20 December 2006

Send Tab URLs 0.1.2

No, the above title isn't a typo. To make it more obvious as to what it does, the name of this Firefox extension has been tweaked a bit. The internal name will still remain as "sendtabs," as you may notice in such places as the following download link...

Download: sendtabs-0.1.2.xpi (7 KB; English (United States); compatible with Firefox 1.5 - 2.0.0.*)

Please Note: Send Tabs is under development, and is currently meant for users interested in testing it and can tolerate its many bugs. If that scares you, then you shouldn't install it.

About This Release

The quest to overcome the "mailto:" URL length limitation in Windows continues. Apparently the limitation is imposed by the XPCOM method responsible for URL handling, and is in place to prevent buffer overflow exploits involving Windows helper apps (see Mozilla bug 161357). In assessing the risk of Send Tab URLs accidentally introducing this security vulnerability, I believe that one would have to make the effort to deliberately cause a buffer overflow problem on his own system, e.g. by intentionally typing in a malformed URL in the browser's address bar. Even so, the browser would already have been compromised before Send Tab URLs is invoked. This is a different situation than an unsuspecting user clicking on a malformed "mailto:" or "telnet:" URL, which is a scenario the URL length limitation is supposed to prevent.

In this release, Send Tab URLs will check if it is running in Windows; and if so, it will execute Mozilla Thunderbird, passing to it a command-line parameter that specifies the message subject and body (on non-Windows systems, Send Tab URLs will still invoke the system "mailto:" URL handler). Send Tab URLs expects Thunderbird to be installed in the default file location; if not it will prompt you to enter the install location manually. For future invocations, Send Tab URLs remembers the install location of Thunderbird in the user pref sendtabs.mailapp.installpath.thunderbird.

Future Directions

A more elegant way to detect the install path of Thunderbird -- i.e. without asking the user -- will be the goal of the next release.

Since the command-line parameters available to the Mozilla family of email clients (Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Mozilla 1.x suite) allow a long string to specify the message subject and body, I will work on supporting those apps in Send Tab URLs. I might also look into getting Send Tab URLs to work with Outlook Express and maybe even MS Office Outlook -- but don't hold your breath just yet.

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