PDF the Web

4 09 2013

With one command entered in the address bar of SAFARI you can seamlessly convert a website into a PDF document. No third-party app is needed. Added to the Bookmarks Bar of your browser the creation of a PDF is permanently available. With the commands ‘Print’ and ‘Open In’ the websites content can be easily transferred to other apps like Documents by Readdle, Apple’s iWork Suite, or sent by E-Mail.

Remark …

This post is based on a publication of

Mariam Yusuf on Technoduet

Thanks Mariam.

There are many scriptlets available which can be used e.g. to open an application on an iOS device. Mariam’s example can also be used with all browsers available for iOS devices.

And by the way I suggest visiting Technoduet, a great website to get information about all things tech.

The How-To guide …

Step 1 Open any website in Safari

Step 2 Tap on the Action button to Bookmark

Step 3 Select Bookmarks Bar

Step 4 Enter bookmark parameters

Title

SaveAsPDF

Address

javascript:pdf_url=location.href;location.href=’http://pdfmyurl.com?url=’+escape(pdf_url)

(Use the clipboard to transfer the command.)

Location

Bookmarks Bar

Step 5 Tap on Save.

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The new bookmark is located at the end of your Bookmarks Bar list.
Tap on Edit in the Bookmarks Bar list and move SaveAsPDF to the first position. This ensures that it’s always in your field of vision.

Prerequisites …

As you can see the command uses Javascript and should be shown in the bookmarks bar. This requires the following settings:

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Note
Javascript
JavaScript lets web programmers control elements of the page—for example, a page that uses JavaScript might display the current date and time, cause a linked page to appear in a new pop-up page or provides a Print button.

Using SaveAsPDF …

If you now want to convert a website into PDF file format just tap on SaveToPDF in the Bookmarks Bar. The PDF is generated by a function implemented in the iOS operating system.

If you tap on the PDF the commands ‘Print’ and ‘Open In’ will be available for further processing.

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There is a high-rated app available which allows non-linear presentations of slides. It’s Final Argument by Morris Cooke, UK.

See an app review here
Final Argument

The presentation slides can be arranged in a mind map-like outline. Single pages or the whole website can be assigned to a slide.

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This image shows an application of saving a website as PDF. The Apple website about iOS 7 was captured with ‘SaveAsPDF’ and a single page then was assigned to a slide of a presentation about the new operating system.

Applications …

  • Retrieving text from the PDF
  • Read later in a PDF Reader without animations
  • Annotations to an article with an annotating capable app
  • Adding parts of a website without loosing the formatting as a PDF file attachment

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Some pros and cons …

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Not recommended …

On a serious note do not …

  • Save Google searches as PDF
    Later on you have to enter all the useful addresses manually.
  • Record all websites you visited
    Your device’s memory won’t let that happen.

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





Syncing Bookmarks

27 03 2013

You can sync Safari Bookmarks on iOS devices with Safari bookmarks on a Windows PC.
This is pretty cool (to say it with the most frequently used words of Tim Cook) if you started reading on a website in the office and want to continue reading on a mobile device.

Requirements …

After installing iCloud Control Panel for Windows you have to enter the credentials for your Apple ID.
Set the checkbox for Safari.
Set the other checkboxes if you want to sync other data too.

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From now on bookmarks set on any of your iOS devices will be synced with Safari on your Windows PC. If you found an interesting link on your iPhone bookmark it. When you return to your PC you will find the same bookmark in the same folder of Safari on your PC and vv. That means if you bookmark on your PC you can continue reading this website on your iPad after leaving the office.

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Syncing is also possible with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer but not with two browsers and not with Google Chrome. For Google Chrome there is a an option called ‘Other Devices’ that loads up current and recent tabs on any other device you own that’s signed into Chrome. Opening a new tab can go either to this screen, your bookmarks (also synced), or frequently visited sites.

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Further notes on Google Chrome for iOS …

Chrome’s sharing options are: Google+, GMail, Mail, Facebook and Twitter.
There is no way to install extensions like ad-blockers, interface customizations and add-on services.
Web pages look identical to Safari, probably because they use the same engine to render them – a restriction Apple places on browsers for iOS.
Chrome cannot be set as the default browser – again Apple won’t let that happen.





Safari+Shortcut+1Password

27 01 2013

If you use the password keeper app 1Password you can immediately open this app from within Safari by entering a command in the address field of Safari.
To improve the usability of entering the command first define a shortcut.

A shortcut on iOS devices are some letters or numbers which expand into a word or phrase as you type it.
Shortcuts are often used to expand some characters to the complete E-Mail address.
For example:
Define aid as a shortcut and my.appleid@icloud.com as the phrase. If you then type aid anywhere on your device it’s expanded to the E-Mail address.

Go to Settings – General – Keyboard – Shortcuts.
Tap on ‘+’ and enter
javascript:window.location=’op’+(window.location.href);
for the phrase and pp for the shortcut (or any other shortcut).

Go to Settings – Safari and make sure that Javascript is enabled.

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Open a website in Safari.
Go to the field which contains the website’s address. Tap on the Cross to remove the content and enter your shortcut pp and tap on Go.

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1Password opens and displays the website with its own integrated browser.
In the app you can now define a new login for this website with its credentials.

Problems with shortcuts …

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When typing a shortcut you have to tap on the space bar to expand it.
If you use a shortcut in an input field e.g. 1Password’s field ‘username’ within the ‘Login’ category the app transmits the entire content of this field to the website including the following space character (blank) added by using the space bar.
Apple’s website for example then informs you about wrong credentials due to the following blank. You can only see where the problem is if you mark the whole input field. The marker shows you the additional blank and you have to manually delete it.
This is definitely not user friendly as most of the usernames today are E-Mail addresses and shortcuts are used to automatically fill in these addresses.

1Password and some website developers should fix this like Microsoft did it many years ago with input fields in Microsoft Access forms. They stripped off all following blanks as it makes no sense to save them.





Managing Website Data

14 01 2013

Saving usernames and passwords on your device is a comfortable feature of browsers as you can access websites without filling in your credentials every time you visit the site.

Unfortunately there are no detailed descriptions about credentials stored on an iOS-Device neither in the iPad User Guide or help texts in the Settings section nor on Apple’s website ‘Support’. For a normal user without deep technical knowledge the Settings section is very confusing and definitely not self explaining.

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The different functionalities are based on different actions websites may initiate. In general you cannot know what actions take place when you open a website. It’s specific for the website. Let’s look on the cookies first.

Quoting Wikipedia HTTP Cookies

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is usually a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while a user is browsing a website. When the user browses the same website in the future, the data stored in the cookie can be retrieved by the website to notify the website of the user’s previous activity. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember the state of the website or activity the user had taken in the past. This can include clicking particular buttons, logging in, or a record of which pages were visited by the user even months or years ago.
Although cookies cannot carry viruses, and cannot install malware on the host computer, tracking cookies and especially third-party tracking cookies are commonly used as ways to compile long-term records of individuals’ browsing histories — a major privacy concern that prompted European and US law makers to take action in 2011.
Other kinds of cookies perform essential functions in the modern Web. Perhaps most importantly, authentication cookies are the most common method used by web servers to know whether the user is logged in or not, and which account they are logged in under. Without such a mechanism, the site would not know whether to send a page containing sensitive information, or require the user to authenticate himself by logging in. The security of an authentication cookie generally depends on the security of the issuing website and the user’s web browser, and on whether the cookie data is encrypted. Security vulnerabilities may allow a cookie’s data to be read by a hacker, used to gain access to user data, or used to gain access (with the user’s credentials) to the website to which the cookie belongs.

This article will answer the following questions …

  • Where are the passwords when you open a website, enter your credentials and say YES answering the question of your browser ‘Would You like to save this password?’.
  • How can saved passwords be deleted from your device?
  • What is the best practice to set up the device?

Your iOS-Device can save your usernames and passwords for different websites. The browser can then automatically complete the sign-in fields for you when you next visit these websites. This is highly comfortable but it’s a risky undertaking and you may compromise yourself.

Locations of saved credentials …

Local
The passwords are stored in the iOS-Keychain of your device.
If you have more than one iOS-Device the credentials of one device are not synced with another device via iCloud. On every device you have save your credentials separately.
iCloud
All your credentials are stored in the encrypted iCloud-Backup of your device but only if you use an unlock code for the device. If not, you have to fill in your credentials again if you restore an iCloud- or iTunes-Backup.

Available Settings for Safari …

To manage your passwords and the ability to or not to save them go to
Settings – Safari.

Turning on the AutoFill – Option …

You may turn on the AutoFill option if you often visit websites where you have to sign in first. If this option is turned on you will be asked whether your device should save the login information or not.

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It is highly recommended not to save credentials for online banking, online shops or other websites containing sensitive data.

Deleting all saved credentials …

Go to Settings – Safari – AutoFill (section General) – Clear All

Deleting the data for a specific website …

Go to Safari, scroll down to Advanced and tap on Edit to delete the stored data for a specific site.

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This in general does not delete the credentials you provided for the website.
The feature is not described in the user manual and its a bit cloudy what this function really does. So do not use it.

Summary …

  • The only way to delete all website credentials from your device is:
    Go to Settings – Safari – AutoFill and tap on Clear All
  • McAfee Best Practices for Avoiding iOS Security Issues
  • Use a password keeping application with an integrated browser like 1Password (AgileBits) to securely access websites managing personal data of you.
  • As you can see there is a lack in iOS because there is no functionality for deleting all data (credentials, cookies and other data) of a specific website. If you go to Safari – Advanced – Website Data and delete the data for e.g. apple.com your username and your password will still be available when opening the site.

If you are interested in some technical details …

Apple iOS Security Basics








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