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Setting-Up Netscape Helper Applications

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Choose the Help|Release Notes menu item for platform-specific details and to find sites for downloading helper application software.

The Netscape application brings files to your computer using various server protocols such as HTTP, NNTP, SMTP, and FTP. Each protocol can support different file formats. Netscape has the built-in capability to interpret and display on your computer several formats, including the HTML format used by HTTP servers. When the Netscape application retrieves a file with a format that Netscape itself cannot read, the application attempts to use an external helper application capable of reading the file.

The Helpers dialog box lets you examine and configure how a file's format maps to a helper application. The dialog box contains several fields and buttons to specify MIME file types (a method of differentiating file formats using a suffix appended to a file name), helper applications, and associated actions.

A scrolling text field lists the helper applications available to the Netscape application. Each line of the text field contains information about one helper application. By clicking on a line in the text field, you can see and modify preferences for the selected helper application in the area below the scrolling field.

Below the helper applications listing are text fields and buttons that allow you to configure new helper applications or reconfigure current ones. You can add or modify information such as file extensions or actions associated with a helper application, then click OK (or Apply) to update the contents of the scrolling field.

The File/MIME Type field specifies the file or MIME type of the selection. The Subtype field further classifies the technical format of the selection. The File Extensions (Extensions) on Macintosh) field specifies the available suffix or suffixes used by the file type of the selection. You can enter or modify file extensions in this field. Click the Create New Type (New on Macintosh) button to produce the Configure New MIME Type dialog box with two text fields for you to enter a MIME type and MIME subtype. Clicking the OK button of the New Type dialog verifies the data and, if valid, adds the file information to the list. (Macintosh only) The application associated with the current selection is listed. Click the Browse button to select an associated application. Choose the application's default file type from the File type pop-up menu.

Under the Action setting, you can select one of four radio buttons to designate the action performed by the helper application:
View in Browse (Use Netscape as Viewer on Macintosh and UNIX) opens the downloaded file in the content area if the file's format is supported. Save to Disk (Save on Macintosh) produces a dialog box for saving a file to disk after the file is downloaded. Unknown: Prompt User causes a notification to the user. Launch Application opens the selected application using the downloaded file as its document. Click the Browse button to select a launch application. The application pathname is listed.

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