Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Downloading EXE files from S3

It is more than a little frustrating that Internet Explorer and Windows cannot do anything to match what the other major browsers and operating systems are doing, or so it seems.  Internet Explorer has long been the browser that most developers hate to support.  Today, I ran across something that wasn't HTML or CSS related but still caused issues on Windows using Internet Explorer.
As many of you know, I use Amazon Web Services to do much of my work and S3, Simple Storage Service, is a large part of what I work with.  Today, I was made aware that someone could not download an EXE file from S3 onto their desktop.  I tested it out, and it was fine for me.  Classic developer response right? Turns out, it worked for me because I was using Chrome on my Mac.  It didn't work quite right in Internet Explorer on Windows.  The file would download, but it would not bring down the extension to the file.  What I mean, is if the file was stored in S3 as "filename.exe", when it was downloaded to the Windows machine it would only be named "filename".   I was encouraged by some people that I know to simply chalk it up to a security concern, and while I do not encourage anyone downloading random .exe files and installing them, I knew that this just couldn't be the case.  As it turns out, Internet Explorer must be told the Content-Disposition of the file when it is an EXE or DLL.  This is done in the headers when the file is requested.  Luckily, S3 allows you to put metadata on a file that is passed down when the file is requested.  To allow Internet Explorer to recognize and save the file with the .exe extension you will just need to add the Content-Disposition:attachment; filename=<filename.exe> header.

You can do this as metadata in S3 through the AWS console.  Many of the software utilities that work with S3 also allow you to set this metadata programmatically when storing the objects.
I am used to all sorts of JavaScript, HTML, CSS problems when working with IE, but this one really threw me for a loop at first.  I hope that this helps you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

DigitalChalk is a Gazelle

It really has been a whirlwind of a morning. I woke up this morning and walked out the door to get a morning cup of coffee at the local Starbucks before heading into work.  I grabbed the Wall Street Journal and started reading. That is when it really sank in.  I was reading an article about my company in the Wall Street Journal!  This will be one of those days that you always remember when you look back at all of the things that happen as you start a company.  It is certainly a highlight for me.  This picture is one that I took sitting there near the fire reading the paper and enjoying my coffee.
I was interviewed by Mark Whitehouse about 2 weeks ago while I was walking down the street in San Francisco, a long ways from our headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina but right in the heart of tech startup country.  He told me he was trying to do some research on why it was hard for startups right now to get adequate funding. I was excited to share with him about DigitalChalk and the success that we have been blessed with in some really hard economic times.  Our growth this year has been better than it ever has and there is really no end in sight!  As I described this to Mark, he told me over and over that we had all the markings of a great story as a Gazelle.  I really like that analogy.  Gazelles are extremely fast and nimble animals and if you had the opportunity to meet the team at DigitalChalk, I think it describes us completely.  I get to work with some of the smartest people with the agility to change and go from 0 to 100 at anytime.
Reading through the article, and seeing some of the accomplishments in print in the Wall Street Journal is both exciting and humbling, but most of all, it makes me thankful for the passion and the dedication to all the people who make up the DigitalChalk team.  This is something we can all look back on and be proud of.
Please check out the article: Shortage of Capital Costs Firm