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Submission forms are a tool for creating queries that are automatically processed. A query is actually a message with strictly defined fields and string variables.
The queries come from a user equipped with The Bat! software with form templates (files with a TBC-extension). Such a user is referred to as the client. Before submitting a query, The Bat! asks the user to fill out a form, which looks very much like forms that you have probably filled out on the Web. The program that processes user requests is known as the server. <The Bat! transforms data filled in by the user to an e-mail message, then encrypts and signs the message digitally. This message is sent to the server via e-mail. The address of the server is defined in a form template. The system of interacting of client and server by means of queries and replies is called The Bat! Client-Server.
This system is intended for remote access to data and managing data in off-line mode securely. The purpose of this system is to control bank accounts, make ticket and hotel reservations, etc. In order to provide secure transactions, encryption and digital signing is used (RSA/IDEA/MD5 algorithms), as defined by RFC-1991. The Server software is specific and is task dependent: Internet-shops, Banks or Ticket Reservation Agencies may use different types of server software, but the client, using The Bat!, can use all of their services seamlessly.
In order to provide a proper transaction, the format of query fields must be equal on both client and server parts. As the server usually works with more then one client, the form templates (TBC-files) are usually created on the server and then signed and sent to the clients before starting any transactions between the client and the server. While processing transactions, the server can start new kinds of services for its users; in this case, the server would send any new versions of form templates in order for the client to be able to use those new services. Upon reception of a template file and verification of the digital signature, the client adds it to the list of template forms.
The presence of a digital signature is mandatory. It does not only ensure that the formats are equal on both client and server, but protects the system from intrusion of unauthorised templates. This unauthorised intrusion can come as a templates renewal and can cause all or a part of clients to have unauthorised templates instead of authorised ones. This can cause "freezing" of networks or information drain. The changing of a server's e-mail address in a form template can cause such a drain.