idea i won’t be doing anytime soon of the week: replace EZProxy with nginx

I think it would be possible, maybe even trivial, to replace EZProxy with nginx, writing code in lua using OpenResty.  I don’t know enough nginx (or lua!) to be sure, but some brief googling suggests to me the tools are there, and it wouldn’t be too hard. (It would be too hard for me in C, I don’t know C at all. I don’t know lua either, but it’s a “higher level” language without some of the C pitfalls). nginx is supposed to be really good at proxying, right? That was it’s original main use case — although as ‘reverse proxy’, but I don’t know if there’s any reason it wouldn’t work well as a forward proxy too — handle the EZProxy style load of lots and lots of sessions to lots and lots of sites?  Maybe. nginx is a workhorse.

You could probably even make it API-compatible with EZProxy on both the client and config file ends.

The main motivation of this is not to get something for ‘free’, EZProxy’s price is relatively reasonable. But EZProxy is very frustrating in some ways and lacks the configurability, dynamic extension points, precision of logging and rate limiting, etc., that many often want. And EZProxy development seems basically… well, in indefinite maintenance mode.  So the point would be to get a living application again that evolves to meet our actual present sophisticated needs.

I def won’t be working on this any time soon, but it sure would be a neat project. My present employer is more of a museum/archive/cultural institution than with the use cases of an academic or public library, we don’t have much EZProxy need.

(As an aside, it is an enduring frustrating and disappoint to me that the library community doesn’t seem much interested in putting developer ‘innovation’ resources towards, well, serving the research, teaching, and learning needs of scholars and students, which I thought was actually the primary mission of these institutions. The vast majority of institutional support for innovative development is just in the archival/institutional repository domain. Which is also important, but generally not to the day-to-day work of (eg) academic library patrons…. for some reason, actually improving services to patrons isn’t a priority for most administrators/institutions, I’m not really sure why).

One thought on “idea i won’t be doing anytime soon of the week: replace EZProxy with nginx

  1. EZProxy itself is just a modified version of Apache, so I would think it would certainly be possible.

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