Your Start Page

As you may have noticed, most web browsers let you set a start page, or in the case of newer tabbed browsers, a number of start pages. For a while I have had some sort of local start page, whether it be a static HTML page or, more recently, a slightly modified version of WordPress. Essentially it acts are part gateway, part idea storage, part to-do list.

With the arrival of SproutLiner I have moved my to-do list to a different page, which made my WP install a little OTT. I had already increased the cookie length to much longer than standard so I didn’t need to login, added a link to the post page and edited the links to make it easier to add and change posts, plus I had a sticky post with a to-do list. That has now gone, I have modified the theme to only show the post titles initially, then the rest of the content on mouseover and moved it away from my default page.

In it’s place is a reasonably static (albeit PHP) HTML page with a series of handy links (one of which is to the aforementioned WP install) to various resources and sites I use regularly. I also embedded my Google Calendar in there too (combined with the Google Calendar Quick Add plugin for Firefox it means I probably won’t even need to visit my Gcal page). All good, except I’d previously found that editing the page was a chore, having to find the page in the myriad of my folders was a pain. So, this time round I thought I’d be clever. Most applications will let you pass in parameters via the run command (in Windows, no idea about Mac/Linux), specifically a file to be opened (works with URLs in browsers), so I created a batch file containing something like the following code:

c:\path\to\htmleditor.exe c:\path\to\myhomepage.php

Then created a link which executed the following code:

exec('edithomepage.bat')

Note that in order to get this work, you need to go to services and edit the properties of the Apache service to “Allow service to interact with the desktop” (don’t forget to restart the service after) and you need to have safe_mode switched off. Now I have a link that enables me to edit the page and make changes quickly along with a gateway to all my sites and useful locations.

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