Web server with Firefox


After just a few days with DT 2 I really enjoy the new features.

Question: Is it in the works or at all possible to get the webserver to work with Firefox so that I can preview PDFs from within Firefox (in the same way you can currently do so with Safari)?

Normally I can read PDFs inside Firefox (I have the Quartz PDF plugin)

Just curious since FF is my browser of choice.


At the moment the web interface simply checks for Safari and blocks viewing PDFs in all other browsers. If someone points me to a good way to find out whether a browser can display PDFs (e.g. through a plugin) I am happy to add this to the code :slight_smile:

New “Pro Office” customer here, why don’t you just offer the possibility of downloading the PDF, if the browser is not able to “view” it?

Mind you my browser of choice if Firefox too, but I have to use IE (6 no less) at the office, so the DT web server and its content, should be visible in most popular browsers - reasonably this includes at least IE and FF.

We want to make the user experience seamless in the web interface, so downloading the PDF when the browser is unable to show it is … unexpected. As soon as we find a way to check whether the browser can display PDFs, we will add this option.

Apple provides downloadable software that enables Bonjour for Internet Explorer on Windows computers. So the DT Web server can work with IE. See http://support.apple.com/downloads/Bonjour_for_Windows.

Firefox is its own environment, whether on a Mac, Windows or Linux computer.

Firefox is like a UNIX port of a Windows application. It’s developers have so far made no effort to enable communications with Cocoa-based Mac applications through OS X Services, nor to support robust communications via AppleScript in the public releases. Although Firefox has its own environment of plugins to enable a variety of add-ons, it doesn’t provide the “hooks” common to Cocoa applications to enable rich communication and data exchange with DEVONthink. There’s nothing DEVONtechnologies can do about that. (Mozilla does provide at least limited compatibility with OS X Services in the Camino browser.)

I’ve got Firefox installed on my computers. But I know that, by contrast to the wide and convenient variety of options for Web captures offered in Cocoa browsers – Safari, DEVONagent and DEVONthink’s own browser – most of those capture options don’t exist for Firefox. Yes, there are some global scripts for Firefox captures, but they are necessarily slow and clumsy. For example, there’s a global Scripts menu to capture a Web document (WebArchive) from a page displayed by Firefox. But Firefox doesn’t have a meaningful AppleScript dictionary, and no Services. What happens is that the URL of the page is copied, then passed to WebKit, the page is reloaded under WebKit and saved to the DT database as a WebArchive document. That’s clumsy and slow. And there’s no practical way to capture a rich text selection via Firefox, which is the capture mode I use most frequently; the only “practical” way to capture rich text is to pass the page URL to a Services-compliant browser.

Bottom line: Firefox is fast, efficient and pleasant to use for some purposes. However, if my purpose is to quickly and efficiently capture data from the Web into DEVONthink, I wouldn’t dream of using Firefox as my browser; its developers have severely crippled it for that purpose. The only capture mode I use in Firefox is printing as PDF to a database (which is not my preferred capture mode).

DEVONtechnologies has designed two browsers specifically for integration with a DEVONthink database, DEVONagent and the built-in browser. They provide more options for downloading information from a Web page than does Safari, and of course many conveniently accessible options that cannot be found at all in Firefox. Want maximum efficiency and flexibility for collection of plain or rich text clippings, HTML, WebArchive or PDF captures? That’s what these browsers are designed to do.

The next public beta will permit to view PDFs also in Firefox or other browsers that are able to display PDF and advertise so (e.g. via plugins). It will also display e.g. iWork or Scrivener documents if they provide a QuickLook preview (older iWork documents don’t, for example).

Regarding Internet Explorer compatibility: We are using Cappuccino as the foundation for the web interface, a sophisticated JavaScript library. It will work fine on IE 7 and above but not on IE 6 as it’s simply too old. You can access your database from IE 6 using the old-style search-only web interface though that is still available.

I assume DTPO 2.0pb3r2 is the “next public beta”.

I’m using Firefox on several Ubuntu Linux 8.10 computers to access the web server through a local network. This approach works well and certainly was easy to setup and use except for two bugaboos – viewing PDFs and with changing web server access URLs.

Firefox for Ubuntu generally handles other PDFs adequately by using a Document Viewer helper application. Couldn’t this technique simply be used with PDFs from the DTPO web server instead of seeing “This is a PDF…Please use Safari”?

And, why does the web server port number keep changing (increasing) with every launch of DTPO?

The interactive web interface checks if the web browser has the ability to display PDF files directly, e.g. in a frame, to not disturb the user experience. If your browser doesn’t, it advises you to use a different one. Does your copy of Firefox for Ubuntu have a PDF plugin installed that displays PDF directly?

The port number is chosen randomly unless you enter one in the web server preferences. Then it will always use that one.

I primarily use default Ubuntu (8.10) installations which include the Evince document viewer. PDFs in Firefox are handled as a download and view by this separate application. No Firefox plugin.

Granted there is an interruption in the “user experience” but this approach works well for most PDFs and websites. Wouldn’t it also be okay for the DTPO web server if the user makes that choice and accepts whatever limitations there might be? Probably like documents not incorporated into the DTPO view or search, etc.

The official Adobe Reader and browser plugin can be installed in Ubuntu (8.10) but its installation is somewhat cumbersome and is not reportedly bugfree. I did install a 3rd party version of the 8.0 Reader plugin for Firefox and the DTPO server then does display PDFs as described.
Now if I could only get the size of the DTPO toolbar and the Databases column smaller when they are displayed in Firefox.

The server preference defaults (no entries) worked right from the start for me by using the listed URLs for browser access. But then access unexpectedly broke which turned out to be the result of a new DTPO launch. How about just including a default port value to begin with? What’s the advantage of the random value?

Actually, the server seems to work adequately on IE6. (I too am required to use it at work.)