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Office Automation & Intranets BUSS 909 Lecture 9 Intranet Functionality 1: Message Boards, Real-Time Chat, WebChat etc
Notices (1) • Hand in Assignment 2 • I must have the names of people in teams for Assignment 3, together with one person nominated as Team Leader, before close of business today! • Check my door from tomorrow on for student assignments to teams
Notices (2) • we will discuss aspects of Assignment 3, the assignment text, required files etc. will be available from the BUSS909 Intranet in the next week… • …after you have organised yourself into groups!!!
Agenda • in this lecture, we will discuss: • Internet CHAT • Web-CHAT • Message Boards (very briefly) • we will NOT discuss: • Internet Phone- only useful as an alternatives to traditional phones • email- well known- useful for intranets- trivial to implement
IntranetsFunctional Capabilities • the functional capabilities of an intranet- the subject of the next three lectures- should be determined • according to its potential and actual utility to the organisation, and • must be continually evaluated in the context of overall business objectives
IntranetsFunctional Capabilities • there are three major kinds of functions that intranets can provide organisations • in order to increasing sophistication they are: • providing interactive communications • displaying general information • sharing business data
Course and Assignment 3Lectures Weeks 10-12 • Intranet Functionality 1: Message Boards, Real-Time CHAT, WebCHAT etc • Intranet Functionality 2: Textual Media and Database Integration • Intranet Functionality 3: Temporal (Audio, Video) and New Media (QTVR, VRML)
Course and Assignment 3Lectures Weeks 10-12 I II III 8-12 Intranets 1 Subject Synopsis 2 Data Comms 3-6 OA, CSCW, Groupware 13-14 Future Developments 7 SGML HTML, WWW Lectures Tutorials Client-side NetObjects Client-side NetObjects Team-based NetObjects A1 A2 A3 Writing in Commerce Search Engines
Internet Chat • Internet Chat unlike e-mail can be used to implement synchronous communications tools for intranets: • allow two or more users to maintain an open channel • information can be sent and received in real-time (no significant time delay)
Internet Chat • once text-only, Chat tools support graphics and hypertext links. • unlike other technologies discussed in this lecture, Internet Chat has relatively low bandwidth requirements • makes Chat a good intermediate tool for facilitating synchronous communication among groups on Intranets/Extranets
Internet ChatInternet Relay Chat (IRC) • Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was designed as a replacement for the UNIX talk function, which enabled two people to converse in text in real-time over the Internet • multiple users converse in text using a shared channel on the Internet. • became very popular, due to its use in the Gulf War etc.
Internet ChatTechnical Protocol • Protocol used in implementing Internet CHAT is described in RFC 1459 • three different communication methods are used with the IRC protocol: • client to client • one to many: one to a list or to a channel • broadcast: to all IRC servers on the network
Internet ChatInternet Relay Chat (IRC) • Consists of a network of > 10,000 users online at any given time. IRC worldwide has on average: • about 18,000 users, and • 5,000 channels or discussion areas • commercial IRC client products are available to help users communicate using IRC.
Internet ChatIRC Nets • popular IRC Nets include EFnet, UnderNet and DALnet (see Links section). • Chat services, like those at America Online (AOL), account for about 30% of revenues • lots of commands used, and a netiquette surrounding its use
Internet ChatLogin Procedure • users run a client program, which connects to either the IRC network or the company's own server. • chat servers pass messages from user to user over the Chat network. • logged in, the user can list all the channels, and join the necessary channel.
Internet ChatChannel selection and Paging • on joining a channel, anything the user types can be read by the other channel members. • It is possible to page other users who are in different channels, and to talk to a user privately by using the /msg command.
IRC CommandsGeneral & Private General Commands NICK changes your nickname QUIT exits your IRC session, (same as BYE, SIGNOFF and EXIT) HELP prints help on the given command WHOIS displays information about someone WHOWAS displays information about someone who just left AWAY leaves a message saying you're not paying attention Private Conversation Commands MSG sends a private message QUERY starts a private conversation NOTICE sends a private message NOTIFY warns you of people logging in or out IRC IGNORE removes output from specific people off your screen
IRC CommandsChannel Commands Channel Commands LIST lists channels, number of users, topic NAMES shows the nicknames of the users on each channel JOIN sets your current channel, (same as CHANNEL) WHO gives a listing of users INVITE sends an invitation to another user LEAVE leaves a channel, (same as PART) KICK gets rid of someone on a channel TOPIC changes the topic of the channel ME sends anything about you to a channel or QUERY DESCRIBE sends anything about you to a person or channel
IRC CommandsEditing & Client-Client General Editing Comands ! recalls previous commands for re-editing HISTORY displays the command history LASTLOG lists the most recent messages CLEAR puts some white space on your screen Client-to-Client Commands CTCP performs certain client specific actions DCC handles direct connections to remote clients DCC SEND initiates a file transfer DCC GET accepts a file transfer DCC CLOSE ends a DCC connection or offer DCC LIST shows current DCC connections DCC CHAT initiates a secure chat between two clients
IRC CommandsAdministration Administrative Commands ADMIN displays information about a server LINKS shows the servers on the IRC network SERVER switches your primary server MOTD displays the server message-of-the-day USERS prints users logged on the server machine DATE shows server current date and time TIME shows server current date and time LUSERS gives a brief listing of users, servers and operators TRACE shows the server connections of the given server STATS shows some irc server usage statistics INFO shows useless information about IRC VERSION shows client and server version number
Internet ChatMessage Boards • related technology to IRC is that of message boards- where files can be posted to a ‘shared area’ • when the user logs in either: • an email is sent by the Message Board System informing them that a message or file is available for download, or • the message or file is simply delivered to them
Internet ChatBusiness Applications • Business users should use a graphical user interface to IRC- don’t need to learn the commands • until recently, few businesses actually depended on chat systems in the Extranet and Intranet environments. • but, WebChat lends itself to a variety of business communication applications
Internet ChatBusiness use in Extranets • Easy business case to mount for Extranets • companies use corporate Web site to allow public visitors to join a chat group in which particular product information from the company is being discussed • sales representative from the company moderates the chat room
Internet ChatBusiness use for Intranets • Brainstormingconsuming less band-width than video-conferencing, Internet phone conference calls • Special interestdiscussion groups • Real-time technical support • Human Resources- enhancing employee training methods • Example: Quarterdeck's Global Stage http://www.qdeck.com/chat/
Internet ChatIntranets Usage Issues (1) • there are a number of issues relevant to the decision to include Chat facilities on intranets: • Restricted channels- Moderated and unmoderated channels • number of simultaneous users • what kind of technical support, maintenance, and upgrades
Internet ChatIntranets Usage Issues (2) • Integration with broad range of Web-based member databases • are custom enhancements available or possible • what are the capabilities of the client • client applications for business should have graphical or command-based user interfaces. Most IRC clients use slash commands, such as /JOIN
Internet ChatIntranets Usage Issues (3) • is the client supported on all relevant machine architectures • is easy the product easy to use • does the product support open systems • intranet chat is unsecured- what about extremely sensitive information; privacy issues
Internet ChatNew Developments • New developments include: • Chat directly integrated into 4.0 Browsers • New proprietary Chat Based technologies (ICU- see later) • Java applet-based chat services • 3D chat enabled by Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML) in which channels become virtual and where users can explore them as spaces
Internet ChatVRML based CHAT • Users create an avatar to represent themselves in the virtual space • the avatar can communicate basic chat expressions such as a grin with simple animations (based on CHAT netiquette) • because of bandwidth limitations, high-speed intranet environment is needed to make it work sensibly • what can it be used for in business?
Internet ChatVRML based CHAT • software is available that enables you to scan in body parts (your own for example) and create a character that can be used in VRML based Chat sessions • the business case for this kind of capability is dubious at best!
Internet ChatVRML based CHAT Examples • Active Worlds Chat- one of the first VRML Chat systems. Requires proprietary browser to run demo • Microsoft V-Chat: 'beta' VRML chat field. Free VRML chat client available. • OnLive! Technologies: several beta browsers and clients available with chat sites such as MTV, Monday night football and a kewl world called Utopia.
ICQ- I Seek You- • ICQ is an example of a technology that provides extended Chat services including message boards etc. • I will attempt to install the Groupware version of ICQ for BUSS909 Intranet • provide chat facilities and conferencing for individual and group online consultations between lecturers students, students- students, etc...
ICQUser Services • ICQ is a product based around extensions to Internet Chat • it enables users to know who is on-line at any time and enables users to contact each other at will • it also provides facilities for message boards, data conferencing, file transfers and Internet games
ICQPeer-to-Peer • supports any peer-to-peer application • a peer-to-peer network is in effect a ‘server-less’ network where all the functions are performed through two or more workstations- example of a peer-to-peer network is Lantastic • a peer-to-peer application is in effect a 1:1 application • examples of peer-to-peer applications- Microsoft NetMeeting or Netscape CoolTalk
ICQSupports Multiple Users • also provides a multiple-user mode, so groups can conduct conferences • client runs in the background, but alerts the user when specific people log-in
Summary (1) • Web browser enabled Chat provides employees to explore a text-based method of real-time communication, • it also preserves bandwidth for other intranet applications
Summary (2) • while Internet phones and video-conferencing are more sophisticated Internet communications tools • but Chat is a more practical and realistic choice to facilitate synchronous communication within a corporation.
Further Reading • Earthweb.COM- IT Library: Intranets Unleashed http://www.itlibrary.com/library/1575211157/contents.htm • Fournier, R. (1999) A Methodology for Client/Server and Web Application Development Yourdon Press Computing Series, NJ: Yourdon Press, Prentice Hall • Naik, D. (1998) Internet Standards and Protocols Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press • Greer, T. (1998) Understanding Intranets Strategic Technology Series Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press
Links Connected Media.COM IRC Central Newbies Page http://www.connected-media.com/IRC/newbies.htm Johansen, O. N. (1999) IRClub on Efnet http://www.irclub.org/ Undernet http://www.undernet.org DalNet http://www.dal.net ICQ Inc. http://www.icq.com/index.html Pioch, N. (1997) A Short IRC Primer http://www.blackened.com/irchelp/ircprimer.html Groupware ICQ Download http://www.mirabilis.com/groupware/ Sven Technologies- Avatar Maker http://www.avatarmaker.com/products/avatarmaker/ Quarterdeck's Global Stage http://www.qdeck.com/chat/