[ Contents | Appendix A ]


Chapter 7: Neat Stuff

Multiple Providers/Multiple Users

Yes! You, too, can have your very own copy of News Xpress running, retrieving articles from newsgroups that only interest you. A separate copy of NX for your "significant other" and yet more for the "significant little ones." Or be the master of all you survey and have a setup for the many different Internet Service Providers to which you subscribe.

Create a separate subdirectory for each user and/or provider. Copy all files from the primary directory to each subdirectory. Create as many icons for NX as you have users/providers. Highlight each icon in turn and edit the fields for each individual icon to identify its appropriate user, such as:


Jack's News Xpress

Command Line:

c:\nxjack\nx.exe c:\nxjack\nx.ini

Working Directory:



Mary's News Xpress

Command Line:

c:\nxmary\nx.exe c:\nxmary\nx.ini

Working Directory:



NX on Alternate ISP

Command Line:

c:\nxaltisp\nx.exe c:\nxaltisp\nx.ini

Working Directory:


Make copies of a master NEWSRC file, editing them to reflect the tastes of each user. For alternate providers who may have different newsgroups available, a master NEWSRC file may have to be developed for each. From within each NX, edit the Config, Setup, and Preferences pages as appropriate.

The only catch is that, since News Xpress talks to the winsock driver, and it's the winsock driver that dials and communicates to only one provider at a time, multiple sessions of NX can only happen with one service provider at a time. The most obvious situation where multiple sessions come in handy is where NX1 is retrieving and transferring/saving/decoding articles to a folder/file while NX2 is used to read articles online.

However, on a LAN environment where the winsock driver can access multiple ports, several copies of NX can access "differing" servers at the same time. Each NX has a unique NNTP port number in the Setup page. For example, NX1 uses port 119 and NX2 uses port 2119.

Backtracing an Article Thread

A reply can be sent to the author who started a thread of discussion by backtracing through the thread. In the References: line of a article's header (switch {Full Headers} on if necessary), a message ID code number points to the parent message. Double-click on the message ID to retreive that parent message but only if the parent message still exists on your news server. Keep doing this until you reach the top message.

Spawning Auxiliary Programs

NX is capable of spawning other InterNet applications by double-clicking on a legal URL. NX recognizes the following patterns and will launch the corresponding application:

FTP:ftp://host.domain/path/file (URL)
HTTP:http://host.domain/path/file.html (URL)

NX allows specified parameters to be passed in the application fields:
WSFTP -i myfile.ini %U
where %U will be replaced by the URL. Be aware that not all applications accept parameters and thus cannot be started in this manner. Also, double-clicking on a URL launches Netscape (if specified in [Applications]) with the URL loaded but switching back to NX and double-clicking on another URL just switchs back to Netscape with the old URL, not the new one.

Spawning a Reply Window

By double-clicking on any valid e-mail address found within an article, NX will open a Reply window with the address field filled in. Note that this is directly opposite to that of clicking on {Mail/Forward} while an article is open which, as mentioned earlier, NX brings up the Forward window.

Crossposted Articles

Under normal circumstances, the same articles read in one newsgroup will be filtered out of other newsgroups provided they were originally crossposted. Your server keeps track of cross-references (the XOVER database) and that information is used by NX for this function.

Q. When News Xpress says there is "x" number of new messages, that number is not always true. If it is more than "x", that's understandable because new messages might come in before the newsgroup gets opened. But seeing less messages when opening the newsgroup? Why would that be? There isn't a KILLRC file.
Q. Crossposting does not seem to work. There is no preferences setting for crossposting.
A. Crossposting does work. What you've experienced is that when an article which has been crossposted to other newsgroups is read, NX automatically kills it (removes it from the Article Headers window) in all other newsgroups. Here's how to confirm this behavior:

  1. subscribe to misc.testand alt.test
  2. update both groups
  3. catchup both groups to get zero article count in both
  4. crosspost an article to the two groups
  5. update again to get an article count of 1 in both
  6. read the article just posted in one group
  7. open the other group, no articles!

Q. It would be nice if NX would allow for the flagging of read articles that are crossposted. Best if it was an option in the configuration so that you could turn the option off or on.
A. NX will automatically suppress the display of crossposted articles provided:
1. Winsock's HOSTS file specifies a news server with the same name as the one shown in the Xref: header of articles from the server. For example, an article header contained:

Xref: netcom.com alt.winsock:52850


and Winsock's HOSTS file contains: netcom.com news.netcom.com nntp-server


2. The article must be marked as having been read.

Building Custom Articles

There may come a time when it's necessary to work around NX's limits (actually, they're Windows' limits) by creating overly long outgoing articles or articles generated from the output of databases. For whatever the reasons, the proper format of articles as they are held in the Outbox must be duplicated.

While offline, compose a dummy article including whatever headers are needed. Save it, then in NX's home directory, edit OUTBOX.MBX, which is just an ordinary text file, but which is also self-contained insofar as it holds all information pertaining to articles ready for sending.

Examining OUTBOX.MBX, the number on the first line tells NX whether to send a copy to Copy-Self, CC-by-Mail, etc. Following are the header lines, a blank line (don't leave this out), then lines where the article body would be. Finally, NX uses a single period on a line by itself as an article terminator.

Keeping in mind that the Windows clipboard has limits, somehow merge the generated document into the proper location in OUTBOX.MBX.

The scripting/programming capabilities of most databases allow for the complete artificial generation of OUTBOX.MBX.


[ Contents | Appendix A ]

Most recent revision: March 31, 1997
Copyright © 1997 , Brian H. Smither.
All Rights Reserved.
E-MAIL: Brian Smither