A Web Site on a Hybrid CD-ROM

Summary: How to store a Web site on a hybrid (HFS/ISO 9660) CD-ROM. How to avoid some pitfalls which could ruin your efforts.


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).

Data Files

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.

Applications (Programs)

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 on the Macintosh

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).

Under Mac OS X

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.

Pierre Duhem (ex-Logiciels & Services Duhem)
3, rue Pierre Haret - F-75009 Paris (France) - Tel. (+33) [0]149 700 455
web: http://www.macdisk.com