Linktastic is a CGI script by me (William V. Baxter) that grew out
of my frustration with the "bookmark" and "favorites" facilities built
into Netscape and Internet Explorer. First off, these guys can't
agree on a single bookmark format. I use both browsers at different
times and it is a royal pain to keep bookmarks synchronized between
the two. Netscape's bookmarks.html is nice in that at
least I can read it from any browser, but I still can't edit
it with any browser but Netscape.
Regardless, even if those guys could get their acts
together to cooperate (maybe in between jabs over Java and IE
bundling) there is still a problem in that both IE and Netscape store
bookmarks in a local file (or files). This setup makes it difficult
to access the bookmarks from unpriviledged remote machines.
Especially if we're talking about PC's that aren't running web
"Linktastic" is my solution to this dilemma. It is a
browser-neutral CGI script for managing dynamic lists of hierarchical
To use Linktastic you just need to point your browser to the
Linktastic script's URL.
linktastic on my web site is
home of the only instance on the web right now.
You will first be presented with a list of free-for-all links
belonging to "anon" (short for anonymous). Anyone can edit the
anonymous links -- just hit the edit button and then when it asks,
type anon for the user name and leave the password
You can look at the list of users who have link pages by clicking on
the "Other People's Links" link at the bottom of
any user's link page.
Or you can go
directly to the list of users by appending '?userlist=1' to the end of the
base linktastic URL.
QuickEdit and QuickAdd
The easiest way to build up your links is to use QuickEdit and
QuickAdd. These let you add a link to your linktastic page without
having to manually type in the web site information. It works pretty
much like the "Add To Favorites" menu option in Internet Explorer or
"Add Bookmark" in Netscape, but instead of adding the link to a
browser-specific "bookmark" or "favorites" file, the link gets added
to your browser-neutral Linktastic page.
When you use QuickEdit, your Linktastic page will be opened in edit
mode automatically and the name and web address for the page you were
just looking at will be entered into the blanks. Choose a category to
add the link to and then hit the "Add it there!" button. Voila! The
link is now saved on your Linktastic page.
When you use QuickAdd, a link to the page you are currently
looking at will be automatically added to your Linktastic links in the
"zzzQuickAdd" category. This is handy if you don't want to bother
picking a category like you have to do with QuickEdit. You can always
move the links in the "zzzQuickAdd" to more appropriate categories
later using Linktastic edit mode. The category
is called "zzzQuickAdd" not because QuickAdd makes you sleepy but
because Linktastic sorts links alphabetically, starting it with "zzz"
makes sure it appears close to the bottom of your Linktastic page.
That way it is always easy to find amongst all your other links.
QuickEdit and QuickAdd installation/setup
Using QuickAdd and QuickEdit requires just a little setup. Here's how
to do it:
Now whenever you are looking at a web site that you'd like to save a
link to on your Linktastic page, just select the QuickAdd or QuickEdit
entry in your browser's "bookmarks" or "favorites" and that site will
be added as described above.
- Go to your linktastic page.
- Scroll down to the very bottom of the page.
- There are some links there -- one of them says "QuickEdit"
- EASY WAY: drag the link onto your browser toolbar.
(See an animated demonstration of how to do this in either
Internet Explorer or
- HARD WAY:
- Click on the "QuickEdit" link with your RIGHT mouse button.
A menu will pop up.
- If you use Internet Explorer
- Select "Add to Favorites..." from the pop-up menu.
- A dialog will pop up asking you what to name the bookmark.
- Just say ok.
- If you use Netscape select "Add Bookmark"
- Select "Add Bookmark" from the pop-up menu.
- Your new QuickAdd bookmark should now appear in your
- Some versions of Netscape will name the bookmark
happens then you can choose "Edit Bookmarks..." on the
Netscape bookmarks menu and change the name to "QuickEdit".
- If you use some other browser then chances are you already know
what to do without me having to tell you.
- Repeat the process with the "QuickAdd" link to setup the QuickAdd
Linktastic Edit Mode
To edit and arrange your existing links, or to add new links by typing
in the web addresses directly, you need to go into edit mode by
hitting the "Edit Mode" button on your main Linktastic page. Once you
are in edit mode, you can add, delete, and modify links as
there is NO UNDO!!! You have been warned.)
Not as intuitive or flexible as the Windows Explorer, perhaps, but it
gets the job done. The biggest item on the user interface wish list
is undo. I'm working on it.
- Adding a link is pretty simple. First type in the title and
web address in the apropriate blanks (copy and paste are your
friends). Then either specify the category under which to add it and
press "Add it there" or click directly on one of the
- Deletion is even simpler: just click on the
image next to the link you wish to delete. If you delete a
category then that whole category and all of its contents will be erased.
- Modification is a two step process:
- Click the button next to
the link you wish to modify or move. The info for that link will
then appear in the apropriate edit fields.
- Edit the title and/or web address as desired. And then specify
where to move the link by
- editing the category and clicking on "Modify It", or
- just clicking directly on a button next to a link.
Basically, once you get into the Linktastic groove, whenever you sit
down at a new browser all you will have to do is put the url for your
Linktastic page in the browser's bookmarks, and then use Linktastic
for all other bookmarks. Your linktastic URL will be the base URL to
the script plus '?user=yourname'. You could also
make your linktastic page your home page.
If you type a word or two into the Quick Jump blank and hit enter,
Linktastic will search your links to find the the first one that
matches all the keywords you typed. If it finds a match it
automatically takes you to that page. If there is not a match it
won't do anything.
The Quick Jump blank only appears in view mode.
When you are not editing your Linktastic links, you are in view mode, which
is the normal mode. The blank appears next to the "Edit Mode" button.
This may seem like a silly feature when you've just got a few links,
but as your page grows you'll find yourself trying to find the some link
about "canoli" or something that you know you added sometime, but
you just don't see. In those cases, just type in the word "canoli"
and Linktastic will whisk you there.
Linktastic Implementation Details
Linktastic was written using object-oriented
Perl 5 with the
It currently is on a Solaris machine running the ever-popular Apache
web server in the
Computer Science Department of the
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
The peculiar thing about UNC is that it user home directories are all
AFS rather than NFS. AFS, with its directory-level permissions and
tokens, was definitely not designed for the CGI environment. You
can't do setuid with AFS.
Obtaining the Source
If you're interested,
send me mail.
Obtaining a Linktastic account
Again, if you're interested,
to have an automated process for this at some point, but grad classes
Let's call this Release 0.1.
# Known Bugs, Limitations, and Issues:
# * Security. Primarily, the data file must be world readable
# and writable. I haven't been able to figure out a way to run
# the script setuid under UNC's wwwx server.
# * Input checking/cleaning. Probably not enough checking is done on input.
# * MSIE bug. Sometimes have to hit 'Edit' again after authenticating.
# * It would be nice to be able to add new users on the fly.
# * Can't reauthenticate to become another user. How can I force
# Apache to ask for authentication again? Also, how can I
# selectively disable Apache security checks when you try to edit
# anonymous links?
# * Frames would be nice. View your link list in a frame on the left.
# Or show the link edit form at the bottom.
# * Allowing different sorting orders would be cool. Sort by date added,
# sort by click-through count, sort by user's desires, and of course
# Sort by title.
# * Collapsing subcategories like a real treeview widget would be cool.
# * Bug with modifying (moving) a link to be a sublink of one it's
# children. It just deletes the thing and its children.
# * Need to expose pref facilities so that users can edit the prefs
# for their links (bgcolor, link color, etc).
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