit/sec (ISDN). Therefore, please don't make excessive demands on the transfer rate. Remember, this bandwidth must be shared by all the system users. That is also the reason why every saveable Byte was saved, even in the basic HTML code. Not just because of compatibility reasons, but also to ensure that you get your data as rapidly as possible. :-)


These pages do not make use of frames, (normally) use max. Specification 3.2 HTML code, and only Specification 1.0 Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript. However, JavaScript is not absolutely required, and even the CSS only serve to improve the appearance somewhat. Oh, yes: all manually written pages have been checked by the W3C validator and found to be error-free. However, this probably only applies to some of the computer-generated code with some minor qualifications.

Despite or because of this, these pages should be readable with any browser, with or without CSS und JavaScript.

Still, there's no rule without exceptions. In particular, the subareas under [Info] and [Site] presently require both frames and JavaScript. You won't get far without these. It's also a good question as to whether a validator would find these pages to be error-free.

A minor problem can also arise using text-mode browsers. The reason is that the few graphics present use an empty ALT tag. Thus, there is no description. Sorry, but the popup description windows of the standard browsers can really get on your nerves when an ALT tag is not empty.

In my opinion, this is not a really serious problem, since users wi text-mode browsers will generally be knowledgeable enough that they can find a telnet client that supports the IBM-PC character set and (particularly) includes the z-modem protocol. With such a client, there's no trouble going diretly to the 80x25 character world by wa of the [telnetBBS] menu entry. Naturally, this also offers two languages (German and English), and guest access.

Just remains to say that the pages look just a trifle better with NetScape (Version 4.01 and above) and are just a trifle more functional with the Internet Explorer (Version 4 and above). Opera (similarly Version 4 and above) also offers quite passable results. Only the third-generation browsers can have one problem or another with or without the tags used in the CSS.

Queries, Criticism, Ideas, Suggestions for Improvement

Queries may be made using the e-mail function that has already mentioned several times (the @ or [mail2webmaster] menu entry in the main menu). In addition, you can record positive and negative criticism, ideas and suggestions for improvement in [Board] or in [Guestbook].

However, we'd appreciate not getting requests for WaReZ, PiXX or other junk of this kind. In such cases, our principle is: don't have them, never had them, won't get them in any time soon. Naturally, the reverse should also not apply. If anything is floating around here that shouldn't be here, for example because the author has forbidden external distribution, we would appreciate hearing about this. The same applies to comments pointing out possible errors, dead or questionable links, defective files and the like.