Web Links

weblink Web Links

Many web sites currently offer services that Collection Managers find useful when entering or evaluating data within a collection. Specify includes a Web Link Editor that configures links to web addresses. A button can then be placed on a form that will launch a browser and connect to the web address.

At this time web links cannot be inserted into forms automatically without editing the form manually. To do this the form will need to be exported out of Specify, edited and imported back into Specify. For this reason, Web Links should NOT be defined until the new form containing the Web Link has been imported into Specify. Members of the Specify Collections Consortium may contact our help desk for additional support inserting the web links on a form at support@specifysoftware.org.

There are 4 types of web links:

1. A Global web link is not linked to a table or field, but offers a prompt for a value before launching.

2. A Field link sends values from an existing field to a web service, causing it to open to a specific page based on those values.

3. A New Field link creates a new field (not included in the Specify Schema) and launches the web site to a specific page based on the data in that field when the Web Link button is pushed. This link would require that a field be added to a form next to the web link button.

4. A URL Field link allows a URL to be entered into a field, then launches a browser and connects to the URL by clicking the web link button. This link would require that a field be added to a form next to the web link button.

Web links are configured using the Web Link Editor. It is highly recommended that the description (Desc) field in the Web Link Editor contain a description of exactly how the web link should work. This will be very useful when editing a form to include the web link as well as for future reference.

Web Link Editor

Web links are available for both Tables and Fields.

Table (System > Schema Configuration), choose a table from the Tables list and click the ... (dialog) button next to the Web Links button. This editor can create a Global, Field or New Field link.

Field (System > Schema Configuration), choose a table from the Tables list and a field from the Fields list.Then, in the Field pane, click Field Format Type button and choose Web Link from the resulting list. This editor can create any of the web link types and is the only editor that can complete the creation of the URL Field link.

Once a web link is created it will display in the Pick List next to the ... (dialog) button. When creating a Global, Field or New Field web link the name of the web link will need to be chosen from the pick list to link to the field. When you create a URL Field link, the pick list will need to say 'none'.

Global Web Link

A global link is useful when a field does not exist for the information required by a web service. It can be created in the System Configuration (System > Collection Setup > Configuration) or the Schema Configuration (System > Schema Configuration).

1. Open the Web Link Editor by one of the methods above.

Buttons at the bottom of the dialog offer the following:

  • edit(edit) opens the Web Link Editor for editing a saved web link.
  • delete(delete) removes the web link.
  • add(add) opens the Web Link Editor for creating a new Web Link.

2. Click the add (add) button to add a web link, or the Edit-2-16x16-1 (edit) button to edit a web link.

  • Name refers to the Name of the web link.
  • Type the URL into the Base URL field.
  • Type the name you wish the prompt to use at the end of the url with brackets on each end. Example; <climate>

The name of the prompt will appear in both a Name and Title field in the editor. The Title is editable and will display for the prompt. The Name will appear in the web link lists.

More than one prompt can be added by simply adding brackets; they do not require a separator.

Field Link

A Field Link is a URL used to link to remote web servers that return a web page based on values from within the Specify database. This web link would be configured to include the genus and species field from a record and launch to the exact page from the remote resource.

Open the Web Link Editor by one of the methods above.

  • Buttons at the bottom of the dialog offer the following:

    edit (edit) opens the Web Link Editor for editing a saved web link.

    delete (delete) removes the web link.

    add (add) opens the Web Link Editor for creating a new Web Link.

    Click the add (add) button to add a web link, or the edit (edit) button to edit a web link.

  • Name refers to the Name of the web link.
  • Type the URL into the Base URL field.

    *Type the name of the field to be included in brackets in the correct part of the URL. Example <genus>.

    * Each web service will require the field name in a specific place and in a specific way. This information should be included on the web service site.

When creating a web link using the Field Format Type an extra step exists. Once the web link is created it will be added to a pick list of web links in the Format Type field and must be selected from the pick list in order to be linked to the field.

New Field Link

Create a New Field Link by following the steps above (Field Link), with one variation, Rather than typing the name of a field into the brackets type <this>. The name <this> will appear in the Fields window. This link is useful when a field for required link information is not included in the Specify Schema. This link would require that a field and button be added to a form. Users would type the information into the field, then click the button and launch the site to a particular page based on data sent to the site.

When creating a web link using the Field Format Type an extra step exists. Once the web link is created it will be added to a pick list of web links in the Format Type field and must be selected from the pick list in order to be linked to the field.

URL Field

The URL Field web link can only be created using the Schema Configuration Field editor.

Once the Web Link Editor is open fill in a name for the web link.

In the Base URL text field type type <this>. 'this' will appear in the Name field of the Fields window. Specify will then know to take whatever is typed into the box and use it as an URL to launch a web site.

The most important step to remember when creating an URL Field web link is to choose none as the web link pick list (middle button) next to the Web Link Format Type.


Members can see step-by-step instructions available here on Discourse.