So I plunged into Java network stuff. First I messed around with Sockets, and that went rather well. It didn’t take long before I had two computers talking to each other. I started getting cocky. Then I ran head-on into Java Servlets, and all my cockiness crumbled into dust. This is complicated, messy technology. Fortunately, there are loads of “Hello World” sample programs on the Web, so I read through about four of those and quickly saw the common elements in them. But I’m using the Eclipse IDE and all the samples I saw were command-line examples. So I did some more searching and eventually found some help.
The remainder of the story is one that all programmers can tell: digging around the web for information, finding stuff that doesn’t work as advertised, trying variations on it, asking questions at help fora (these have dramatically changed the nature of programming), fiddling around, failing a lot, and eventually, for no apparent reason, getting it working.
I now have a working local server with working servlets that I can modify as I wish. From this point, it’s just a matter of slogging through lots of code to get my software working on the local server. But I want to pause and make an important decision between two strategies:
1. Get Balance of the Planet working on the local server. This will take some weeks of effort, I’m sure, but I know I can do it, as I wrote the original Balance of the Planet to support web delivery via a server.
2. Figure out how to get the server on my website to run my servlets. This would require me to figure out the documentation at Network Solutions, which has the worst documentation I have ever seen. I’m not enthusiastic about battling this monster, so I think that I’ll build up my confidence by taking Strategy #1.