Roxen WebServer 2.2

An alternative to Apache, this Swedish company's web server offers modularity, a built-in macro language (RXML) and Pike.
Modules, Modules, Modules

The Roxen WebServer is highly modular, much more so than Apache. In fact, Roxen sometimes needs a couple of modules to do the simplest task. Many preconfigured modules are included that you can enable, disable and setup from the administrative interface. Roxen modules also can be added on the fly, as opposed to Apache modules. It is also much easier to write your own module for Roxen than it is for Apache. The module writer can concentrate on the actual functions in her module because the Roxen WebServer provides frameworks such as the user interface and I/O operations. This approach also ensures the same user interface, and each virtual site can use its own subset of modules. Roxen modules can be written in Pike or Java.

Database Support

The Roxen WebServer includes a generic database API (accessible through the Pike interpreter), which is used to connect to a different SQL databases. Pike includes native drivers for Oracle 7/8, (you will need to install OCI, Oracle Client Libraries though), Sybase, Informix, MySQL, Postgres and ODBC data sources. You can use the administrative interface to test database connections or to run SQL queries, to browse tables or to perform any other administrative actions for the database engine.

More interesting is that the Roxen WebServer includes a wrapped MySQL server and uses it for storing the system configuration, usernames, passwords, images and help documents. This MySQL sever can be administered entirely through the Roxen web interface as well. Roxen also includes (available through the web interface) for backing up and restoring its internal databases. The internal web server data can be replicated with a shared MySQL database, an excellent idea because it enables many Roxen servers to share the same configuration data, all stored in a single MySQL database.

Scripting with Roxen

There are several ways to run scripts in Roxen, and it supports such standards as CGI, FastCGI and SSI. In addition, a built-in macro language RXML(Roxen Macro Language) is also provided. Most popular language scripts can cooperate with Roxen, however, most of them only as CGI scripts. Of course, the most important thing for most web developers is the question of PHP support. In answer, Roxen lacks native PHP support, but there is an experimental module for embedded PHP. The only officially supported mode of running PHP with Roxen is the old-fashioned way, running PHP scripts as CGI scripts.

Let's move on to Perl. The included Perl module provides support for both Perl scripts and Perl tags inside HTML code. In both cases, the actual Perl code is executed in a subprocess and not in the main Roxen process. The module will catch requests to documents whose path ends with any of the suffixes indicated by the extensions setting in the Perl module configuration. The defaults are .perl and .pl. Perl tags, or processing instructions, will be available if the module setting Enable Perl tag is set to Yes. This means that RXML (see below) pages can use Perl code that looks like:

<?perl print scalar(localtime), "\n"; ?>'

The Perl module also optionally provides a <perl></perl> container for embedding Perl code directly inside static HTML.

Roxen also includes its own scripting extension RXML (Roxen Macro Language); it is called a scripting language, but it's not a full featured language. RXML simply adds a new subset of tags to commonly used HTML tags, and it is similar to XML when you look at its tags and entity-based syntax. The really usable RXML feature is that it can be extended with new tags, by writing new modules or creating wrapper tags.

RXML is simple enough to be used by web designers that do not know programming. The common example for RXML power is the If tag, which makes it possible to create dynamic pages based on conditions. RXML makes it easy to have page optimization for different web browsers and screen resolutions or to limit access to pages that can be viewed only by authenticated users.

Java Support

The Roxen WebServer includes a Java servlet bridge module, which is its interface to Java servlets. To have Java support loaded, the Roxen installer must find a Java 2.0 SDK-compliant virtual machine during installation. Unfortunately I've had trouble using my favorite Java VM, IBM's Java Develop Kit for Linux 1.3.0, with Roxen. I was unable to configure the Java servlet bridge due to compilation errors. In theory, a Java servlet is installed by adding a copy of the Java servlet bridge module. Java modules are just .class files or .jar files within the normal module directories and behave in the same way as do Pike modules. Roxen documentation includes a detailed instruction for setting this all up and examples of how to do it.

______________________

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Roxen Web Server and RSA key and a Self Signed Certificate

Anonymous's picture

I'm unable to create the named above for some wicked reason:

Error: Modulo on different types.

RXML frame backtrace:

| <eval>

| <if variable="form.action">

| <if variable="form.cancel">

| <contents>

| <define variable="var.__contents">

| <colorscope bgcolor="#eef2fb">

| <st-page>

| <contents>

| <nooutput>

| <subtablist preparse="" width="100%">

| <contents>

| <cv-split>

| <contents>

| <cset quote="none" variable="var.content">

| <content>

| <contents>

| <gauge resultonly="yes" variable="var.time-parse-spent">

| <nooutput>

| <gauge resultonly="yes" variable="var.time-spent">

| <tmpl title=" /actions/index.html">

Unknown program: `%(Year(2002),100)

any idea?

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Can someone mention any big/serious websites running on Roxen webserver?

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Well, WorldCom is deploying local websites around the world using. See www.worldcom.com.

RTL in Holland is using it for many (about 100 I heard) sites for their radio stations, tv channels and tv shows.

Numerous universities in Sweden, Germany, Holland, USA, etc is using it.

Granada in UK is using it for about 5-10 different channel or show sites, and is adding more every week/month.

All above is using Platform.

There are more, but these should be enough to answer your question

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Well, congratulations to your sails staff.

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

opps "sales" ;)

Oh hoj, oh hoj!

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Real Networks (www.real.com) works/used to work with Roxen 1.3.

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Why use Apache instead?

There is a large base of on-line, web and newsgroup based help, commbined and technical books (including a Apache for Dummies book) meaning problems can generally be solved.

Give me 10 websites with Roxen content ...pretty tough huh?.

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Really? OK, let's see, I'll give you a sample, and if you want more - go to http://www.netcraft.com/ and check the stats.

http://www.real.com/

http://www.riverweb.com/

http://www.xmission.com/ (biiig ISP. well over 1k domains hosted on Roxen)

http://www.roxen.com/ (hehe, that too, surprise :P)

Note, however, that (AFAIK) none of the above moved to Roxen 2, for obvious reasons...

As far as the large base of (...) blah is concerned- why don't you use IIS? It has a very large (knowledge)base on the M$ MSDN site... This kind of argument is simply ridiculous. For dummies you say? Not everybody on this planet is a dummy, fortunately...

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

I believe the post you replied to was talking about Roxen _resources_, not sites running Roxen as their choice of content/web platform.

As far as not using IIS, I simply believe Apache is better for my needs. It also runs better in a Linux environment than IIS.

By the way, was there a specific page on Netcraft you wanted us to see? I cannot seem to find Roxen there. Or perhaps you meant that "Other" includes the Roxen server.

Regards,

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

I find the comments regarding RXML somewhat of an understatement. In fact you can do almost whatever you like to in rxml, although it is in some cases better done by writing a roxen module in pike or java. Furthermore, the database API in roxen is fully reachable using rxml (using ...), which certainly makes it a breeze to write dynamic pages which uses a database backend.

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

(using <emit source=sql>...</emit> was the intended reading.)

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

The "Bad: Unencrypted administrative connections" point is moot; just give a https://... URL when the installation script asks for an administration interface URL, and it's set up for you with a shipped test certificate. Replacing that with a self-generated one once the server is up is, of course, a breeze.

(In fact, more recent releases will suggest an https port by default, since a spello was fixed today in bin/create_configinterface.pike)

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

If Roxen lived up to half of its bells and whistles, it would be great. If you are happy with the free, GPL:d version and need no support from the company that makes the product, you're in Shangri-La.

If you ever need support from the company, or want them to fix one of the many things that do not work properly, you better be ready with a

big, fat wallet -- well above what would be deemed acceptable, IT boom or not.

Most of the people who work at Roxen support do not know their product better than anyone you would ask on the street -- unless you ask very simple questions, that is.

Yes, there is an open source version.

Yes, it is GPL:d and free.

And these things are good.

For anything that requires stability, speed and flexibility, Apache is a better investment of time and/or money.

Considering the fact that very few resources exist on the Internet for Roxen, you are pretty much on your own if you need answers.

Regards,

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Well, anybody taken a look at Caudium? It's a Roxen 1.3 off-spring which is far, far better than Roxen 2.x (not as much bloated, backwards compatible with Roxen 1.3 - a _must_ for many sites out there, including RealNetworks, which heavily depend upon the Roxen 1.3 features), faster and more reliable, actively maintained and, what's more, not dying like Roxen is now... And support? It's there - mailing lists and IRC for now. And it comes with CAMAS - one of the best webmail programs (rumours are it is supposed to turn into a full group-ware solution) writen specifically for Caudium and based on IMHO (the webmail for Roxen)

Check it out, http://caudium.net/

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Saying that it's far better is somewhat misleading.

Say instead that it's far more backwards compatible.

Roxen 2.2 is actually way faster than 1.3/Caudium most of the time, including RXML parsing, but it's not compatible at all (XML instead of basic SGML syntax)

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Have you tried Caudium 1.2? (or better yet, 1.3 with the new caching code?)

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Would you care to elaborate on the "living up to bells&whistles" part?

Regarding the support, I'd like to know your previous encounters and what didn't work. You're welcome to contact me at ian@stacken.kth.se

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Hi Ian,

let's see.. the list is so long I don't know where to begin.

I can list a few I know of in the Roxen platform. Which parts belong to the web server application and which parts belong to the platform environment, I'll leave up to all the superior Roxen people here:

a) a faulty LDAP implementation;

b) a "new and improved" search engine that actually works differently from just about any other search engine (including the one in 2.1);

c) a search engine that seems to be having problems with https/ssl pages/urls.

d) improper use of cpu resources in the windows operating environment (i.e. hogging the cpu while waiting for other tasks to finish, instead of going to sleep).

I'd go on, but I have long since stopped hoping any of this will be fixed.

Regards,

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

a) what do you mean "faulty LDAP implementation" ?

/Honza, (Pike & Roxen LDAP code creator)

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Hello Honza,

See Ians comments about this.

It may not have been an error in your Pike module, but at some layer in the code structure, there certainly were flaws. If Ian says they are being worked out or looked into, that is certainly good news.

Regards

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Those problems are now fixed.

// Ian

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

a) I think I know what you're referring to (Access Control Import and not importing group membership), and that problem is being worked on as we speak.

b) You say differently like it's a bad think. From what I can see, it's designed to work better with Platform (metadata indexing, Access Control checks, integrated word/PDF indexing, prefetch, and it does. A whole lot better than Intraseek did or anydrop-in 3rd party tool (eg ht://dig)

c) I think that you are referring to the fact that Intraseek in 2.1 couldn't handle SSL. Roxen Search in 2.2 does handle SSL.

d) We've fixed a lot of NT related problems since the 2.2

release. Since you seem to know what we're doing wrong and how it should be fixed, I suggest you contact the developers directly or fix it directly (the source code for WebServer and Pike is freely available, and we welcome all initiatives from "outsiders" to work on this code)

Of a,b,c and d, all are more or less invalid (and a,b,c do not even have to do with WebServer).

I'd appreciate if, the next time you start whining about how much we suck, add some context around everything, or preferably contact us directly.

// Ian Delahorne, support @ Roxen IS

ian@stacken.kth.se

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

a) And yet one of our customers were given assurances that LDAP-support in 2.2 was complete. I realize you are not responsible for what some braindead sales person is saying in order to get some cash into the company, but this is a very often re-occuring issue with Roxen. Sales people and product information says one thing, and then when it's time to put your money where your mouth is, we get to hear things like "This module almost works". That's a pretty expensive experience.

b) Tell me this. If you go to a search engine and enter the phrase "temp", do you expect it to give you a match for "template" in its default search mode? I do. And 2.1 handled this just fine. Now 2.2 comes along and the customer has no way of knowing that one must be very precise when specifying search criteria. The customer was also told that (quote) "All your problems with the search engine are handled with the 2.2 upgrade" - this is, of course, after we had spent many hours telling Roxen exactly what the problems were.

c) According to staff at Roxen, 2.2 handles SSL better, but not 100%.

d) It is indeed good news that you have fixed many of the NT related problems "since the 2.2 release". Perhaps that will be of value to some of your NT/Win32-customers in the future.

And then you close your message in true Roxen style. Thank you so much for proving my point. You guys really need to understand that the only way to solve your well-documented cash-flow problem is to start providing your customers with what they pay for.

As a side note, we have contacted you directly, many many times. Perhaps you'd like us to send you a bill for all the time we have spent waiting for answers, chasing bugs, in meetings with your staff, etc.

If you're pissed off about the fact that someone reveals a sad customer tale to others, that's fine. But go and take it out on your boss, or your sales people or some inanimate object.

Regards

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

b) Sorry to disrupt your view of the world, but the cream

of the crop in web search engines disagree. Neither Google, Alltheweb or Altavista work that way.

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

ok, as much as I dislike any Roxen above 1.3 and RIS themselves, I need to say a few words in their defence, responding to what you wrote above:

a) It's not Roxen itself, it's Pike. The Protocol.LDAP module comes from Pike. There's an (in developement) replacement module for it in the Caudium's Pexts which uses the OpenLDAP library.

b) That must be a Platform feature, can't comment on that.

c) ditto

d) well... that sounds like an OS issue rather than the Roxen one...

As for fixing - wouldn't it be nice if anybody finding and complaining about bugs moved their butt and fixed what they found? Bitching is easy, working to fix a bug is a tad bit harder...

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

a) Pike's Protocols.LDAP client code is maintained by me for 3 years. And I don't have any protocol relative issue unresolved.

Pexts' glue for OpenLDAP library is good, but it adds extra dependency (OpenLDAP binary libraries), what can be issue on OpenLDAP unsupported platforms.

/Honza

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

You don't need to go as far as fixing, just stop whining and report through the official channels. We have a good bugtracking system (http://community.roxen.com/crunch/) that anyone's allowed to report Pike and WebServer bugs (and patches) to. We really appreciate feedback in this way. Bugs in Platform are handled by support@roxen.com

//Ian Delahorne, support @ Roxen IS

ian@stacken.kth.se

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Hi Ian,

I'll tell you what.. when you guys start fixing some of the number of problems that have been reported through our customers and stop making excuses, I'll start reporting new problems and encounters via the official channels.

These customers (and myself) are way beyond giving Roxen "another chance" without any show of a different attitude and professionalism from Roxen.

Regards

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Most of my work the latest weeks has been spent sending bug reports to the developers and patches to the customers, or debugging customers setups and/or code.

If you can give me concrete bug reports in any way, shape or form, or references to previous incidents that haven't been fixed in a private mail, I'd be more than happy to take a look at them. I take a dissatisfied customer as somewhat of a personal failure, and I'd like to rectify any damage that has been caused and show our good will.

// Ian Delahorne, support @ Roxen IS

ian@stacken.kth.se

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

By the way, (d) is NOT an OS issue. It's an application issue.

The problem in broken application can of course be fixed by proper pre-emptive multitasking where the OS simply shuts off the application hogging the CPU when it is not behaving. But that is completely besides the point.

It is also basic programming in multitasking environments. Don't loop while waiting, put the thread to sleep.

Regards,

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Ah, yes.. Pike. Of course some problems in the Roxen environment stem from the Pike modules distributed with the various platforms. And if I was talking about a module that was not distributed by Roxen themselves, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

But when we're talking about an official module, supposedly supported by the company, it's a different story.

Rumors has it that there are some payment/licensing issues that prevent the LDAP module from being updated/fixed by its original author.

As far as fixing the problem goes, I have tried to find a reason why I should bother - but I cannot seem to come up with one. I do not promote the use of Roxen, nor do I intend to spend my time fixing their code. I'd much rather work on other OpenSource projects.

Ethics.

Regards

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Who do you call at apache inc for free support? The roxen resources I have found on the internet has fitted my purpouses well. There is also several communities in which answers almost always get provided. I have several roxen intstallations and the ones that servs webpages have uptimes beyond 200 days. Of course you might fail, installing all available modules is almost never a valid option. The same goes for apache. If you compare webservers try to compare relevant mesures.

All gpl:d soft is provided as is. If you're cheap enough to use gpl:d software and call the support I guess you don't understand what gpl is about...

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

I do not call anyone for Apache support. I use this thing we call the world wide web, you may have heard of it. Last time I checked, I got a "few" more hits looking for Apache resources than I did when I was looking for answers to fairly simple problems in Roxen.

An up-time of 200 days, wow. I have _never_ had a crash in Apache that I did not cause myself (by doing something incredibly dumb while building the binaries) nor have I had to restart it unless I have changed its configuration or re-built the binaries.

This thread is not about Apache vs Roxen. It is about Roxen. I simply stated my opinion about Apache being a better web server application.

And as far as cheap goes, I have been working closely with a company that have been nothing less than, bluntly put, ripped off by Roxen.

Regards,

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

I have never had a crashed roxen, that was not what i said. I spooke about uptime witch is time between restarts.

You compared Apache vs Roxen, and I commented.

If you get ripped by roxen, you sure as hell don't get ripped off by using the webserver. Then you use the platform/sitbuilder. If you use the sitbuilder like you use apache, well then I guess you are better of with MS. These are two different products and platform is not free.

I personally think that roxen is easy to use, provides god performance and stability.

WELL WHATS UP

Tyler's picture

You can send vidios to this website and i will do my best to post them on this site

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

We got same problem :(

Roxen really sucks.

Wondering if they have any developers left. They leaving the company ...someone whispered it to me.

/The Tame Fox,

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

The developers didn't leave the company, they were laid off. There are very few left at Roxen today. Perhaps three to four at most. Interestingly enough, they completely avoided announcing this simply by giving people the option to "leave" instead of being fired.

If you use the free product, great, it didn't cost you anything. On the other hand, if you are thinking about buying Platform I would strongly advice against it.

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

That's simply false.

The developers who left the company were mostly working on the free GPL:ed products, Pike and Roxen WebServer.

The number of developers working on the commercial WCM suite (Roxen Platform) has actually increased during the last 6 months.

// Johan Sch

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

So how many developers are there at Roxen in total now, and how many that actually know Pike and Roxen Webserver as good as the ones that were fired?

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

I hope that pushing Pike away from RIS will mean that it will finally stop being a pet project for enhancing Roxen and will start to actually be promoted on the 'Net... So far RIS managed to kill any possible Pike popularity increase. Let's hope this will change and that one day Pike will stand in row with Python, Perl or (yuck) PHP as far as popularity is concerned (because when considering the language quality, Pike is far superrior to Perl or PHP and on par with Python).

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Another way of looking at Pike and Roxen IS is to realize that Roxen IS has funded probably 80- 90% of its development.

That said, I think the move of Pike to a University is a good thing.

// Johan Sch

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

That's not a good angle of view... Funding and killing it at the same time seems like quite an odd kind of pleasure and a weird way of doing business...

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Hi Johan,

it is great to see your message. I assume that this means the stability of the product, its protocol implementations, and a vast number of built-in "features" will start to work like intended.

Congratulations!

Regards,

JoHo

Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

First off, you seem to bee discussing their comercial product (Roxen platform), which they do support. Roxen webserver is free, but if you wan't to have support from the company, of course, you have to pay.

Second, I did find the support (less than half a year ago) high above most other IT companies.

It used to bee true that Roxen webserver was poorly documented and that you had to 'grep' the source-code a lot, but I find that also not true any longer.

Third, the performance, well, it all depends on how many modules you load and use. Any other webserver would suffer from the same performance hits given the same modules.

    note: you don't have to use all the modules

Yes, I've been frustrated in the early days by Roxen platform, but the support has been great.

Tip

    Many of the developers/old developers hangs out in a KOM conference forum located at kom.lysator.liu.se (see http://www.lysator.liu.se/lyskom for information on the conference system).

Re: Roxen WebServer 2.2

Anonymous's picture

Primarily, yes I am discussing the Roxen platform. But I assume they do not have two vastly different versions of the Roxen web server? Perhaps I am wrong making that assumption, in which case I stand corrected.

You must have been in touch with the support staff from another company than the one I have been in touch with. Most people I have talked with at Roxen have responded something along the lines of "Eh.. well.. uhm.. I'd have to call the developers in Link

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