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1 Week 2 - COAP 3180

1.1 Topics Covered

We will explore (concurrently) the following topics:

Web application architecture overview

  • Overview of web hosting alternatives
  • Application architectures / frameworks overview
  • WAMP/LAMP software bundles and applications, various options
  • Use of a portable WAMP architecture (Mowes)
  • The three tier model

Short overview of databases

  • What is a Database and how is it used in Internet applications ?
  • Relational data base management systems (RDBMS) and ownership of databases
  • MySQL (databases, tables and users): First contact with this RDBMS

Portalware (Content management systems / light-weight web application frameworks)

  • Short overview of typical LAMP-based systems systems (and similar)
  • An overview of typical installation and configuration work.

1.2 Classroom activities

1.2.1 Monday

(1) Mix, download and install a Mowes combo'

(a) Download the Modular Webserver System (Mowes) server

You will need at least the following modules

  • Server software
Apache 2_SE
  • Mission critical application software (!!)
  • Application software

(b) Dezip the downloaded archive to drive c:\temp2

  • Ask a lab assistant or the instructor if you need help with 7zip

(c) Click on Mowes.exe

  • This will install the Mowes server in the directory plus install all the downloaded application software. Be patient. This may take some time.

(d) You can add other portals by downloading a new module from MOWES. Drop the file to the top-level directory and restart the mowes application.

Getting your own copy

  • You may copy the whole directory to a memory stick (may take a full hour to copy). Applications will continue to work. Mowes doesn't write anything to a system directory or the registry and will adapt to a new directory structure.
  • Alternatively, you can re-enact the process at home on your personal computer...
Donwlaod again from

(2) A tour of the Mowes WAMP system

  • The instructor will show some features of the system and relate it to an introductory talk about web applications

(3) Playing with portalware

(4) Configuration of portalware (Mowes)

  • Mowes packages all include the same admin login and password.
Login = admin and password = password
  • You may need to figure the admin URL for each application.

1.2.2 Wednesday

(1) Configuration of Wordpress

       18348 09-24 15:25 GPL.txt
         660 09-24 15:25 Licence.txt
           0 01-12 22:08 apache2
           0 01-12 22:07 mowes
      409600 09-24 15:25 mowes.exe
           0 01-12 22:08 mysql
           0 01-12 22:08 php5
                         wordpress.pck  <- newly added Mowes package
           0 01-12 22:13 www
    • (re)start the server. Wordpress will be automatically installed
  • Update
    • Log in as admin (password = password)
    • Click on the update banner to automatically update Wordpress to a latest version. (also available in Tools->Upgrade)

(2) Configure wordpress

  • Change the theme
  • Change the contents of the first default article, then post an article
  • Remove / add links
  • Add the formidable plugin (
    • This will allow you to create forms (a bit like Zoho creator)
    • Click on the "Formidable" icon at the bottom of the left-hand "Dashboard" column in the admin interface and define a form
    • Create a page (click on pages), then add the "formidable" form inside. Use the following code to insert a form:
[ formidable id=x ]
  • Add a user or two and test drive with these (using a different web browser)

(3) Installing applications that are not packaged by MOWES

  • Create a database and a database user with PhpMyAdmin
  • Download, dezip to mowes/www directory
  • Install/configure the system according to instructions found

Students not familiar with this procedure should install a new version of wordpress.

(3) Discussion about web hosting

1.3 Homework 2

Topic: High-level exploration of a portalware (CMS/CMF) / preparation of the term project

1.3.1 Task

Task Summary:

  1. Shortly sketch out a website project for a given targent audience
  2. Collect links about a portalware (not wordpress) that "may do the job" and create a resource about this select
  3. Finally, try to install it on a local webserver (or a provider) and make a simple test to see if it runs

Deliverable: Produce a resource (e.g. an HTML page) that includes the five following elements:

(1) Objectives and target population of a web site that you plan to create. This website must include some dynamic elements (e.g. the possibility to add contents for specified users). Here is nice little template from the wordpress codex:

This website will be dedicated to X, Y, and Z,

and cover the topics of A, B, and C. The audience will

be __________ ________________ _______. I will be adding

posts every _____________ about ________ _______ ______________.

I am doing this because _____________ _____________ __________________.

(2) Provide some links to useful information. Create a shortlist of three CMS/CMF systems that run under PHP/MySQL. Select the most promising one and add the following links:

  • Download page of the software
  • A link to two respectable websites that provide comments and evaluations of this system
  • Link to the installation manual
  • Link to the configuration manual (if different)
  • 2-3 links to other useful help sites

(3) Make a simple test. Install the system with MOWES. If the installation fails, try to explain why and skip step 4.

(4) Create at least one form of content and explain what you had to do to get it down and tell us if it was difficult.

(5) Write a short general comment about the portware you looked at. Do you think that it might be suitable for your needs ?

Important: You are not allowed to choose Wordpress (WP) since I want to look at another system, but you may choose WP for the term project ...)

You can create this resource in three ways:

  • Create a webpage on your PC and upload the web page to the worldclassroom (you don't need to hand code HTML, just use a tool like Kompozer)
  • Create a netvibes pagecast and submit the URL (see hw 1)
  • Use your own personal web site, e.g. create a blog post and submit the URL.

This homework is a preparation for the term project. Doing it will help you get started.

1.3.2 Submission Dates

  • This homework is due on wednesday week 3 (before lesson start)
  • Students must provide an URL or upload an HTML file in the world classroom (no Word!).
  • Each homework counts 10% in your global evaluation. The four best homeworks will be taken into account.

1.3.3 Evaluation

see the grading form in the worldclassroom

1.4 Tips for the homework

  • The easiest solution is to select a CMS/CMF system that is available as Mowes package, e.g. ModX, Typolight, Drupal, Joomla, Zikula (all CMS/CMF)
  • Otherwise start from the links in the Portalware article. Do not google for finding a good CMS (too many websites you will have to sort out). Best bet is to start exploring Ambitious students should try this strategy. It you help you become a CMS expert :)

1.5 Links and teaching materials


Teaching materials


I suggest that you have a look at the following articles. Reading is not mandatory, but may help you understand some concepts and issues.