In my company we work on a software that produce reports in html format. My bosses love the fact that static html pages can be moved across computer simply by moving/copying a folder and no web server is involved, so the customer only need a browser.

The problem is that they asking me to implement a lot of feature which is very hard to implement properly and in a clean way without an application server.

Frames cross domain problem, the impossibility to work with GET and POST data, no URLs routing...is very hard to work with this limitations.

Anyone had similiar experience and wants to share their tricks/suggestion ?

Do I need to tell my boss 'there is no future without a web server'?


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    There are standalone tricks for almost everything. But it would be useful if you say what software is, the operating system where this software runs and how much control/skills do you have over the behavior/coding/programming. In my personal case, when I needed to run a MS Access Database to collect data and send it via email in a Windows Vista Based System, I found a solution with a small command line executable that allows to send html formatted emails without sendemail service or server-side app. If you provide additional information on your needs may be we can find something. Thank you. – Geppettvs D'Constanzo Jun 7 '11 at 15:57
  • I am a developer myself so I am pretty confident with the application code. The problem is that we cannot afford, at this time, to change the HTML templates which the application use to generate the static pages. The only way to implement those new features is to use Javascript on the existing HTML pages. Since we support also Firefox and other browser we cannot rely on VBScript but only on JS. Some time ago I developed a small web server in perl which automatically start the browser and shutdown itself when user leave the page, but my bosses are concerned about security and all this stuff. – Andrea Di Persio Jun 7 '11 at 16:57
  • I can't yet understand your needs sorry. I hope somebody else can help you. Static HTML files won't need to be hosted in any server and run from a simple folder, which won't be achieved by server side applications such as PHP, CGI (get, post, etc.) and other features that needs to be resolved in the server's side, which -of course- will require a server. I hope I am correctly understanding you and if so, those characteristics won't work in client's side as you wish because your customers will need to have such services installed and running at the very moment they open your pages. Good luck! – Geppettvs D'Constanzo Jun 7 '11 at 18:10
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    PART I Making processes to be standalone may do the trick. Running from html with tricks like this, shown at devppl.com/forum/post50024.html and transcribed here for your convenience: <a href="javascript:LaunchApp()">Launch the executable</a> <script> function LaunchApp() { if (!document.all) { alert ("Available only with Internet Explorer."); return; } var ws = new ActiveXObject("WScript.Shell"); ws.Exec("C:\\Program Files\\Adobe\\Photoshop 6.0\\Photoshp.exe"); } </script> (code's source: devppl.com/forum/post50024.html) – Geppettvs D'Constanzo Jun 7 '11 at 18:22
  • PART II This portion of code will provide a link which can be changed for an image, a button, etc and after clicking on it will run the application, which may be an executable, a batch process file, or whatever you wish that can solve anything that can't be done by the html itself. This kind of "outsourcing" is useful but it is like crushing stones with a hammer. However, it is yet valid if solves your issues. – Geppettvs D'Constanzo Jun 7 '11 at 18:22

JavaScript. JavaScript + HTML5 if you need it.

You can still serve it statically and it can do all kinds of things without a full web server. You can even use local storage for persisting data (only on the local browser though, in modern browsers with HTML5 local storage support), sorting, calculations, etc. Look into a JavaScript library to make the coding a lot easier.

Of course, there are a lot of pros and cons to using a more typical set of web technologies. For a more detailed answer, you should add to your Question some examples of what kind of tasks you are looking to do.

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