Re: Local program exection in WWW browsers

William M. Perry (
Wed, 13 Apr 94 09:18 EDT

>>>>> "SL" == Stan Letovsky <letovsky-stan@CS.YALE.EDU> writes:

SL> Subject: Local program exection in WWW browsers From:
SL> Date: Wed, 13 Apr 94 14:41:53 To: Multiple
SL> recipients of list <> ---------
>> In order to make full use of WWW browsers I'd like them to execute
>> local programs, possibly using their output as HTML (ie a local CGI
>> script).

SL> Why not just have your local server execute it as a cgi-bin script?

Well, what if you aren't running a local server, and couldn't talk your
local sysadmins into installing one? This would be handy for allowing
people to still run searches on local stuff.

SL> I think what is needed is a scripting language extension to
SL> HTML that allows programs to manipulate the browser state,
SL> including possibly dynamic restructuring of the displayed
SL> documents. Dave Raggett is including an API for such languages in
SL> the HTML+ spec. Security concerns can be addressed by restricting
SL> the operations available in the language -- e.g. no file system
SL> manipulations, or only interactively confirmed ones.

I take it you are referring to this in the htmlplus.dtd?

<!-- Core HTML+ DTD omits following features -->
<!ENTITY % HTML.figures "INCLUDE">
<!ENTITY % HTML.obsolete "IGNORE">

This does not do _anything_ to any of the browsers' internal state. A
browser will or will not support figures, period. It won't ignore them if
someone has a '<!ENTITY % HTML.figures "IGNORE">' in their document.

This stuff is intended to make the DTD more modular, and was influenced
by the TEI DTD and the discussions in Ireland last november. So, if I
didn't want to ever use forms, and didn't want to be distracted by their
possible use in an sgml-aware editor, I would just change one of the lines
to be 'ignore' instead of include.

If we were to put something like this in the HTML+ dtd:

<!ENTITY % HTML.localexec "IGNORE">

<![ %HTML.localexec [whatever we needed to do to include localexec urls
which is impossible to do, as the URL spec has nothing to do with the
HTML+, but assuming it was possible, it would go here]]>

This would not affect the browsers at all - only the authoring tools
would 'disable' the use of the localexec flag. Even then, you would
probably be able to put one in by hand.

Does anyone still have the URL for the x-exec: url type floating
around, I seem to have lost it.

-Bill P.