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Issue 4.4

FEATURE

Postmortem: UNC Jazz Press Online

The perfect opportunity for a REALbasic-made CGI

Issue: 4.4 (March/April 2006)
Author: Toby Rush
Author Bio: Toby Rush is sometimes a music theory professor, sometimes a web designer, sometimes a programmer, and even sometimes a columnist, but is always a Mac user.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 19,586
Starting Page Number: 11
Article Number: 4408
Related Web Link(s):

http://www.arts.unco.edu/uncjazz/jazzpress

Excerpt of article text...

UNC Jazz Press is one of the largest and well-known jazz publishing companies in the country, with a catalog of more than 2000 jazz works ("charts," as they're known in the business). The company fills hundreds of orders each year from performers and educators all over the world.

But you wouldn't know it by looking at the UNC Jazz Press facility: the entire inventory is located in a smallish room in Frasier Hall, home of the University of Northern Colorado School of Music (as well as the School of Theatre Arts and Dance). The company is run by two UNC Jazz Studies staff members from the main Jazz office across the hall, who split their time between running the publishing company and several other aspects of Jazz Studies administration.

For years, UNC Jazz Press has done business through the mail and over the phone; they sent out an annual catalog at great expense and took orders via phone and through the mail, and still managed to grow into the successful company they have become.

The Job

In 1998, my job had more or less become what it is today: teaching music theory, managing the computer labs in the School of Music, maintaining the web site for the College of Performing and Visual Arts, and assisting part-time with computer support for faculty and staff. I had become webmaster for the simple reason that I had created the web site in the first place.

Sandy, the director of UNC Jazz Press, came to me in hopes of creating a UNC Jazz Press web site. Our web server was a Power Macintosh G3 running WebSTAR, and so I was able to use HyperCard to create a CGI based system to do the job: I culled the contents of the catalog from the PageMaker file used to create the print catalog (which took a tremendous amount of finessing... some of the errors in the PageMaker file are still in the system today!), and used WebSTAR's capability to send CGI requests via Apple Events to create a system which generated the HTML for each chart dynamically. This was coupled with a second HyperCard program which Sandy could use on her computer to edit the data file containing all the inventory information.

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