Summary: How to store a Web site on a hybrid (HFS/ISO 9660) CD-ROM.
Developers often wish to put all the files composing their Web site onto a CD-ROM,
to be able to consult the information off-line. Since one never knows the computer
configuration used to open this CD-ROM, and since Macintosh users should not be
simply ignored, one comes easily to the idea of producing a hybrid (HFS/ISO 9660)
CD-ROM to give all users the best experience, be it on a PC or on a Macintosh.
Since file formats used on the Internet (HTML, GIF, JPEG) are compatible and can be read on all platforms, things are relatively simple as long as there are only data files.
The matter becomes more complicated if you want to implement special effects, that is if you want to install applications and to get an autostarting feature (CD-ROM automatically launched when inserted in the CD-ROM drive).
In our program MacImage, data files (HTML text files, GIF or JPEG pictures, etc.) are simply dragged & dropped onto the window of a new CD-ROM project file, then this project is compiled to produce an image. At the end, this hybrid image (file containing byte for byte the future contents of the CD-ROM) is burnt with your favorite burning software (almost all packages offer a function to do that).
For more information on this process and the steps to follow to produce this hybrid image, please consult our Illustrated Walkthrough.
Installing applications on the CD-ROM built from a Web site (installing Macintosh applications on the HFS view of the hybrid CD-ROM) doesn't differ from the more general problem of installing applications on Macintosh media from a PC.
Please consult our page on Installing Macintosh Applications. Note in particular the precautions to be taken when copying Macintosh applications from a real Macintosh medium or when downloading such applications from a Web server.
Links coded in the HTML documents with slashes (/) or backslashes (\) are correctly handled by browsers on the Macintosh (albeit the separator between folder names on the Macintosh is the colon [:]). Nevertheless, we observed that there are problems with indirect links.
A link like
SRC="..\gif\image.gif" (link to the parent folder, then to a sibling folder named "gif") will not be interpreted correctly. We recommend using only downward links (to subfolders stored in the current folder).
Autostarting CD-ROMs, not to be confused with bootable CD-ROMs, are CD-ROMs which are specially coded to be automatically launched when the medium is inserted in the CD-ROM drive of a running computer.
On the PC: We won't explain here how to produce the autorunning feature from an ISO CD-ROM (or from the ISO view of the hybrid CD-ROM). Please consult specialized pages on this precise point, in particular the excellent CDR-FAQ maintained by Andy MacFadden (see section 3-21).
On the Mac: The basic principle is to put in the root of the HFS CD-ROM (or of the HFS view of the hybrid CD-ROM) a file whose name should not exceed 11 characters. For an example, index.htm(l) would meet this condition. The name of this file is written in the boot sector of the volume under some precise conditions (see Apple Technical Note on this matter). Our program MacImage can do it on a HFS partition (or on the HFS view of a hybrid HFS/ISO 9660 CD-ROM image). See also our page on Autostarting Macintosh CD-ROMs. Please note that the autorun feature is often seen as an open door to viral attacks and that 99% of conscious Macintosh users block this feature.
To launch Netscape Navigator, the signature of the file selected must be
MOSS for the creator and
TEXT for the file type.
To start Microsoft Internet Explorer, the signature of the file must be
MSIE for the creator and
TEXT for the file type.
It is also possible to point the autolaunching feature to a shortcut containing a more complex address. In this case, the shortcut should have a signature of
MSIE for the creator and
LINK for the file type. Its contents could be:
This method is interesting because the filename can be longer and also because the file to open can be stored in another folder and not necessarily in the root folder.
Of course, you are now asking whether it would be possible to simply launch the default browser installed on the target Macintosh computer, like you can do it on the PC with a command like
The first solution is to expect that the File Exchange extension, on the target Macintosh, will be correctly set, and that the
html suffixes will be bound to the default browser. Needless to say that this is rarely the case.
A second solution is to use the "Apple Browser Launcher", a scripting addition available on Macintosh computers under version 8 of the OS (this feature doesn't exist any more under MacOS 9 and X). If a file bears the creator code
'udog', this scripting extension is launched and automatically launches the default browser on the computer. The principle is explained in Apple Technical Q&A NW60. I use this solution with a filetype string of
Since MSIE, as you probably know, is the dominant browser, it is not completely insane to build your autostarting CD-ROM for it (using the MSIETEXT signature) and to add an identical copy of the entry file, bearing a name like "Users of other browsers, open me first", with the signature for Netscape Navigator (MOSSTEXT), Opera (OPRATEXT) or iCab (iCABTEXT).
The autostart feature was silently dropped by Apple when launching Mac OS X. There is no hope to see it again. You should therefore always add a readme file in the root folder.
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