Avanti MicroLCS includes a text based client along with the graphical applet client.  A demo of the text based client is now available.  To try it out, telnet to, login as 'testuser'; the password is 'avanti'.  This client is running with basic patron privleges, restricted to commands that do searches and that control the session environment.  There are two other levels of privleges that allow access to many more commands.

The text based interface with patron privleges is close to its final form.  It has been built and refined throughout the development of the system with a simple but carefully designed syntax.  This syntax is terse, with a tree like command - subcommand - arguments structure.  Context sensitive help is also built in.   Type '?' at the command prompt to get help on available commands.  Type '?' as the argument of a command to get help on that particular command.  This basic syntax will be extended in future versions.

Some may find this approach a bit retro.  The simplicity and power that the command line provides is a bit underappreciated in these days of the graphical and web based interface.   Although it may initially present a higher learning curve than graphical interfaces, a well designed command line can be faster and more flexible in the hands of an experienced user than interacting with the system using a graphical interface.  The text based client demonstrates that MicroLCS can be adapted to run in non web-based enviroments.  It is entirely independent of the underlying operating system.  It presents a very low resource overhead at the client:  if you're accessing it remotely, all you need is Telnet.  Or you can run the client locally and access an Avanti server running on a different host on a network.  It also makes the possibility of scripting fairly straightforward business.

The text based client will be an essential part of the Avanti MicroLCS library computing system, especially early on.  In the upcoming version 1.0, some higher level functions will be available only through the command line interface, although most of those functions will gradually be duplicated in the graphical interface in subsequest versions.

Give the text based client a try and compare it to the Button GUI applet client running on the project website:  www.avantilibrarysystems.com .  Both of these connect to the same server, each providing different means of access to the same data.

Peter Schlumpf
Avanti project manager