File path links don't work in published webhelp on Chrome or Edge

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laurelalana
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2021 12:33 am

File path links don't work in published webhelp on Chrome or Edge

Unread post by laurelalana » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:04 pm

Hello,
One of the ways my company utilizes Help and Manual is by linking the file path of documents, excel sheets, pdfs, etc. within H&M pages for reference. All of these documents are in a shared folder (the same that Help and Manual is in) and everyone has access to it -- I was taught to link the document by using the "internet link" field and putting the full file path in the "address field". It has worked fine on all browsers for a long time. Then about a year or two ago, it stopped working in Chrome. And now with Edge updates, it's not working there either. When a user clicks on a file path link in the published web help intranet site, nothing happens.

I know this is because of security concerns with file path links (file://) . But, is there any way around this with Help and Manual? I've tested using the "file link" option by putting the full file path there as well, it's tests fine in H&M, but when published, same thing happens -- nothing happens when the link is clicked.

I've looked up solutions on the browser side, and it seems pretty locked down. So, I wanted to reach out here just to see if there's a better way to do this on the H&M side. Trying to problem solve how best to move forward with how we share these documents. Thank you in advanced!

Thanks,
Laurel

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Tim Green
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Re: File path links don't work in published webhelp on Chrome or Edge

Unread post by Tim Green » Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:04 am

Hi Laurel,

Basically, file:/// links should not ever be permitted to work from within a browser window. If they do, it means that any malicious website would also be able to access all the local files on your computer -- they provide a door out of the safe web space of the web server to the file system of the user's computer and potentially also to the entire network the user is connected to. That is definitely not something you want, and that is why browsers now restrict and block such links. There are ways to make them work, but because of browser restrictions they are becoming more and more complicated and it is likely that every solution will eventually also be blocked by browsers. Also, as soon as you implement a solution like this you are effectively creating a wide-open door on your system for hackers. :?

The bottom line is that if you want to provide access to files from WebHelp you need to put those files on the web server as well and then link to them with regular web/internet links, i.e. http:// or https://. That is the only really reliable way to do it.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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