Annoucement: Local Browser Execution

George Phillips <>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1993 17:36:07 -0800
From: George Phillips <>
Message-id: <>
Subject: Annoucement: Local Browser Execution
Have you ever wanted your WWW browser to run a program and display
it's output?  Have you ever wanted to post news from your WWW
browser?  If so, then I think you'll definitely be interested
in the rest of this message.  If not, well, you'll probably still be

I've been working on a new URL scheme called "x-exec:" which directs
the WWW browser to execute a program locally.  For full details
on how it works, upgrade patches to Mosaic 2.1 and Lynx 2-0-12, and
some sample scripts open:

I'll describe the system only briefly here.  The new URL scheme
looks like:


When it sees that, the browser will look for a program called "program"
to run.  What local programs may be run is configurable by the installer
and the user (default: nothing).  If everything is cool, the browser
runs the program using the Common Gateway Interface
(see which is just
a way of telling the program about the URL that activated it and
what the program should output (generally speaking, environment
variables on the way in, a MIME-like object on stdout).

For example, if you one of my example scripts installed, opening:


Will have your browser pop up a display of the subject lines of the
last 10 unread articles in comp.infosystems.www.  If you open:


You'll get a form to fill with an article to post to misc.test.

Go grab the patches, re-compile your browser, try the sample scripts
and start writing your own.  Who knows, if it becomes popular
enough, x-exec: could become a standard.

One last thing.  I'm certainly interested in discussing viable
alternatives to x-exec: and suggestions for improving it.  Flames
about it being "a bad thing" and/or "the wrong thing" will be
accepted in the same cheerful spirit as Mosaic Motif flames.