Universal Type Server: Administration Made Easy - Extensis.com


Universal Type Server: Administration Made Easy

In January I had the opportunity to go to Macworld 2008 in San Francisco, and part of my duty while I was there was to man the Universal Type Server station where we were doing demos of the product and showing folks a sort of “sneak peek” as far as look and feel.

This was the week that really got me excited about Universal Type Server. It had been something we’d seen internally and by the time Macworld rolled around it wasn’t really a big deal internally-old news, as it were. So getting to show it off to people, to put on that headset and walk people through the new admin screens was when it became real for me. It’s like taking kids to Disneyland-you get to see it through their eyes so it’s a lot more fun. This was very similar since I’d been and done all this, but now I’m showing it to people who are seeing it for the first time and they are really impressed. Really it was Macworld where I too caught Type Server Fever.

Let’s look a bit at why the admin screens are so awesome. First I need to point out that the administration all happens through web pages. We made them web apps to help everybody out; if you can hit the server from your workstation, you can admin the server from your workstation. So going to someone’s desk who’s having trouble and helping them out means now you don’t need to go back to the server room or your desk to adjust permissions or add them to a group. Here’s what I call the “IT Admin” screen:

Universal Type Server

What you see in this screen is the “status” page of Universal Type Server and down the left the options for logging, backups, and ports among other things. This is the stuff the people in IT are usually concerned with: Is the service running on the machine successfully, where does the backup go, what ports are we using, that sort of thing. In general this is the piece the people using Universal Type Server are not interested in, they just want to log in and have it work. So for IT folks, the box admin part of Universal Type Server is brilliant! Just what they need to see, real quick like, end of story.

This isn’t all there is to Universal Type Server of course. Let’s look at the other admin panel below:

Universal Type Server User Administration Panel

This is very handy because most of the people who are using Universal Type Server are the ones who know what users need to be added and what groups they should be part of, and instead of having to go to someone in IT to have that done, whoever is the person in charge of all those people can set it up themselves. Adding people is very easy and getting them access to what they need is not only a piece of cake but easy when you don’t have to go to the server room and find someone with access and have them make a couple of small changes for you.

Being able to show this to people and have the IT folks say the User/Group panel was really nice and having the Creative folks say that the IT panel was really nice was when I got excited about finally being able to get Universal Type Server into the hands of our customers. You can find out more about it at Typeserver.com and see screenshots of these panels in action. What do you think of how we split up the administration?