Featuring a powerful web server and a flexible Web publishing component, Idonex AB’s Roxen Platform is a comprehensive and highly extensible suite of tools for building and maintaining a busy Web site.
Roxen Platform 1.3 Release 2 is one of the most complete Web server packages we tested. A former Best of Comdex winner, Roxen Platform earned an Analyst’s Choice designation with its latest release.
The Roxen Challenger Web server has many of the strengths of the popular freeware Apache Web server, such as modular extensibility and wide platform support, but is much more easily managed and configured through its excellent browser-based interface.
These capabilities, coupled with a solid publishing component, an excellent feature for building searchable site indexes and thorough administration capabilities, make Roxen Platform an excellent choice for running even the most complex and heavily trafficked Web sites.
Roxen Platform, which was released this month, has proved capable of doing just that, not only in a lab but also in the real world. In tests it easily outperformed Apache on the same hardware while running on Linux. In addition, it is used to run high-volume sites such as the home page for Real Networks Inc.
Roxen Platform is priced at $11,800 – expensive for a business seeking only a Web server, but a relative bargain considering the package’s capabilities for management, extensibility and publishing. Roxen has excellent platform support, running on every flavor of Unix and also under Windows NT.
Roxen is built on Pike, a C-like programming language developed by Idonex. Pike can be directly called within scripts in Web pages. Most important, Pike can be used to create modules that can extend the core functionality of Roxen Platform, allowing businesses to create unique capabilities. Roxen also includes a variety of modules that can be added to the server, enabling capabilities from secure connections to Lightweight Directory Access Protocol support. However, it has nowhere near the same number of available modules as Apache, which benefits from its large open-source community.
Addition is as easy as ABC
Adding a module to a server is simply a matter of clicking on it within the administration interface and handling any necessary configurations for that module. Modules can be added without having to restart the server.
Using Roxen Platform, we were able to quickly configure multiple Web servers on a single system, assigning open port numbers to each server. We could define very detailed configurations for each server, down to the access controls, programming languages and resources allowed. It was also possible to define variables that affected the entire Roxen Platform.
The administration interface also provides useful tools such as an automatic configuration troubleshooter, path resolution, and an easy interface for automatically upgrading the Roxen software and modules.
SiteBuilder, another component in Roxen Platform, enables surprisingly powerful Web publishing capabilities that rival those included in many Web content management packages. Using SiteBuilder, we could enforce the site layout while providing a means for users to easily edit or add content to a site. We could define user and group publishing rights to the server and define how and where users could make changes.
A comprehensive view
Within SiteBuilder, we could view all information on pages in a site, viewing all edits to a page. We could restore a page to a previous version and could also control some of the metadata within a file (see screen). The biggest weakness in SiteBuilder is the lack of a workflow model, although a user could build a module to create workflow capabilities.
Also new in Release 2 is the Application Launcher component, which lets users edit any content on the site directly from a preferred editor application. However, this application relies on the freeware Samba to access server content, which makes setup difficult and raises some security concerns. Roxen now supports HTTP 1.1, and Idonex should have used that language, rather than Samba, for access controls.
Businesses building highly dynamic and database-intensive sites can get a lot out of Roxen’s Roxen Markup Language, a server-side, tag-based language that provides flexible Web application capabilities. This is a good scripting language, but it isn’t portable outside Roxen. Businesses that need portable apps should base them on more standard tools such as CGI or Java servlets, both of which are supported in Roxen.
Roxen Platform’s LogView log analysis tool delivers comprehensive reporting through the browser administration interface. Roxen also provides some basic real-time status reporting.