VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org
[Newsletter Index]
[Previous Page] [Next Page]
[Features Index]

April 2000

Bit-hacking WebOrg

By: Buddy Donnelly donnelly@tampabay.rr.com

Andrew Phillips' "Web Organizer" internet utility provides a powerful way to organize and access web browser bookmarks into meaningful folders, folders which can even be used when you're running browsers under other operating systems.

The program is shareware, costs a mere double sawbuck ($19.95) to register, and is available from the ONG Software website at:


or from BMT Micro's site at:


The worst thing about WebOrg, isn't very bad at all. It's just basically that it hasn't been updated since 1997, though Andrew has recently surfaced again in OS/2-land, so maybe there's an update coming along. (You've got to make allowances for these small outfits. What they give up in organizational strength they more than make up for in creativity and usefulness.)

The program works great as it is, and will consolidate bookmarks from both Netscape and Web Explorer, and is heavily Drag'n'droppish, but there's one small problem I have with the program: it doesn't remember where my own BOOKMARK.HTM is these days, and so it doesn't open with it automatically loaded the way it used to. (It *does* remember the locations of multiple BOOKMARK.HTM and EXPLORER.INI, in a file open history on the File menu. So it only takes an extra click or two to bring it up.)

Back then in 1997, the default location he used for Netscape's bookmarks was based on NS202, and that's what's hard-coded inside WebOrg. To find the BOOKMARK.HTM file and open it automatically, WebOrg just looked at the entry in OS2.INI for the Application "Netscape" and Key "2.02". For many people, this will be the Netscape 2.02 Install default: C:\NETSCAPE. However, if you don't have NS202 loaded, it finds nothing there, and you have to use the File | Open menu to point it to another location. Not a big deal, but not perfect, either.

Besides my now having NS461, which WebOrg doesn't know about at all, I do things even more differently: I keep my entire \WEBORG program directory on a FAT drive that can be seen from both my OS/2 and Win9x systems. That means I can point *all* my browsers at a homepage of d:\WEBORG\PAGES\MAIN.HTM, so I'm always starting up with the WebOrg structure on my screen, and I can point all my browsers at d:\WEBORG\BOOKMARK.HTM for a bookmark file.

That way, any bookmarks I make from any system go into the same file, and I can drag them into the WebOrg structure next time I'm ready to run WebOrg and sort things out.

Okay, so my problem is a tiny one: getting WebOrg to open right up displaying d:\WEBORG\BOOKMARK.HTM, which it doesn't want to do. Luckily, for the perfectionists among us, there is a way to do it, and without causing any other trouble on the system.

First step is simple: Using UNIMAINT or another INI editor, add a new Key for the Application "Netscape" in OS2.INI, named "2.12", and give it the value of the directory where you want it to look for BOOKMARK.HTM. In my case, that's "d:\WEBORG". (Everybody's got UNIMAINT, right? Can't do without it, here, and it's available from the Sierra Sofware site at:


If you're not ready to buy just yet, there's an old shareware version of INIMAINT, the predecessor, at this URL:

Now, it gets a tad touchy, unless you're used to doing things like this. You're going to open WEBORG.EXE, the program's executable file, in a HEX editor (not a text editor like E.EXE or EPM.EXE, but a Binary editor such as HED from Dimitris Kosonis or HEXEDIT/2 or others) and then you're going to make a one-byte change that will point WebOrg at this new entry in OS2.INI.

(Squeamish? Stop reading now, and just write me and I'll mail you the already-edited version.)

You need two tools for this: The Hex editor, and a utility called LXLITE.

To keep this simple, let's all get on the same page and use the same hex editor. Download HexEdit/2, a shareware hex editor available at hobbes as: ftp://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/apps/editors/hexedit2.zip and you'll also need the LXLITE utility to unpack the EXE so you can edit it. It's also at hobbes, at: ftp://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/util/archiver/lxlt121.zip

Unzip, install, generally get familiar with them. (You're going to want both of them located on your PATH statement, or else you're going to have to use the "fully qualified" file name to get the programs to open. I keep a directory on my PATH, E:\UTIL, and just install stuff like this straight into that directory for simplicity.)

Okay, ready? First, you use LXLITE to expand the WEBORG.EXE file. Copy WEBORG.EXE to a temp directory and run this command:


The file that started out as 105984 bytes has now grown to 151986 bytes, and now the internal structure will be visible, when you open it in HexEdit/2.

To find the place you're going to edit, you can use the Search tool on the menu bar.
Search | Search Forward
Search String: 2.02
Search Type: ASCII
Hit OK and it should go straight to the first location it finds "2.02", but this isn't the one, so hit Search | Search Again to find the other one. (Yes, there are only two.) Put the blinking cursor over the "0" inside the "2.02" you can see, which should be on the line that has "00003C90" at the left end. (The right column shows an ASCII representation of the stuff in the middle columns, and the left column shows the Hex location. But you don't need to know that.)

You've got the "0" blinking, so now go up to the Menubar, pull down Options and click on the "Read Only" item to release the safety. Go back to the "0" and change it to "1". Just type 1, and now the entry looks like "2.12". We're done, so pull down File | Save and then Exit the program.

Copy this edited file over the top of the installed WEBORG.EXE. Now, when you run WebOrg, it will look at that Netscape 2.12 entry you made in OS2.INI, and open the BOOKMARK.HTM file it finds in that location. And none of the Netscape versions will mess with that entry.

(Congratulate yourself. You've just done a bit of bit-hacking.)

There's no real need or benefit to repacking the WEBORG.EXE file, but if you want to do it, read the LXLITE documents to see how to do it.

Now, cap it all off by writing to Andrew Phillips congratulating him for a cheap and excellent program and asking him nicely for an updated version of WebOrganizer, at info@ongsw.com .

[Previous Page ] [Index] [Next Page ]
VOICE Home Page: http://www.os2voice.org