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How to I convert a local path into a clickable browser link?

I'm using Roboform as a handy way to login to sites that require a password. You can do this in the application or use the command line form. For example, the command line login for Experts Exchange (on my machine) is this path:

"C:\Program Files\Siber Systems\AI RoboForm\passcards.exe" -l "C:\Data\Roboform\Experts-Exchange.rfp"

This path is known to be good and works great.

But I'd like have a browser start page that would do the same thing -- Click on a single link to get into the site.

But browsers don't accept the same path format that the local machine uses.

Question: How to I convert the path above to a clickable browser link? I hope to use the solution as a general pattern for creating additional links in my start page. Thanks!
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michaelnorth
Asked:
michaelnorth
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4 Solutions
 
phileocaCommented:
where there are spaces.. put %20

C:\Program%20Files\ .....
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phileocaCommented:
unless i'm totally misreading the question....
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fixnixCommented:
file:///c:/Documents%20and%20Settings/user/blahblahblah/path/to/file


in addition to %20 for spaces, prefix the line w/ "file:///" and change the backslashes (\) to foward slashes (/)
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fixnixCommented:
If you use firefox as your browser, you can actually copy the file folder path from windows explorer (assuming you've gone to folder options and checked the "Display the full path in the address bar" box)  and paste it directly into the URL bar in Firefox as it, then firefox will automagically rewrite the URL to a browser-friendly format and bring up the folder.
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michaelnorthAuthor Commented:
fixnix . . . tried the FireFox paste-in method -- that does work for the first part of the path. I get:

file:///C:/Program%20Files/Siber%20Systems/AI%20RoboForm/

It then asks to Save or Open the application.

However, neither Windows Explorer or FireFox seems to recognize the second part of the path. FireFox trys to help out by redirecting me to c-span.org!

Will try manually adding slashes and %20 (spaces) to complete the path.
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michaelnorthAuthor Commented:
Is there a utility that converts path types? Paste in a local path, configure a couple of options if necessary, and spit out a browser path?
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michaelnorthAuthor Commented:
Yes, it's possible a clickable URL won't allow for the full path required. That's what I'm trying to find out. I will wait to see if there are additional responses. Thanks.
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herbusCommented:
I'll post here so the pointer in Misc can be cleared, but I don't have anything else to add on this yet... still think you can't get the switch/extension to work in a hyperlink but, like I said, would love to learn if it can be done!

Good question, but yah it's more in the realm of a file shortcut... which could put linked to, as I mentioned, but anyway, I've almost repeated my whole post so I'll stop :D
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fixnixCommented:
put the path w/ flags, etc in a .bat file.  Make the link point to the .bat file...don't need to worry about passing arguments in a browser URL that way.
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michaelnorthAuthor Commented:
Interesting idea! I'll give that a try tomorrow. Thanks.
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cirtapCommented:
Hi,
the .bat file would probably do the trick to handle the arguments for your application, however, you're trying to "misuse" a "website" (regardless of its local origin) to run a program (MIME type "application/*"), hence FF asks you to "download" or "save" this *untrusted* resource. It may even "download" (copy) the file to the TEMP folder and your application will fail to run 'cos it's mising its related files.
The idea itself is "nice", but I don't see why you don't use the Quicklaunch bar? There are also several free "application launcher" available from the net to allow ths kind of quick access either by providing some floating on-top toolbar or a tray icon or keyboard shortcuts (ever tried those?).
Maybe you should play with some of these first instead writing a zillion batches and misusing a "technology" for what it's not intended?

Have fun,
CirTap
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softplusCommented:
Actually, considering you just want to fill out a login-form (from the looks), you can do this much easier -- no external programs required:

a) save your internet cookies - you'll log in automatically (I do)
b) use something like FireFox, save the login-data (IE can do this now too, I think)
c) depending on the site, you can just pass the parameters in a hidden form, i.e. put this on your private page:
<form name=loginForm method=POST action="http://www.experts-exchange.com/login.jsp">
<input type=hidden name="msuLoginName" value="[YOURLOGINNAME]">
<input type=hidden name="msuPassword" value="[YOURPASSWORD]">
<input type=image name="msuLoginSubmit" src="http://www.experts-exchange.com/images/loginButton.gif" alt="Log in" class=image>
</form>
It will just show the login-button, click on that and you're in. You can use the same technique for other websites as well (just make sure you get the field-names correct).

Why do it complicated when you can do it easy :)
John
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cirtapCommented:

@john:
> Why do it complicated when you can do it easy
maybe his motivation in using RoboForm is to bypass the browser at all, for "security"(?) reasons, or simply to have an external source (probably protected/encrypted) for all his passwords just in case of another new browser vulnerability and of course any browser/OS updates, which typically delete all previous data, esp. cookies and such, which are a PITA to backup properly.

@michael: there's an extension on the Mozilla repository which allows using local file:// links in webpages, on user action. Might be useful: https://addons.update.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=281
Also, you have not mentioned if your "startup page" is local as well, if not, FireFox will prohibit access to "file:" protocol.

CirTap
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softplusCommented:
@CirTap
Hmm, I'm not sure if I agree with that ;) - it sounds like a case of swaping one vunerable configuration file for another (browser vs RoboForm)... I think the best bet would probably be the form on your private homepage with hidden fields.
Issues:
 - the file needs to be secured, i.e. best stored locally (home page / configuration file / cookies: all the same)
 - local system access will probably allow access to the password-protected areas (for all configurations)
 - dependant on the browser (all configurations)
 - dependant on the external RoboField-Programm (the RoboField configurations)
 - Backups need to include: a) home page (all configurations), b) cookies (cookie-usage), c) robofield-files (robofield-configurations)
I'd go with the integrated form, but maybe there are other reasons for the robofield setup that we aren't aware of...
John
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cirtapCommented:
> but maybe there are other reasons for the robofield setup that we aren't aware of...
yepp
for myself, I use Firefox' autocomplete/formthingy on *some* sites, and I'm fine with that - yet , e.g. I don't use it for my online banking, amazon, paypal and such.
I don't know if cross-posting from some (local) html form to another page will actually work in all cases -- if I understood your suggestion correctly: I doubt and more-or-less secure site will accept this login, but that depends.

Let's see if michael found something to work with RoboForm; it happens to be useful for him and that's all that matters.

CirTap
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michaelnorthAuthor Commented:
Here's my proposed solution to the problem.

Remember I'm trying to login to password-protected sites from a browser start page -- sort of a 1-Click central control panel for the all the web resources I use on daily basis.

First, you must write the link correctly and then tweak the Windows file-type settings.

 Here's how to do it . . .

1. Make a link which launchs a standard Roboform .rfp file:

<a href="Experts-Exchange.rfp">Experts Exchange</a>

The path above assumes the .rfp file lives in the same directory as the start page . . . a very simple configuration.

If the .rfp file lives elsewhere relative to the start page, you need to tweak the path like this . . .

<a href="../../directory/Experts-Exchange.rfp">Experts Exchange</a>

or like this . . .

<a href="file:///C|/Data/Roboform/Elance.rfp">Elance</a>

In any case, the  link opens a browser and then logs into a site with a user/password that is already defined in the Roboform .rfp file. (You need to manually login and record the user/pass in Roboform the first time only).

Now here's the important system tweak:  From any Windows Explorer window, go to Tools/Folder Options/File Types. Scroll down the File Type list to find the .rfp (Roboform Passcard File) extension. Highlight the .rfp extension and select the Advanced button. Set the default behavior to "Login". Then Edit the Login action in the "Application Used to Perform Action" field. It should be something like: "C:\Program Files\Siber Systems\AI RoboForm\Passcards.exe" -l "%1"  Your exact path will vary of course, but the format must be as shown including the whole statement in parentheses, the -l extension (for login), and the "%1"

Note you only have to do the system tweak once. Now build a start page with any HTML editor.To add a link, just define it as passcard-name.rfp and you're all set. Easy.

By the way, Internet Explorer logs in with no secondary steps -- click and you're in. But FireFox will bring up a dialog asking if you want to Open or Save. Choose Open to login. This is an apparent limitation of FireFox 1.0. I tried tweaking its default actions with Mimetype Editor 0.2 extension, but it didn't work. But it's no big deal to hit the return key to login.

I use this same general method to launch local application files that I need frequently -- all from my browser start page. For example, this link launches a FileMaker Pro database that resides on another computer out on the LAN:

<a href="file://///Pc2/data/Databases/Accounts.fp5">Accounts</a>
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cirtapCommented:
> This is an apparent limitation of FireFox 1.0
well, I'd consider this a great security featuer. Firefox is a Webbrowser not a Shell like Internet Explorer. There's a reason why http: and file: are handled differently and are not allowed to exchange information without the user's permission. Otherwise you'd get into the same situation as with MSIE, and any website could install and launch applications without your knowledge.
If this works for you. Fine. I just don't see the savings and why you don't use the amount of "official" possibilities to launch applications provided by your operating system? desktop shortcuts, quickstart shortcuts .. If you're browsing the web and want to start another app from "within your browser" you need to launch your "application page", the same would happen if you use "show desktop" ...

Have fun,
CirTap
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michaelnorthAuthor Commented:
Right you are cirtap . . I have confidence the FireFox developers know what they are doing.  

Using the browser start page as a launcher was a bit of an experiment, but I do find it works well for me.

"We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion" -- Cyril Connolly

Although no one provided the clear solution I was looking for on this question, I'm splitting the points to reflect partial solutions and helpful suggestions. Thanks!
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