nethelp: URL (Request method)

A special URL access mode for Netscape help screens.


JavaScript - 1.2
Netscape - 4.0

This is a special request method provided by the Netscape browser to gain access to local client-side help resources. The resources are loaded from files that live in a help folder within the folder containing the browser application. You can access the files with a text editor and study how they work. They are just plain HTML and JavaScript; however, they provide a quite helpful embedded help system. In a large enterprise where you control the deployment of the browsers, you may want to augment the browser help with some internal help pages. You might want to add details of your help desk and how to contact it for instance.

These special URLs are not present in MSIE although there will be some internal resources in that browser which may provide customization opportunities in a similar way. Indeed, Microsoft provide an administrator kit which you can use to customize the browser installation.

You may also be able to obtain admin tools from Netscape and Microsoft to carry out legitimate customizations on the browsers before deploying them throughout your organization.

This can be called from JavaScript by setting the location.href of a window to a valid nethelp: location.

Here are some examples:

nethelp:netscape/home:start_hereFront page of the help system
nethelp:netscape/collabra:HELP_SEC_CERTS_CRYPTOMODSSecurity help
nethelp:netscape/collabra:HELP_SEC_CERTS_ISSUERSSecurity help
nethelp:netscape/collabra:HELP_SEC_INFOSecurity help
nethelp:netscape/collabra:HELP_SEC_PASS_UNSETSecurity help
nethelp:netscape/collabra:HELP_SEC_PREFS_APPLETSecurity help
nethelp:netscape/collabra:HELP_SEC_PREFS_MESSENGERSecurity help
nethelp:netscape/collabra:HELP_SEC_PREFS_NAVIGATORSecurity help

Mostly, these special URLs will be useful for debugging. Getting details of the disk cache for example may be useful. Pulling up the JavaScript debugger page if you detect an error in your script might also be a cool trick.

This appears to have changed somewhat in Netscape 6.0, which is likely to provide a whole range of new possibilities. Once the browser is fully debugged and working we can spend many happy hours inspecting it to discover them.


See also:about: URL, javascript: URL, mailbox: URL, mailto: URL, URL