Publisher Arnoldo Mondadori – Mondadori’s Company Archive
Publication Date …. 03/17/1988
Publication Number…. 0009
Page Number…. 0014
Title …. TAPESTRY, THE NETWORK FRIEND
Summary…. Arriving from England, for the network environment, a precursor of a Presentation Manager
Author…. Roberto Mazzoni
Location…. Britain Europe Area-Nato
Subjects …. Torus Tapestry
Creation Date …. 05/11/1988
The Tapestry main menu uses a # of funny icons, created from the graphic characters of Dos.
Main Article Text
Torus Tapestry brings into the world of local networks a breath of fresh air and, while not the revolutionary product that is like Apple Macintosh reaffirms the importance of meeting inherent software difficulties with a user friendly and effective interface. The product does not have some of the refined functions and power of renowned network operating systems, such as NetWare from Novell or the 3Plus Share from 2Com and the IBM PC LAN Program; however, it is an ideal tool for those who want a soft approach with the local networking world. Its cost is still somewhat high, and the performance leaves a little bit to be desired in some places, as in print management, in its memory administration and in the recovery from abnormal conditions (one time Tapestry lost control of the system after trying to read a damaged disk, but this defect could have been a defect in the version we had). In contrast ,however, the simplicity with which the network can be represented and managed makes this an attractive system for those who have to manage networks with few workstations and don’t want to heavily invest in staff training. The software is usually supplied with a 10 MBit Ethernet card produced by Torus. Furthermore, it is possible to only buy the Tapestry package and install it on Token-ring and IBM PC Network Networks , or Ethernet 3Com, which are, the main network topologies offered by the market at the moment (still missing are the drivers for the StarLan by Olivetti, Novell Ethernet and 10-Net). In our test we used a network made up of two workstations, an M24 and a 286 Xt, both enabled to take the role of disk server and printer. The connection was made with Torus cards and thin type of coaxial cables. The cards were extremely simple to install and behaved excellently. Going through the preliminary installation stages it necessary to have the intervention of a person who knew how to create a batch file for the initial configuration of the system, the screen displayed a cover presentation requiring the user to specify their own identifying name and a sort of key word. After this step, there appears on the screen an icon menu that allows access to various network services, managed by further by a sub-menu. The interaction is extremely fast even on machines with less powerful microprocessors, such as the M24 ,in addition all selections can be, operated either from the keypad, or by means of the mouse. Although the script and messages are in English, the figures appearing with the draft of the work, are sufficiently clear to be understood even by operators who know only Italian. For example, the main menu is identified with the symbol of a bin, functions, and management of the disks with the figure of an open drawer, manipulation of the directory uses the metaphor of a paper archive. Similarly, the silhouette of a written sheet indicates a word processing application while the waste bin indicates the elimination of an object. The return to the previous menu in the chain is uniquely marked with the outline of a box, a choice, in our opinion, quite playful. Unlike what happens in Windows or other electronic desk management environments such as Gem and likewise Finder from Mac, the icons are generated with semi-graphic characters, which dramatically accelerate the management of video and makes sure that Tapestry can respond almost instantly to user demands. Using these icons such as copying and formatting a disk, creating a directory, deleting a file or displaying its contents, one can easily perform basic Dos functions. Network management is entrusted, of course, to a central figure, the system administrator, who has full powers allocating network resources and the attributes of each user. The administrator works with a specific management menu, invisible to other operators, by which it sets the password and determines the status of each station, and this can be a simple passive workstation, or which can act as a server for four possible types of resources: printers, gateways, software, and disk. The status of the server software is a bit noteworthy because it consists in enabling a single user to use applications that are resident on their local hard drive, without having to draw from the disk of another workstation. Although this possibility allows the reduction of network traffic in that, each operator can load the application locally and use the network only for the exchange of files ,it does involve the need to install on all of these machines the complete Tapestry system that will take from 2 to 5 MB on the disk and about 100 KB in Ram. This situation, therefore, prevents the local use of applications such as Excel or Symphony, which require a lot of memory. In the future, perhaps with the announcement of the new version of Tapestry for Os 2, expected later this year, one will be able to load the software in the network’s expanded memory, preserving intact the space reserved for application programs. The only serious drawback of network management associated with Tapestry is that, once you make a configuration change to LAN, one must power and reboot the system manager so that the change becomes effective. This procedure, besides being inconvenient, freezes for a few minutes the ability to work on the network, of all the other users. The installation of an application program instead is rather simple. The various operations are menu-driven and, for each new package that is inserted in the list of network programs, Tapestry generates an icon in the window of the application. From the operational point of view, the striking shortcomings of the current version comes out in the area of print management, which are queued and executed, only when the user leaves the application on which they are working. Taking ,for example, that of a word processor, the operator launches the printer using the usual commands, but the document is only reproduced when, at the end of the work session, when the user leaves the writing environment and goes back to the Tapestry main menu. The printing is done, however, at that instant if directed to another device that is connected to another node on the network. This situation is somewhat strange given that it pushes the operators to use the device of their neighbors and prevents them from using their own device. In particular, the management of the deferred prints (spool), become hugely cumbersome when you require the reproduction of a graphic, created with Chart, for example because you have to wait several minutes before the operation is completed. In addition, launching the release of different consecutive graphs, the system goes haywire. On the other hand, from another viewpoint of multi-user functions Tapestry offerings are almost complete. In addition to local disks, each user can access a set of shared drives, as long the password to enter is known. On the inside of these drives, files can be copied, deleted, archived (backup function) and protected from changes. There are five different levels of access to files, establishing which files can be viewed and edited, or simply consulted. The icing on the cake is the auto power off function, of the display after the station has been idle for a long time and the Lock up command, which unlocks the operation of the personal computer when the owner, returns from a coffee break, and enters the password.
This is software for managing Ethernet networks, Token-ring and Pc Networks using an icon-based interface to simplify the use various functions and shared resources. It offers a simple e-mail service and manages printers, disks, and gateways (modem or card emulation). Distributor: Lan Systems – via Roncati, 9-40134 Bologna – Tel 051 437025 List Price: Tapestry manager module 1,190,000 lire, module workstation 690,000 lire per node, Torus Ethernet card 1,190,000 lire, Micro Channel card 1,650,000 lire.