Re: launching executables through HTML files

Tony Sanders <>
Message-id: <9306210453.AA03577@austin.BSDI.COM>
Subject: Re: launching executables through HTML files 
In-Reply-To: George Phillips's message of 20 Jun 93 21:35:00 PDT.
Organization: Berkeley Software Design, Inc.
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 1993 23:53:14 -0500
From: Tony Sanders <>
> The best suggestion for local program execution was to extend the
> file: scheme.  If the URL points to an executable file and that
> file is in your access control list, then it is executed and the
> output format is know from the .suffix.  In addition, arguments
> can be passed to the executable with a magic delimiter ('%/' was
> suggested).
> So, if you get "file:/usr/local/rn.html%/news/comp/sources/misc",
> it will run "/usr/local/rn.html /news/comp/sources/misc".  Assuming,
> say, that "/usr/local" is in your "WWWPATH" environment variable.
> I'm already using my own version of local program executing URLs
> for a newsreader with history and some other stuff.  I'd love to
> see this stuff made official so I can distribute these.

I disagree, you can do this just as well with the methods I've pointed
out using Content-type: and it doesn't require ugly hacks to the browser
(since you already have to deal with handing different content-types off
to the correct external program, adding another type should be clean,
hacking file: isn't).  **Plus** using content-type doesn't require that
you encode the command as a URL (Ugh).

Content-type: exec/x-local

/usr/local/rn.html /news/comp/sources/misc

The browser goes, oh exec/x-local.  I'll hand that off to such-and-such,
the it can decide if /usr/local/rn.html is safe or not.