Reg Exp
Web Design
Notes Client
Linking From A Browser To Notes
This tip has come from a couple of questions about opening Notes from IE. It is possible to link from a web browser page to a database in Notes. This makes the most sense in an intranet environment. An extranet or internet application cannot guarantee the Notes ID that would be used to access the Domino server is authorized or even exists.

There are two ways to establish this link. The first is through the "notes://" href. With this method, the format is <A href="notes://<server>/<path>/<database>/<view>/<document>">text to be clicked</A>. The server entry is either the IP address of the server, or the entry in the DNS that can translate to the IP address. (In other words, it isn't the fully qualified server name you would put into a File | Database | Open dialog box). The view and document are optional. If omitted, the database opens as defined in the launch properties. If the view but not the document are included, that view is opened. If both the view and document are included, the document is opened.

The "notes://" href method works in Internet Explorer 5+ (it may work in 4+, but nobody around here has IE 4 still). It also works in Netscape 6+ (but not Netscape 4).

The second method is through an NDL file. NDL stands for "Notes Document Link" and is a text file that defines a document link. To create an NDL file, go into Notes and determine what you want to link to (a document, a view, or a database). Create a link (Edit | Copy As Link | type of link). Once the link has been created, open Notepad or another text editor and paste the text of the link into the editor. It will look a bit like HTML in that there will be tags for the database, the view, etc. Save the file with a ".ndl" extension.

Now that you have an NDL file, you can put that as an attachment on your web page. When clicked, the browser will try to launch the file. For IE 5+ and Netscape 6+, you will be prompted to save or open the file (see the IE example or the Netscape example). Opening the file will launch Notes to the database, view, or document (depending on the link you made).

In Netscape 4, the behavior depends on if the MIME type has been established already. Assuming it hasn't, it will need to be set up. There are a few steps to go through to set up the MIME type. The first step is to say that you want to associate the file with this extension. Use the "Pick App" button in the pop-up to start the association. The second step is to put in "notes.exe" as the program to use for this file extension. This would be in your operating system's path, so it should be able to resolve. If it is not in your path, the full file name would need to be entered. The third step is to open the file, which is similar to what you did with IE.

Once the association is made, you shouldn't need to go through those first two steps again on Netscape 4.

The "NDL" method works on IE 5+ and Netscape 4+. If your intranet customers do not have Netscape 4, then the best method is the "notes://" URL. However, if you were wanting something a bit more automated, it could be possible to create an NDL file programmatically (just look at the format, it wouldn't be too tough to create a text file with the right format) and place it into a document. So both methods may be useful at different times.