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Acorn Internet User Guide


5 Configuring the Web browser

You must configure !WebServe (the Web browser proxy/cache server) and the browser itself, !Browse.

Note: the Browser has been designed to work on a single machine, or over a network. So if you are a single user, you will see options which do not apply to your use.

Page caches

Web pages usually contain colour images, hence tend to be large in file size. Some even contain audio and full-motion video files as well, so they take a comparatively long time to load down the telephone line or network.

For this reason it is very useful to be able to 'cache' (store) frequently-used pages nearer to the computer where they are to be viewed. Pages can be cached on a stand-alone computer or on a 'cache-server' for a local network if you have one.

Your Internet service provider may also offer a cache server at its point of presence, to cut out the time taken to load pages from the Internet itself. You may also wish to use a third-party cache, such as that at Demon (see below).

The proxy/cache server

The Acorn Internet proxy/cache server (!WebServe) allows your computer to cache pages locally and to look for them on a remote server. You should configure this before you start using the Web browser.

Configuring the remote server path

Double-click on the !WebServe icon (in !Boot.Resources) to load the application onto your icon bar.

Click Adjust on the WebServe icon bar icon to display the WebServe choices dialogue box (or choose Choices... from the icon bar menu):

Enter the following details for Webserve:
  • If your service supplier has a proxy server, enter its address and port number in the Remote proxy field. Your supplier will tell you what this is. (This is not obligatory.)
  • Enter the Cache size required and the Maximum number of simultaneous connections you want to allow to the cache (10-12 is an average number: too many will slow down the response time).
  • Enter the TCP/IP port number of the mail server machine used for connecting with its local clients. This is set by default to 80, which is the normal value.
  • WebServe will try to connect with the remote proxy cache unless you tick Assume connection is already active.
  • Tick the next option not to allow other machines to connect with the the server
  • Finally, you can choose whether or not WebServe displays an icon bar icon.

Clicking Select on the WebServe icon bar icon (or choosing Status... from the menu) will display the current status of proxy cache access.

Setting the local cache size and expiry times

The Web browser will cache pages on a machine's hard disc in an application called !WebCache, which !WebServe expects to find in the same directory as itself.

Load !Connect, then choose Admin/Expiry times/URLs from the !Connect icon bar menu. The URL expiry times dialogue box will be displayed:

Type in the amount of space on your hard disc you can devote to caching Web pages: a minimum of 10MB is recommended. A larger cache will perform better if you are using the Web heavily. When the space limit is reached, the least-recently-used site will be flushed from the cache.

Set the Default expiry time for cached Web pages. Cached pages will be flushed when they reach their expiry time.

You can specify a different expiry time for (an) individual page(s) if you enter its address in the 'Expiry time for URL' box and set its new expiry time. You will want to flush some pages, such as satellite weather pictures, after only a day or so.

Flushing the cache

If you need to flush (clear out) your page cache, for whatever reason, choose Flush cache from the WebServe icon bar menu.

Making the proxy/cache server available to other Web Browsers

!WebServe will only serve pages to users !Connect knows about and who have Web access. If you are using other (possibly non-Acorn) Web Browsers as well as Acorn Internet software, however, it is possible for these browsers to be served pages by !WebServe as a user called `alien' has been registered with !Connect and given Web access. In this way a request for a page from another Browser will not be blocked by !Connect.

Browser configuration

Double-click on !Browse to load it onto your icon bar.

Changing the way the Web browser looks

You can change the way the Web browser looks by using the options on the Choices icon bar menu to show or hide certain graphical elements in the Web browser window.

There are seven Choices dialogue boxes: the first to be displayed is the Page dialogue box:

Page Choices:
  • Enter the URL (address) of your Home page
  • Tick to show links underlined
  • Tick to use the colours from the page
  • Tick to display images
  • Tick to display backgrounds
  • Choose the character set used by the browser (leave at Latin-1 for European languages)

You can prevent inline images and backgrounds from being loaded when you're viewing pages. Because the Web browser needs to load only the text for the page and not the graphics files associated with any inline images, selecting these options can make page loading much faster.

Changes you make here affect new browser windows only.

Click on Browser to display the Browser window dialogue box:

Browser Choices:

Tick to:

  • Display the URL field
  • Display the status bar
  • Display the button (option) bar

Changes you make here affect new browser windows only.

Not displaying these gives you more room for content on the screen.
You can also:

  • Support Client Pull (automatic reloading of web pages)
  • Support Frames
  • Pretend to be Navigator™ (some pages only let you in if this is ticked, others may only work if it is unticked

Any changes you make here will apply to new page fetches.

Click on Colours to display the Colours dialogue box:

  • The colour of the background
  • The colour for text (foreground)
  • The colour for new unselected links
  • The colour for links you have followed
  • The highlight colour

Changes you make to Colours will take immediate effect on open windows. HTML pages which specify their own colours will override these choices (unless Display/Use document colours is off for that window).

Click on Fonts to display the Fonts dialogue box:

Font Choices:
  • Set the standard main Body text font
  • Set the standard Headings font
  • Set the standard Fixed-width font (for code fragments, ReadMe files, and so on)
  • Set the Base size for fonts used by the Browser
  • Set the aspect ratio (i.e. the relationship between the height and the width) of the fixed-width font used. Values less than 100% give a narrower, more space-efficient font. PRE is one of the html tags using a fixed-width font.
  • You can alternatively choose system font for use in the Browser.

Changes you make to Fonts will take immediate effect on open windows

Click on Hotlist to display the Hotlist dialogue box:

Hotlist Choices:
  • Choose whether or when when your Hotlist should be Saved
  • Choose how favourite pages should be Displayed in the Hotlist (by URL or page desciption)
  • Choose the Drag and Drop time delays in seconds for
  • opening and
  • Scrolling the Hotlist

Any changes you make to the Hotlist will take effect immediately.

Click on History to display the History dialogue box:

History list Choices:
  • Choose whether to and if so when to Save pages visted in the current session
  • Display the pages visited by their Page descriptions or by their URLs
  • Keep a History list of Pages or Images visited

    Choose the Expiry criteria for your history list:

  • Expire by age: items will be deleted from the list after the time you set here:
  • Set the number of Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks or Months after which items will be deleted
  • Expire by age: items will be deleted from the list when their total size exceeds the value you set here:
  • Set the number of KBytes for the History list file; when this size is reached old items will be deleted

Any changes you make to the History list will take effect immediately.

Click on Others to display the Others dialogue box:

  • You can choose whether or not your Browser supports Tables on the next and subsequent fetches.
  • If tables are allowed, then you can set the type of borders (if any) you want displayed (2D, 3D or Auto 2D/3D). Changing borders has an immediate effect.
  • Choose whether or not to support data types requiring 'helper' applications, or 'Plug-ins' (see Playing other multimedia types).
  • If you do allow the Browser to support these data types,you can choose the point at which Plug-ins are launched:
    • Don't start
    • Only when the data is viewed on the page, or
    • As soon as possible.

    Plug-ins require quite a lot of memory to run, so you may not want them to load right away, or at all.
    Support for these objects will be active from the next fetch
  • You can also choose whether or not you want to use a local proxy server, such as !WebServe. If you make a change to this option, click on Save; the change will take effect next time you start the Browser.

Network configuration

Sorry, but this is unavailable from the front-end in this version. If you're feeling adventurous, you can always edit the !Browse.Choices file, but always take a backup copy to revert to if things go wrong.

This edition Copyright © 3QD Developments Ltd 2015
Last Edit: Tue,03 Nov 2015