About Webglimpse

Webglimpse is a program for making web pages searchable. It s actually a collection of perl scripts for spidering links and managing the spider rules. It is used to index your website, or any specific collection of files or sites you choose. Because Webglimpse is so flexible, you can also index remote sites! Understanding what the application does and how the software works will help you get it to do exactly what you want, and to troubleshoot any problems.

Authors and Contributors

Glimpse was created first, by Udi Manber and Sun Wu, Computer Science professors who wanted to apply the neat new search algorithm for finding fuzzy patterns that they had developed (and released as agrep) when Sun Wu was Manber's student. Glimpse was originally written in 1993 as “a tool to search entire filesystems”, useful for people who have ever misplaced a file or old e-mail message somewhere on their hard drive.

Webglimpse was wrapped around Glimpse a few years later, as a way to apply the powerful searching and indexing algorithms to the task not of searching the entire Web, but of combining browsing and searching on individual Web sites. Written by grad students Pavel Klark and Michael Smith, Webglimpse introduced the notion of searching the “neighborhood” of a Web page, or the set of pages linked from that page. Meanwhile, Manber and another student, Burra Gopal, continued to add features and refine Glimpse to make it optimally useful in its new context.

Golda Velez arrived on the scene at about this point. She'd just quit her job debugging assembly network code at Artisoft in order to start her own company doing something with discovery and categorization of information on the Internet. In the early Web of 1996, Webglimpse stood out as the most promising search tool. It was newborn and still rough around the edges, so when Udi accepted her offer to help with the project, her first job was to rewrite the install. She became more and more involved with Webglimpse, adding features and supporting users, and in January 2000 the University of Arizona granted her company an exclusive license to resell it. She didn't feel she could make Webglimpse her primary focus and still make a living if it were open source, but she did make the decision always to distribute all the source code and to keep it free for most nonprofit's. As a result, many users were willing to provide feedback and patches, and she was able to provide free, even resalable, licenses to anyone who helped with the project.