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Using Redirect Links to Consolidate and Simplify Access to Management Links



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June 8, 2007 10:50 am

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By Bryan Keadle

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:

1870-1.gif

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:

http://vopoesnw/welcome/index.html

1870-2.gif

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:

vopoesnw/imanager

The web server would actually look for:

http://vopoesnw/imanager/index.html

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

vopoesnw\sys:apache2\htdocs\imanager

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

vopoesnw\sys\apache2\htdocs\imanager\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:

FROM THIS:

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

TO THIS:

         <!--
         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:

goto/norm/server1
    goto/norm/server2
    ( 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
:BEGIN
if NOT "%1"=="" goto :HELP
start http://goto
goto :EOF
 
:HELP
echo.
echo      goto re-direct links:>%TEMP%\goto.HLP
echo.>>%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
echo.
pause

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:

1870-3.gif

So, how cOOl is that?!

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Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Novell. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.

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