NetLoony Extra Functions

Extra Functions
 • Program Updates
 • Apache Information
 • Server Control
 • Performance
 • Syntax Check
 • Error Logs
 • Transaction Logs
 • User & Group Access
 • Remote Configuration
 • Apache Build & Install

• Program Updates

This function manages and installs updates for Vision For Apache automatically. If you have a valid NetLoony license, you'll be receiving updates from us via e-mail. These updates contain enhancements, extra functions and new Apache command support.

Each update e-mail will have a .dat file attachment and instructions, plus news about the NetLoony project. Copy the dat file into the NetLoony update directory which is located in the Vision 'root' directory. If you are not sure where this is, click on the top 'Vision tab, then the 'About' tab. Scroll the system information panel down. The Working Dir shown is the vision 'root' directory.

You will be prompted for conformation to install the update(s). When agreed, the Installation process takes just a couple of seconds! The updates won't appear until NetLoony has been restarted.

If you have any problems, try the Troubleshooting Updating Problems section.

We also advise you keep all the update emails as a reference

• Apache Information

This function provides information about the Apache server your are using:

• Server Control

Server Control is simply an easy way to control the Apache server. UNIX and Win32 versions do this in different ways - and both are supported automatically.

For the UNIX version, NetLoony manipulates the 'apachectl' application which comes as standard with the apache distribution. If this is not available, then control will be unavailable. The Win32 version submits commands directly via the Apache executable.

• Performance

This facility is currently only available with the UNIX distributions. NetLoony manipulates the 'ab' application and stores URLs and returned results to provide a simple level of performance analysis.

Here is a screen shot of a graph produced by the program:

You might notice there is a simple trend line (split average pivot), to give an at-a-glance view of the performance trend. Remember, performances can be effected by network congestion and poor routing strategies.

There are also different types of graph to select from:

There is often a delay when using this function, especially if the host is unavailable. Please be patient! - it may look like the program has stalled, but it is just waiting for a response.

Remember, Network or host problems will cause a delay and the performance results can be effected by network congestion and poor routing strategies.

• Syntax Check

This checks the integrity of all the command settings contained in the httpd.conf file. Any errors will be displayed.

Note: If the syntax is okay, but Apache is still not starting. Check the Apache errors log, as it is likely your network settings are incorrect.

• Error Logs

The error log contains captured details of Apache server activity. The level of detail captured is defined by the user. Controls for this can be found in the category.

The error log analyser is a fast way to extract specific log entries, and then view these entries based on date, client and user details. Using this facility is very easy:

• Transaction Logs

This facility allows you to record all NetLoony actions, so you know what was configured and when. You can monitor performance using the performance monitoring tool, then refer to the transactions logs to match what was commands were configured to make which performance change.

Any actions recorded include date, time and the command or section involved. The date and time for using NetLoony is also recorded.

The logging is configurable to which actions you would like to record:


Sections (such as directories, virtual hosts etc.)

These logs can be automatically purged using the Housekeeping function, if required, to save disk space. The logs can be to keep a constant 25 to 150 entries, or no restriction at all.

• User & Group Access

This function is found in the mod_auth sub-category. It creates the necessary group and user files to enable basic authentication.

To create a new USER basic authorisation file:

To create a new GROUP is even easier:

• Remote Configuration

Until the remote configuration module is developed and released (which will allow you to configure multiple servers from one window), here are the instructions to run NetLoony remotely, allowing you to graphically configure remote servers (one window per remote server). These instructions relate only to X11 platforms only:

  1. Each remote host must have Java and JFC/Swing components (if required) installed.

  2. Each remote host must have NetLoony installed.

  3. Each remote host must have X11 installed, but not necessarily running (to keep resource usage at the minimum).

  4. Allow remote hosts to direct their display to your machine by:

    • xhost - any remote host user;
      COMMAND: xhost +hostmachinename

    • xauth - specific remote host users;
      COMMAND: refer to xauth manual pages and your current xauth configuration

  5. rlogin or telnet into the remote host, and login.

  6. Change directory to the NetLoony root directory (where all the *.class files are located).

  7. Enter the command: java vision -display yourmachinename:0 &

  8. NetLoony will start as normal, but all actions will relate only to the remote host.
Be careful not to have too many remote NetLoony windows displayed at once. Things could start to get a little confusing as there is no indication of which window belongs to which host apart from the server configurations themselves.

• Apache Build & Install

This function provides a graphical interface for the excellent Apache 1.3 Autoconf-style Interface (APACI); the './configure' command in other words, which is currently only available for UNIX machines.

Here are the reasons why we thought it was necessary to implement a GUI for APACI:

  1. Functions and Modules: Make the user aware of all the functions and modules available.

  2. Configuration Settings: Allow settings to be saved and used for future Apache releases.

  3. Errors: Reduce possible typo errors and prompt the user when errors occur.

What might the user gain from this?

  1. Performance: We have found a lot of users are not too sure of which modules to compile into the Apache Binary, so 'most' or 'all' modules are compiled in - thinking this is a safe option. This results in a rapid loss of performance. Being made aware of what is available and compiling exactly what is required will always optimise the performance of the Apache server.

  2. Integrity: The same reason as above, but also the user is being made aware of any errors and configuration rules.

  3. Reduced Maintenance: Users are able to have the required configuration recorded and recalled. This can be used for future updates or when further builds are required. The user is informed of any errors and the progress of the build process. Also, information is shown for every configuration setting as they are used.

  4. Flexibility: Options are available for novice and experts; these are indicated in the 'Further Information' display.

Configuration Categories

1 Main Contains configuration actions and a display of action results
2 Layout Directory, File or Value options (enable with user defined value)
3 Standard Modules List of standard Apache modules with options (enable, disable, shared)
4 Other Modules User definable list of 3rd party modules with options (add, activate, shared)
5 Rules List of Apache configuration rules with options (enable, disable)
6 Variables List of Apache configuration variables with options (enable with user defined value)
7 suEXEC List of Apache suEXEC options (enable with user defined value)
8 Options Miscellaneous options and Help documents

Further Information & Help - built-in information or Apache documentation relating to variables, modules, commands or actions

Settings - interface for configuring settings

Configuring these settings is very easy:

Actions - implement configuration

Clicking, or enabling 'show-layout' in options then clicking 'Configure', is a worthwhile habit. Using either forces VFA to perform a basic check for any anomalies. If these are found they are removed. 'Configure' without 'show-layout' will perform this check, then run APACI immediately afterwards; this should be done when you are happy with the integrity of the settings.

The above message is displayed while actions are processing. When this disappears, you will be informed that either errors occurred or the process has completed. Some machines take longer to process than others so please be patient.

Errors - being made aware of anomalies

You will be informed of any errors during 'Configure', 'Make' or 'Install' actions.

A window will pop up informing you that errors have occurred:

Output - results of actions

Example of APACI submission ('Configure') results:

Example of ('Make') results:

Missing Options - APACI options that have not been implemented.

These can be implemented in future updates if there is enough demand.

NetLoony Extra Functions