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Using Redirect Links to Consolidate and Simplify Access to Management Links

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Bryan Keadle

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Posted: 8 Jun 2007

You probably have a growing list of web-based management tools and pages; how do you keep track of them all? It can be quite a challenge to remember all the different addresses and different ports for accessing them all. For example, here are just a few of the different web-based services I need to get to:

  • iManager
  • NoRM (Novell Remote Manager)
  • iPrint Management
  • iFolder/Netstorage Management
  • HP WebJetAdmin
  • VMware Management User Interface
  • 3ware RAID Controller Management
  • Wireless Administration Pages
  • Canon Printer Management

If you're like me, building an internal "portal page" and keeping it updated is more effort than I have the time or resources for, nor do I know much about HTML but simple basics. Also, being more of a command-line administrator type, I like to be a "command away" from getting to where I need to go.

Here's a cool tip how I have consolidated all my various URLs so that they are easily accessible.

I simply choose one of my NetWare servers (running Apache) to be my "jump off" point from which I can access all URLs with easy-to-remember (and type) URLs, and use Novell's Welcome page "redirect link" to take me to the appropriate web server, wherever it might reside. I don't need to remember hostnames or ports.

So from a web-browser, I simply enter the following text in the Address bar to access the associated page:

and here are some of my other address URLs:

                =} goto/norm/server1
                =} goto/norm/server2
                =} goto/norm/server3
                =} goto/iprint
                =} goto/ifolder
                =} goto/webjetadmin
                =} goto/vmware/vmgsx1
                =} goto/vmware/vmgsx2
                =} goto/3ware/server1
                =} goto/3ware/server3
                =} goto/laserfiche
                =} goto/wireless
                =} goto/canonscan

So how does this work?

Let's use the example: goto/imanager/server1 on my NetWare 6.5 server (vopoesnw), and how that get's me to the iManager page located on server 1:

First, I had noticed with a new NetWare 6.5 server with Apache install, that when you go to the new server's URL, http://vopoesnw, you would get redirected to a Welcome page like this:


I discovered that the sys:/apache2/htdocs/index.html was a simple and effective "redirect link". So I copied this index.html file to redir.html to be used as a template. Knowing that whenever you specify a subdirectory off a URL, it looks for (by default) an index.html. So typing this in a browser address bar:


The web server would actually look for:


So, I simply create an imanager subdirectory under my Apache root directory:


then copy my redir.html "redirect template" to the imanager subdirectory, and rename it to index.html:


Then I edit this index.html with notepad, and make the following 2 changes, replacing the /welcome/index.html string with the URL to access the web service I want to go to:


         var sThisURL = unescape('/welcome/index.html');
    . . .
           <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="1;url=/welcome/index.html" target="top">


         var sThisURL = unescape('https://server1/nps/servlet/webacc?taskId=fw.Startup');
    . . .
           <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="1;url=https://server1/nps/servlet/webacc?taskId=fw.Startup" target="top">

I do likewise for the other web-services, creating subdirectory names that are easy to remember, so that my directory structure now looks something like:

\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\norm\server1\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\norm\server2\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\norm\server3\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\iprint\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\ifolder\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\webjetadmin\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\vwareserver\vmgsx1\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\vwareserver\vmgsx2\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\3ware\server1\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\3ware\server3\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\laserfiche\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\wireless\index.html
\ \vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\canonscan\index.html

and with each index.html file containing the URL to access the intended web service. (Boy, it's a lot harder to explain than to actually do!)

As new web service pages come into my environment, I can easily create a meaningful directory name, and place my "redirect index page" in that directory, and modify the 2 URL references inside to point to the new web service address and I now have a new "URL" to get to that web service ... wherever it may exist!

To make things *even* easier, I simply add a CNAME record of "goto" to point to my web server, vopoesnw, so that goto just becomes another name for vopoesnw.

If you come up with a good, logical naming convention, then getting to the same service on different servers is easy, for example, getting to the Novell Remote Manager (norm) pages on the different servers:

    ( so on )

However, as the number of these redirect links grow, sometimes I need a little help remembering the correct URL naming convention. So, here is a script that you can save to a file in your path (let's call it goto.bat) so that you can get a listing of your existing redirect page:

@echo off
set SERVERNAME=vopoesnw
goto :BEGIN
 GOTO - access goto and help pages
 SYNTAX: goto  (HELP) (filter)
 if second parameter after HELP exists, will filter the list according to the provided text string
if NOT "%1"=="" goto :HELP
start http://goto
goto :EOF
echo      goto re-direct links:>%TEMP%\goto.HLP
dir \\%SERVERNAME%\sys\apache2\htdocs /s/b/ad|find /v "\ippdocs\"|find /v "\info\"|find /v "\netadmin\">%TEMP%\goto.tmp
if %2x==x (
 type %TEMP%\goto.tmp >%TEMP%\goto.lst
 ) ELSE (
 type %TEMP%\goto.tmp | find /i "%2">%TEMP%\goto.lst
for /F "tokens=5* delims=\" %%A in ('sort %TEMP%\goto.lst') do (
 if NOT "%%B"=="" echo   =} goto/%%A/%%B>>%TEMP%\goto.HLP
 if "%%B"==""     echo   =} goto/%%A>>%TEMP%\goto.HLP
type %TEMP%\goto.HLP|more

NOTE: be sure to change my SERVERNAME reference on line 2 of vopoesnw to the name of your web server.

So, from a command prompt, typing:

goto HELP

will give you a list of all your redirect links, and:

goto HELP norm

will give you a list of all your norm-related redirect links.

For your reference and perhaps more clarification, here is a table of my existing redirect links and where they go:

So, how cOOl is that?!

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