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What is SHTML.EXE?

Posted on 2003-03-23
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Last Modified: 2013-12-24
I have a small web server running W2K / IIS 5 and a client of mine is moving his web site from another hosting company to my server.  This client wants to use FrontPage extensions, which I do have installed and have configured for his virtual domain.

Problem is, he has some order forms that he created that no longer work now that his site is on our server.  Looking at one of his order forms, I find this tag:

<form method="POST" action="_vti_bin/shtml.exe/order_form2.htm" enctype="x-www-form-encoded" webbot-action="--WEBBOT-SELF--">

His order form fails to function on my server.  There is no "_vti_bin" folder to start with, not to mention the SHTML.EXE file does not exist either.

I don't like the idea of a client executing an EXE file on my server in the first place.   It would appear from the _vti_bin path that this may be a Microsoft EXE that he is trying to use.  What is SHTML.EXE, and where does it come from, and can it be trusted?

Thanks.
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Question by:Kapusta
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coreybryant earned 500 total points
ID: 8192363
If he is using a form developed via FP, the server will need FP extensions installed for the form to function properly.  

SHTML.EXE is just one of the files FP extensions uses to have the web site function properly.  You can read more about FP extensions at:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/?url=/library/en-us/dnservext/html/winfpse.asp?frame=true

That is the reason the order form does not work properly.  And it will not work until you install FP extensions.  most hosting companes offer this free of charge.  Instead of writing a form using a CGI script or ASP, he is using FP.  FP has a very easy way to do a form, have it either e-mailed to someone or thrown into a DB.  If you are not wiling to install FP extensions, you will need to come up with another way to process the form(s).  You also need to look at his navigation menu.  Is he using something developed by FP?   If so, that will also need to be re-done.  Anywhere where you see webbot - that is a FP "extra", and it will need those extensions installed.

Corey
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Author Comment

by:Kapusta
ID: 8192411
>> That is the reason the order form does not work
>>properly.  And it will not work until you install FP
>> extensions.

Frontpage extensions ARE installed on the server, and have been installed for his virtual domain.

A virtual folder exists under his domain that points to the SHTML.EXE file.

The form, however, still does not work.

If you look at the <form action> code, it contains an illogical path: "_vti_bin/shtml.exe/order_form2.htm

<form method="POST" action="_vti_bin/shtml.exe/order_form2.htm" enctype="x-www-form-encoded" webbot-action="--WEBBOT-SELF--">

How can you have an EXE file in the path, yet a HTML file is the target at the end of the path string?!
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by:coreybryant
ID: 8192436
You might have to uninstall FP extensions & then re-install them.  Did he publish his site to your server via FP or did he FTP?  If he FTPed into the server, he will need to publish the site thru FP.

As far as the EXE in the target, it is a FP thing / extensions.  Also, do you have the virtual domain set up for FP extensions?  I just set up something like this a few weeks ago, and FP extsnsions were installed, but the virtual domain did not have them active.

Corey
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Author Comment

by:Kapusta
ID: 8192474
>> Also, do you have the virtual domain set up
>> for FP extensions?

Yes.... so I thought.  How does one know for certain?  Microsoft makes it difficult and confusing for the hostmaster to know what is going on with all this Frontpage extension stuff.
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by:Kapusta
ID: 8192500
Are there any debug tools that will verify whether Frontpage extensions are set up properly on the server and that would test various extension fuctions?

Also, is there some special extension that must be added to the "Application Configuration > App Mappings" list?   I currently have:

.htm
.asp
.cer
.cdx
.asa
.pl
.plx
.cgi
.ppl

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by:coreybryant
ID: 8192507
Let's see.  I am working off memory, but go to Administrative - IIS.  Right click the virtual domain.  You can click Properties & then Server Extensions.  You can also look at New Tasks.  If you see Server extensions already intialized, you might need to un-install the extensions & then re-install them.  or also try to reconfigure the web.  Another way as well - open up Front Page & try to connect via that way - open web, http://www.yourdomain.com

Corey
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Author Comment

by:Kapusta
ID: 8192528
By the way, here is the page in question:

http://www.americangasproducts.com/order_form2.htm

You can see the error output firsthand.
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Author Comment

by:Kapusta
ID: 8192631
I believe I found the culprit by viewing the Event Viewer...

Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions:
   http://www.americangasproducts.com - Error #160005 Message: Bad response from SMTP host'ns1': 550 not local host pacbell.net, not a gateway .


This order form was trying to send mail to a @pacbell.net email address.  When I changed his @pacbell.net address to an address that includes his domain name, then the form worked...or at least it no longer generated errors.
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by:coreybryant
ID: 8192642
Depending on the way that your have your SMTP server, it might not allow outside e-mail addresses for security reasons.  I just hit submit - it just to me the the default confirmation page - not the thankyou page or the oops page.

Corey
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Author Comment

by:Kapusta
ID: 8192664
>> just to me the the default confirmation page
>> - not the thankyou page or the oops page

Well, at least it is doing something other than displaying an error message, which is more than it was doing 1 hour ago.

If anyone is interested in the source code for these forms, you can get them at:

www.americangasproducts.com/help.zip

If there is a simple fix to his "thank you" page, please let me know.
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by:coreybryant
ID: 8192905
I opened up the order_form2 - when I looked at the form properties, it did not have the thankyou.html file in the appropriate field.

That is why the confirmation page is not coming up.  It is not programmed correctly.  The programmer will need to open the form in Front Page to fix the form

Corey
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Author Comment

by:Kapusta
ID: 8194848
>> The programmer will need to open the form in Front Page to fix the form

Unfortunately the "programmer" is an Apple/Mac guy who does not own FrontPage.  He inherited these files from somebody else, who is no longer in the picture.  The paying customer is ignorant of HTML and web sites, and he has hired this Mac guy to maintain his web site (who is ignorant of FrontPage)... so it makes for a fun situation...
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by:coreybryant
ID: 8194891
:)  No worries, when I said programmmer, I was actually speaking of the original guy that designed the site.  I take it he is no longer available?  I can try to fix the problem & then have you upload the files, but since you do not have FP, these files need to be uploaded via FP.  Because FP creates folders _vti_cnf as you pointed out earlier.  These files / folders contain important information to have the web site function.

Corey
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Author Comment

by:Kapusta
ID: 8194936
Thanks... I have FrontPage 2000, but it is not my responsibility to fix and upload this client's web pages.  The client made the mistake of hiring a Mac guy instead of someone who knows Frontpage.  If you can make the changes, I can forward them on to the client, and then tell him he needs to hire a web designer who speaks Frontpage.
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by:coreybryant
ID: 8194988
I will try my best.   I am still connected to a computer this morning in FL - transferring files.  It tells me it will take about an hour.  When that is done - I will make those changes & then give you the URL.  (My computer really needs to be re-booted - one bad thing about Windows, it eats up a lot of memory & I have been transferring these files all night.)  

Corey
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by:coreybryant
ID: 8196120
I think I have it.  Well I am not too certain on the oops page.  I mean, the field was greyed out - not allowing me to fix it.  So I did had the confirmation page at least - I also zipped up the files in the _vti_cnf folder.  You will see that every folder has this folder & most files have a file under this folder as well:

http://www.coreybryant.org/ee/order.zip

Also, if you need help with this - publishing it to your machine, etc - let me know.  I will be more than happy to help you all out.  It seems that he has everything done - might need a few changes? if so - let me know & I will be more than happy to help (no charge of course).  I just like to help people.

Thanks!

Corey
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Author Comment

by:Kapusta
ID: 8200277
Thanks.  It appears that the problem was that they had hardcoded invalid paths for the oops.html and thanks.html files.
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Expert Comment

by:coreybryant
ID: 8200287
Ah ok - yeah that will do it.  FP has a tough time with other coding at times.  FP 2002 has gotten a little better but it always tries to fix the paths unfortunately.

Corey
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