The main server, which we usually refer to as a “Root Server,” is not meant to be accessed directly by users. Its main purpose in life is to allow Trusted Servants and Service Bodies to administer the database and access the data used by the BMLT. Most sites will actually use “satellite” implementations to show the meeting search, or pre-formatted results (such as simple tables).
Do You Actually Need A Root Server?
Before setting up a Root Server, you should determine whether or not you actually need one. The chances are quite good that the Root Server will be someone else’s job, and that all you will need to do, is set up a BMLT Satellite.
The preferred model for the BMLT is to have a centralized Root Server that holds as many meetings as possible, with satellites connecting to it and displaying a subset of those meetings. The server is often run by a Region (and many BMLT Root Servers actually manage multiple Regions), while the satellites are generally Areas.
There’s a very good reason for this. This is because 99% of folks looking for meetings have no idea what Service boundaries are, and wouldn’t care, if they did know. To a newcomer, having the meeting search end at an arbitrary border makes no sense at all.
The more meetings there are in a Root Server, the larger the contiguous meeting search area.
It is quite possible to have multiple Regions Served by a single Root Server. For example, the Tejas-Bluebonnet Region Root Server Serves 9 different Regions, and 64 Areas (as of the writing of this page). This is almost 3000 meetings.
All it takes is Service bodies willing work in Unity.
In truth, there is very little in the way of compromise that needs to happen in order to share a Root Server. The Service bodies need to agree on format codes, and some basic fields, but the BMLT was designed specifically to allow Service bodies to have a tremendous amount of autonomy.
Satellite installations are very, very independent of the Root Server. There are many different ways to display the meeting data, and each satellite can be customized to exactly fit into whatever site is running it. The BMLT does not use iFrames. The satellite is completely embedded into the Area Web site. The connection to the Root Server happens inside the server itself, and the site visitor has absolutely no idea that they are looking at a shared dataset.
Assuming that we have decided that we need a Root Server, we can begin the process of setting it up.