CNRI Handle System Client Extension for Mozilla
The Handle Client Extension for Mozilla is a native handle client for use with the Mozilla application suite. Both the source code and a compiled version for use with Firefox are available.
While anyone can use the Firefox extension to resolve handles, the primary intended audiences are 1) handle system administrators who are looking for an alternative to the Handle Admin Tools, and 2) Handle System developers.
A handle client is software that understands the handle protocol. Handle clients are typically used to resolve handles and retrieve stored data, to administer handles (create new handles or add values), perform server administration tasks (authentication, backup, or generate key pairs), and/or otherwise manage a local handle service. Most browsers rely on a system of proxy servers to extract handles from URLs to avoid the need to install a separate handle client to access handle records in the Handle System.
This extension to Firefox embeds a handle client in the browser, eliminating the need to rely on a Proxy Server System to redirect Firefox to a URL in the handle record. It displays raw handle record data in the browser window in a choice of formats, and performs simple administrative tasks, such as creating new handles and updating handle values.
THIS SOFTWARE IS BEING MADE AVAILABLE UNDER THE CNRI HANDLE SYSTEM® CLIENT EXTENSION FOR MOZILLA (Ver. 1.0) LICENSE. PLEASE READ THE LICENSE CAREFULLY BEFORE DOWNLOADING AND INSTALLING THE SOFTWARE. THIS SOFTWARE INCORPORATES THE SIMILE PROJECT SOFTWARE THAT IS MADE AVAILABLE UNDER THE SIMILE SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT.
This extension runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X platforms. It requires:
If an earlier version of this handle extension software is installed, please uninstall it before installing this version.
Use Firefox to open the handle-extension-1.0.0.xpi file. Click on the 'Install' button after it highlights, and then restart Firefox. If Java was not enabled in Firefox before restarting, the extension will enable it, but a restart will be required.
If the Handle Toolbar is not displayed at the top of the Firefox browser window, the installation was not successful. On the Mac platform, the Handle Toolbar buttons resemble labels, but are clickable.
No configuration is required to resolve handles to their corresponding URLs or to display handle values in the browser window. To use the extension to create handles, or add URL values to existing handles, permission to perform those actions is required. (Handle administration and handle permissions are described in the HANDLE.NET Technical Manual).
The configuration options are all stored in plain text within the Firefox browser. Alternatively, if you leave any of the fields blank and check the "Prompt Administrator Dialog" box, the system will initiate a dialog for any action for which the Handle System requires authentication.
To establish your credentials for handle administration, do the following:
In the Preferences window, click on the Handle Tab to display the Handle Settings window. There are two authentication mechanisms: Private Key authentication and Secret Key authentication.
Handle Record Display
By default, a handle record's data is displayed in HTML format when 'Show Handle Values' is selected. The 'Handle Record Display' choices are XML, HTML and XSL. If XML is chosen, the data will be displayed as a document tree. If XSL is chosen, specifying an XSL stylesheet to format the display is required.
If a location is specified for the 'Stored URLs Log', a list of all of the URLs associated with the handles you create will be kept at that location. The URLs will display in a list when the 'Show Stored URLs' button is selected on the Handle Toolbar. To enable this option, first create a text file (i.e., firefox_log.txt) and then browse to select that file for the log. Manage the log file with a text editor (i.e., delete URLs if the list becomes too long).
Hiding the Handle Toolbar
Uncheck the 'CNRI Handle Toolbar' in the View->Toolbars menu to hide the toolbar.
In Firefox, click on Tools->Extensions (or Tools->Add-Ons depending on the platform). The extensions window will list 'Handle Extension'. Click on Uninstall.
Using the CNRI Handle System Client Extension
The extension enables the user to bypass proxy server systems and go directly to the Handle System to:
Type an existing handle into the 'Handle' text box and press return or click on 'Resolve'. If the handle doesn't exist, an alert window will pop-up that says "Error : Handle Not Found". If the handle has a URL associated with it, it will display the document found at that URL in the browser window. If the handle exists, but doesn't have a URL as one of its values, you'll get an "Error : Handle Values Not Found" message. If a handle has multiple URL values, clicking on the 'Resolve' button will display all of the URLs in the order in which they were added to the handle record.
By default, clicking on "Enter" or "Return" will invoke 'Resolve'.
Clicking on 'Show Handle Values' will display the handle record itself, all of the values with that handle. By default the display is HTML. If XML was selected under 'Handle Record Display' on the settings window, the handle values will be displayed as XML. (The serialized XML conforms to the handle record XML schema stored in the the handle 0.schema/1000). If XSL was specified, the XML will be displayed according to the XSL Stylesheet specified in the 'Handle Record Display' settings.
If the handle has a URL as one of its values, clicking on 'Show URLs' will display the URL string in a drop down list. If the handle has multiple URL values, selecting 'Show URLs' will display all of the URL values. Select a URL from the list to display it in the browser window. All of the values can be opened at once in individual tabs.
Enter a handle (new or existing) in the 'Handle' text box. Clicking 'Create/Update Handle' will create (or update) that handle with the URL that appears in the browser's Address Box. If you have chosen not to keep your credentials stored in the browser (the 'Prompt Administrator Dialog' box is checked in the settings window), you will be required to enter them before the handle will be created or modified.
The 'Show Stored Handles' button on the Handle Tool Bar displays a drop down list of all of the URLs associated with handles you have created. Select any of the URLs in the list to display the corresponding handle in the handle text box.
If you wish to be notified of new features and updates to the CNRI Handle System Client Extension for Mozilla and other Handle System software, please subscribe to the Handle-Info mailing list.
Updated 30 October 2007
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