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Notes client-side URL'S: A new way to open Notes stuff in the Notes client

How do you access some document in a Notes database via a Web browser? The right URL, of course.

How do you access some document in a Notes database via a Web browser? The right URL, of course.

How do you access the same thing via the Notes client? Well, first you locate the database, then you open it, then you find the right view, open it, the right document, open it.

Or, you could also use a URL. Notes supports URLs since R5 (OK, not so new), though the feature has been somewhat cloaked.

For example, I can open my personal address book with the URL:
Notes:///names.nsf

...and fancier stuff, too.

The three key things are:
1) How do I know what the URL is for a given object?
2) What is the general syntax of Notes Client URLs?
3) Where can I use the Notes client URLs?
4) How do I get my web browser to recognize Notes client URLs?

Read on...

1) Easiest way to get the URL for an object:

* Open Notes client

* Open the object (view or document) you want to reference

* Go to the Notes URL bar (if necessary, press Control-L)

* Click the drop down button to show the URL history list

* Click the drop down button again to stop showing the list

* Notes will place the current object's URL in the URL bar. You can select its text, and then press Control-C to copy to the clipboard

2) What is the syntax of the URL?

It always starts with Notes://

The general syntax is Notes://[optional server]/[required database]/[optional other object]

Server is the Notes name of the server (not the host name, as used in web browser's accessing Domino servers -- they may be the same, but do not have to be). If present, use the server's common name, e.g., for CentralHub/Sales/Acme, use Notes://CentralHub/Database drop the /Sales/Acme part

If server is not present, Notes will assume it is a file local to the Notes workstation (within the Notes data directory). In that case, the syntax will look something like Notes:///database (three slashes in a row)

The database is required, and can be a database filename (including path) or 16-digit hex replica ID of the database. The syntax automatically generated by Notes uses the replica ID. If hand-coding them, a filepath is probably easier.

Note: when using replica ID, do not include path.

Example:
The database can include a path, e.g.,
Notes:///localdevfiles/currentproject/superDuper.nsf

What about [optional other object]? That would be a view or a document.

For a view, use the view's 32-digit hex UNID (universal ID). I have had some limited success getting Notes to recognize the view name instead of the view UNID.

For a document, use a view URL, and append /{DocUNID} where {DocUNID} is the document's UNID. I have had limited success getting Notes to recognize the document's key (within the view) instead of the UNID. Note that you can also make up a view name, e.g., Notes:///names.nsf/nonsense_view/DocUNID

3) The key question: where do I use them?

As you might surmise, you can use the in the Notes URL bar. But you can also use them anywhere in Notes where a URL is effective. You can create a hotspot URL link using a Notes URL instead of a web URL. You can even put in body text, and if the client is set up to turn URL text into dynamic hotspots, it becomes clickable.

One other place you can use them -- perhaps the most interesting -- is on Notes startup command line. If you type notes.exe Notes://someURL, Notes will open the database/view/document references in the command line URL. This is also effective if Notes is already running -- the existing Notes window pops up, and it opens that URL. This might be useful if you wanted users to see an important company message when they start Notes, separate from the welcome page. Just change your startup command file or Start menu link to include the Notes:// URL syntax at the end of the command line.

4) How can you get Internet Explorer to recognize these?

That's an interesting question. Earlier R5 releases automatically installed support for this; I don't believe they do anymore. If anyone knows the registry settings needed to make them work, please post them.

This was last published in April 2002

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