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Open & save word/excel file direct to server

Im trying to write php code that enable user to open microsoftoffice file direct from WEB server, edit it, and lastly press save button to save back(upload?) the file to server.

Tried using php, but the problem i have right now is that
 user have to do some 'user unfriendly' work like have to click 'browse' the temporary file to look back which file to send back (upload) to server... I can get the temporary filename and folder but seems i cant put it automatically in the form to make the user feel less work to do.

#
Right now the best way i can think of is using ftp and open in new window, which is not as user friendly as it should be, but at least the users dont have to browse file to upload.

note:
server using LAMP solution,
the user ranging from w98-wxp

TQ
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spreq
Asked:
spreq
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2 Solutions
 
dougdayCommented:
Hm... you're kinda stepping out of the bounds of php's purpose, which is to serve files through HTTP.  Like you mentioned, ftp is more a two-way protocol, but it still doesn't have a seemless interface like what you're suggesting.  If you're using IIS as your webserver, you can share a folder across the internet and only grant access to specific people.  Then, you could use a web page to provide a link to this folder, or even an Excel spreadsheet, so it opens "seamlessly", and should also allow them to simply save the file without any extra work.  But, if you're using Apache or some other webserver, I'm not sure what the options are.  They're certainly a bit less when dealing with Windows systems.

If you have IIS and want more specifics let me know.

-Doug
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spreqAuthor Commented:
Hi Doug.. im using linux-apache... but at least you can share what that special features in iis have that might open new idea on how i can do it using apache?...
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quad341Commented:
with a lamp setup, it never will be very friendly for the user because your server can't really deal directly with the user's computer.  by specializing completely to microsoft products (including internet explorer), you can probably make the transition easier through vb/javascript, but it seems as though true ease would then be a security hole.  

if you wanted to, you could provide instructions for users to map the ftp drive as a network drive also, similar to what doug said, but more os independant.  basically you have to add a network place and you could map the network place as a drive or just leave it as a network place link.  if you set up the ftp user specifically, it could have access only to that folder with correct permissions and it would be more secure, but it still would require login (or it could be anonymous if you wanted though VERY insecure).
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spreqAuthor Commented:
thanks quad.. the same best solution what i have right now.. the only 'discourage' for user right now is that they have to do at least two extra work
1. they have to map the drive (or another extra work for it staff to do for each pc (hundreds-thousands???))

2. they have to insert login&pwd each time to dload the file..
of course i dont want to provide link like this ftp://username:password@url 

3. different login/password for ftp server

i dont deny the supremacy of IIS but it limitation to specific server&browser&os is luxury that not every company have..

:-) any comment? actually i agree with dougday that this is out of php boundary. I just wondering if php have solution to my php app... I already post the same question to webserver segment.. waiting for their answer...
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dougdayCommented:
Well, with IIS you can share directories through the web, much like any other microsoft share -- you can access it via a UNC path.  For example:  \\www.mydomain.com\share_dir.  This usually works best in an intranet environment where you're working with people from within the company, but at different locations.  It authenticates using domain authentication.  So, if your users are already logged into the domain, then their access to your share will be seamless.

I'd have to check it out, but I know that Samba provides authentication through a windows domain, but I not sure if they can do network shares across the internet.  Let me check this out.

In any case, quad341 bring up a good point.  When you do open something like this up, security becomes a big matter.  I would make sure that you've got all of your holes plugged before attempting it.  Make sure that you test it in a closed environment first, and hack away at it.  Then when you're confident that it's safe enough for what you're doing, open it to the internet.

-Doug
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dougdayCommented:
You might want to check this web site out:

http://www.fs.net/

It talks about SFS (Self-certifying File System).  It appears to be fairly new software, but from what I can tell, it's very promising.  It's sponsored by DARPA, which says a lot in itself, and it's meant for a Unix based system.  Seems fairly self-explanatory.  The only problem might be a seamless integration with windows clients.  In any case, it's worth a look at.

-Doug
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dougdayCommented:
Do you by chance have an SSL certificate for your apache server?
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spreqAuthor Commented:
not yet, but i can look for that.. :-)

do you suggest encrypt while opening/edit/save the file ? or just download?
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dougdayCommented:
Well if you have to download, then you also have to upload.  That sounds like more work than you're looking for.  I'm looking for something that will allow open/edit/save across the internet, securely, with Linux.  ;)
-Doug
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spreqAuthor Commented:
just read the SFS, well the feature is good but i dont want to introduce another step to the current web experience.

Im thinking a method of editing file 'seamlessly' to regular non-it staff. Introducing a new server alone will get me questioned by the server admin, by opening extra port, this will mess with other network department...
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dougdayCommented:
Hm... if your system allows samba shares, this link might interest you:

http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/man/mount.cifs.8.html

It describes the command to mount a share as a CIFS filesystem, which is the same that supports a \\www.server.com\my_file type of access.  Since it uses the samba infrastructure, you can also get it to integrate with your domain.

However, if your server doesn't have samba installed I'm afraid you will need more control over your system in order to provide this kind of convenience to your users.

-Doug
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dougdayCommented:
If you're a java guy, this link might also interest you:

http://jcifs.samba.org/
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quad341Commented:
if you are opening/closing/saving, etc. i would say that ssl is a must.  also, standard windows shares seems in general like a shakey idea to rely on.

because of security, it would seem that an extra step may be worth it.  if you are interested in using samba, doug may have provided a very useful link with jcifs.  i would not suggest writing an entire java client for the files by yourself, but integrating samba support into another java based editor that supports this may be possible (open-office is java i believe and it also opens those files).  I personally have experience with java and like it, but without a base, it seems like a quite daunting task.
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hujiCommented:
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned..
I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup topic area:
Split: dougday & quad341

Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed.

Huji
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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