Managing Site URLs

by | Jul 8, 2015 | Software Development, Solutions | 1 comment

A few years ago I started a project with a new customer. When I was granted access to their DEV, QA, and PROD environments I was given a bookmark file that contained all of the URLs I would need to manage and administer their systems (for example: DA, Webtop, and various D2 applications).

Generally, these URLs are not too hard to remember, but there are subtle differences in their construction across the three environments (e.g., port numbers and host names). This list also contained some not-so-easy to remember URLs like the xPlore Index Agent and the DFS WSDL location. I was impressed; this simple bookmark file saved me a lot of time not having to compile it myself. But I wanted more…

This bookmark file saved me time when I needed access to a web application, but it didn’t help with,ssh scp, or rdp access to the servers. For those protocols I needed to use putty, WinSCP, and mstsc (Remote Desktop Connection) respectively, which meant I had essentially four lists of host names\URLs per environment – that’s 12 lists with over a hundred hosts and URLS! I’m sure there are dozens of solutions to this problem – some probably even contain password management, but here is my simple, bare-bones solution to this problem, in an environment where I had limited Desktop control.

I created a simple Word document (see Image 1) that contained tables with all the application URLs and host names I needed to access. I then saved this document as a ‘Web Page, Filtered’ HTML document to my Desktop. I opened the HTML file in my browser and made it my default homepage (see Image 2). Now I have instant access to these URLs and hosts from either the browser or the Desktop.

Creating URLs for the web applications (e.g., Webtop, DA) was simple. Creating links for the,sshscp, and rdp host names required a little trickery. Somehow I needed to associate the,ssh://scp://, and rdp:// protocols with their respective clients (putty, WinSCP, and mstsc). Fortunately, JJ Clements had already figured this out and published two very clever little batch files that solved the problem nicely (rdp and ssh/scp).

[My only caveat with using these batch files is that you may need to alter them slightly depending upon where you installed putty and WinSCP, and whether you can write to your C:\Windows directory.]


URLs wordImage 1 – Word document url_htmlImage 2 – HTML document

Now I have one place from which I can access all of the applications and hosts I need to manage. I created one document for each environment (DEV, QA, and PROD) and linked them together. (This allows me to fit all of the links on a single page without having to scroll). Since a Word document is the storage location for all the URLs and hosts, it can easily be updated and shared among project teams.

This article was originally posted on dm_misc blog.


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1 Comment

  1. Myrtle Engram

    This is such a clever idea ~ having one place to access all the applications you need. I will implement this idea.


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