Given the conclusions from yesterday's meetings ...

  1. The first priority will be the ISP product and developing it.
  2. ISP product development should focus on the end-user more than the system administrator

Here is a list of the immediate tasks that we can start to plan. Granted, this is always up for refinement and clarification... especially since I have not had a chance to brainstorm with John and Dominic on their thoughts on this subject. These tactics should cover us for many months so that Uncle Clem can have time to come up with a business strategy that is sustainable.

  1. Halcyon Partnership. Form a business relationship with Halcyon. They have a product that allows ASP (Microsoft's Active Server Pages) to work on Linux. Like I said in a previous email, it would not only be good to work with a company that wants to partner with us, but they have a small product and are willing to work with us. If we can't partner with a small company, we sure won't be able to partner with a large one like IBM.

  2. Enhance End-User RNA Features. There are a number of features that we should expand upon for the end-user (i.e. webalizer output within the RNA, a backup system that actually downloads the archive to the user's browser, a method for uploading content through the RNA, etc.).

    More advanced features that ISP's have been asking for are:
    1. Method for adding a Search Interface button to a web site
    2. A Chat Room (see DigiChat and phpChat for examples)
    3. Method for setting up Web Advertising (see phpAds).

    These are not server applications (although we will work on those as well), this is more like expanding on the "Web Toys" package with greater documentation for how the end-user would use the appliance. For instance,'s Control Panel has more documentation for the end-user than server apps. We could actually use the RNA's wizard features to step them through documentation.

  3. Build a "Server Application Filter." This extension to the RNA will allow us to take arbitrary, stand-alone web-based server applications and make the program act like it is part of the RNA. This will give us the appearance of a complete appliance solution as well as making it easy for the end-user (as he only logs in once at one place). See LiquidWeb,'s Control Panel and adgrafix's Web Site Manager as examples of this.

  4. Email Client. Now that we have a way of integrating external server apps into the RNA, our first application should be an email reader. Perhaps we should either take Twig or Courier's email client, however, this is up for discussion.

  5. InterNIC Registration. It would be easy for both the client and the ISP if a "registration program" that allowed a client to enter in the domain name they would like and have it register the domain name plus set up server appliance to host the domain. This is a regularly requested feature.

  6. File Manager. We can't do too much web site creation without the ability to delete, copy and move files through some web interface that acts like Midnight Commander or Windows Explorer.

  7. Web Creator. An ASP-light program like adgrafix's Web Site Manager or Zope that replaces FrontPage and other client web site creators with a server-side program.

  8. Database Service. Along with the actual database (MySQL/Postgres/OODB), we need a web-based interface to administrate it ... maybe something like SQLServletphpMyAdmin or phpPgAdmin or we actually use the RNA to make it (read, easier to use).

  9. Store Front. Now we need to integrate shopping cart and other e-commerce features. We may want to look at Zelerate or new-comers like ObjectNet's iShopping Wizard. Here, my criteria is simple:
    1. Good. The shopping cart / store front should be good and feature rich.
    2. Easy-to-Setup. A user should be able to set up a small catalog in less than an hour
    3. Customizable. This is optional, but it would be nice if the engine can be easily customized... perhaps with templates or something similar.

  10. Knowledge Base. Now we can start getting into more specialized server apps, like an automated FAQ generator. This doesn't need to be as extensive as RightNow's.

    Note: You will notice that with the exception of Halcyon, I am not proposing many commercial partnerships. I would like to see how our relationship with Halcyon can be developed before I recommend others. Clearly, IBM's application server environment would be a very nice fit, but with large applications, I see that we have two solutions:

    1. We can just include the product (as RPM packages or whatever), and simply document the URL that end-users would use. We could even have a link from the RNA that would open up the product in a separate window.

    2. We could also attempt some sort of integration so that at least we can pass the user's name and password to the application so that it doesn't have to reprompt them for that.