Use the source, Luke… even for HTML pages!

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These days I’m experimenting with a few desktop clients to read/update status messages from/to some socail networks I participate and I want to be involved more from now on. But there is a small catch!

Most desktop clients nowadays are being built using Adobe’s AIR. So, at first, I downloaded and installed the AIR package for Linux and all went well.

After that, I had to visit each client’s homepage to install the client. In order to make things easier for the end user to complete the installation, there is an automated procedure through the webpage. The only problem is that this procedure fails to accept the fact that I have already installed AIR and doesn’t let me proceed with the download/installation.

So, what can a poor developer/user do in such a situation?
Simple… “use the source, Luke!” and look at the HTML code of the webpage and try to find the link reference to the “.air” file, then download it manually and continue the installation from the command line using AIR’s “Adobe AIR Application Installer” (located at /usr/bin directory).

From Firefox, while viewing the desktop client’s webpage, press Ctrl+U to view the source, search for “.air” (without the quotes) and copy to clipboard the URL in the ‘a href=’ clause. Paste the copied URL into the location bar and save the file to your hard disk. Then run

Adobe AIR Application Installer

and guide it to the just-downloaded file to start the installation.

As usual, “the devil is in the details”, right?  🙂


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HTML validators

Producing valid HTML pages can be a difficult task. But since every web page has to obey some rules (a.k.a. standards), its structure can be validated either by the excellent W3C Markup Validation Service (free online service) or by using some browser extensions.

There is a very helpful extension for Firefox called HTML Validator, which validates each page by using W3C Tidy. A little icon at the lower right corner of Firefox shows the result for each page and it can be in one of three states: Valid, Warning, Error. Double-clicking on the icon reveals the source of the page, highlights any lines/tags with warnings/errors and provides the option to “Clean up the page…”

Another highly recommended extension for Firefox is the Web Developer extension which, among many other things, eases the validation process for HTML pages, CSS (cascading style sheets), links and feeds.


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