Extremely locked down is what we are looking at here. I came up with this topic when I was working with a small department of a large company. They have limited web access, no ability to upload files via thumb drive, and CDs/DVDs are out of the question. So how do you share information, the latest department news etc. without sending emails to everyone? I began to wonder if I could put together an Intranet site for them without access to servers or even external web sites like Google or facebook.

The short answer is: Yes I could. The longer answer is: Yes, you can too, and I am going to help you do it.

What makes this sort of Intranet possible is that your browser (we are going to look mainly at Internet Explorer) is capable of doing some amazing stuff thanks to the power of a Netscape creation called Javascript, and Microsoft’s browser extensions called Active X controls. Most of the work will be done with Javascript, but for the DB access we are going to need Active X.

OK I hear you now. “But I thought you said no servers?” Remember, we are building this Intranet for a small department or Business, and true to my word, NO servers will be used in the building of our website.

The DB that we will be using (and only if you want a more interactive site) is MS Access. If you have it installed on your PC you’re ahead of the game. If not, we will need to get a little more creative, but it is still very doable. (You will not need to go out and get MS Access if you do not have it.)

For an example of what can be done,  zip on over to Joshua Faulkenberry’s site and see what he has created. Come right back though, OK?

Here are some things you will need to make this work.

  • First and foremost you will need a shared location for your files. The company mentioned above has a networked file share mapped as the I: drive on all the departments computers. So if I drop an Excel spreadsheet called “mysheet.xls” on this drive, everyone in the department can get to it by going to: I:\mysheet.xls
  • Next you will need to have some knowledge of, or at least a desire to learn some HTML, CSS, Javascript, and a little SQL. I am going to help you here, so don’t run off just yet if you don’t know a lick of web stuff. I hope to make this a gentle learning curve. For you HTML experts, stick around too, I hope to make this a learning experience we all can enjoy.
  • I would suggest you also become familiar with your company’s technology policies as well. Please don’t do this if you think you will run afoul of these rules and regulations.

As we go along we may run into more things we need. but for now, that’s it. Come back next time for our first look at what an Intranet is for and your first web page.

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