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Tue 02 Nov 2004
DNS Enabler 1.0
Category : Technology
I've got a more "useful" version of DNS Enabler done. It's meant to be used by people who don't know and don't care about things like CNAMES, MX records, PTRs,and A-RECORDS. But they know enough about the domain name system to want to be able to reference machines by human-understandable names.
The people who're downloading DNS Enabler now want to be able to do things like this, for a private 10.0.1 network :
This is because, for one reason or another, they may not be able to hit their server using a domain name, from a machine on their internal network, even though people outside, on the public network, can see the server just fine. For example, you may be acquainted with this problem if you're using the earlier batch of Airport Base Stations.
Running a DNS service on their server for the benefit of the machines on the private network will help these internal machines to "see" the server.
But you might want to set up a domain name service for a private network for a whole host of other reasons. For example, for doing demos or for testing, where you have no connection to the Internet, but want to simulate your own private Internet.
Now, the new version of the Airport Admin Utility allows you to create a private network on any of the three known ones (10.0.1.x or 192.168.1.x or 172.16.1.x). So, I've also allowed the user to set things up on DNS Enabler according.
DNS Enabler 1.0 allows a user to set up more than one server. And they can be on any other address beside 201 (which I had hard-coded in the "old" DNS Enabler). And, it allows you to set up more than one domain name pointing to the same machine so you can set up and do virtual hosting in the web and mail servers.
I find the ability to change, temporarily, which machines the domain names cutedgesystems.com and roadstead.com are pointing to very useful when I'm doing testing on my iBook. E.g., now that I'm doing a series of tests on the latest UW/IMAP binaries that I have built, using my iBook as both server and client. I find it very useful to be able to tell Mail.app on my iBook that cutedgesystems.com is now also on my iBook because I can re-use the mail accounts that I've already set up on Mail.app.
DNS Enabler will create the correct DNS entries and files - as far as I can tell (though I'm still learning and may yet get things wrong). So, after building it, I realised that it can also be used to set up a fully-functional DNS server for the public network, including handling the setting up of the Classless Inter-Domain Routing file (how's that for a mouthful), like the setup shown below:
And, finally, I'm finding that it works great as a teaching tool. The interface will allow me to explain to someone how the domain name system works and why it was meant to work that way. Then I can go into the system files that DNS Enabler generates automatically and show how all these settings get translated into the proper A-RECORDS and CNAME records, or whatever, that the Domain Name system requires.
I've yet to write the documentation. But if anyone wants to try it out before I've got a proper download page set up, you can write to me.