PDF / aspx files

topic posted Tue, August 10, 2010 - 2:20 PM by  Unsubscribed
Only recently, this curiosity has come up: Some of my account websites (in this instance my home and car insurance site) allows me to click to view various documents, such as my billing or coverage statement. These are downloaded and normally would automatically open up as a PDF file. Lately though, after clicking on the link for the documents, I download a file with the extension ".aspx" that only wants to open in Dreamweaver (?!) when I double click on it. I've learned that I can change the file name extension to ".pdf" and it will open with Preview as I'd desired.

Why is this "improvement" to my online experience happening? What are other less-savvy people doing with this "fresh hell" as Dorothy Parker might have called it? Guessing the majority of folks out there wouldn't have thought of trying the extension change.

I don't even know what an ".aspx" file is outside of being something from the "dark side" that won't work on Macs. I understand that it's supposed to open in a browser, yet when I try to open it from within Firefox, Preview activates but no document appears. WTF?
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  • Unsu...
    PS: I just tried it in Safari, and it opened in the browser window as it probably should have to start with. So it's a Firefox thing. Wonder if FF requires some sort of additional plug-in. I checked my preferences>applications, and there was nothing listed with ".aspx" and rather than adding it creating a possible Pandora's Box, I left it as was.
    • Here's a little more info. No full solution yet:

      There is usually an HTTP header associated with the file as it comes down from the server, Content-type, that will indicate the (MIME) type. That can override the type "hinted" by the file extension ".aspx." You are on the right track looking at the application preferences. PDFs are normally of type "application/pdf".

      .aspx is Microsoft's "newer" version of their Active Server Pages that can render any content type, so mapping it to an app that will handle PDF will work for this case, but not when its trying to do something else!

      Hopefully this helps get you a little further.. .
      • Unsu...
        Thanks. Why did I guess Microsoft was involved? I wonder. I suppose that for now I'm going to settle for just changing the extension for fear that ".aspx" might not just be pdf files. (The Pandora thing I worry about)
        • I looked into it further. Try this. On the firefox preferences/applications panel, search for pdf (NOT aspx). Adjust that entry to what you want it to do. I suspect that entry got screwed up on your firefox. It looks like it will detect the content-type (if you hove over the filetype column, you'll see application/pdf.

          Worth a shot, at least.
          • Unsu...
            Nothing found using "pdf" to search there, but it's listed in its long name, "Portable Document Format." It has "Preview" chosen as the app to open it. And that's what always happens except for these apparently hybrid aspx files. By the way, I also added my two cents worth in a reply to someone with the same problem in the forum on the Firefox site. Nearly identical. Opens in Safari, not Firefox. Nothing resolved there yet, but if it does come up with an answer, then I'll post it here too.
  • "I don't even know what an ".aspx" file is outside of being something from the "dark side" that won't work on Macs. I understand that it's supposed to open in a browser, yet when I try to open it from within Firefox, Preview activates but no document appears. WTF? "

    There's something not right happening, an aspx file is an ASP.NET file - that's basically the thing that the website itself is written in. My guess is that the aspx file linked to is actually running soem scripts to create the pdf and something is going wrong somewhere.

    Can you link us to an example?
    • Unsu...
      I sure can give you an example. The other person with this problem who posted it to the Firefox support forum gave this link and suggested clicking on the Summer and Winter maps. (I'd give you my own link that started this except that it was private account information.) These file links produced the same negative effect that my problem file had.
      • I can't open those maps either. When I click the link, it downloads a file (e.g., elm_creek_summer.ashx), but it doesn't know what to do with that file and I can't open it in Preview.
        • The headers for are:

          Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 15:36:47 GMT
          Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
          X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
          X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727
          Cache-Control: public, max-age=604800
          Expires: Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:36:47 GMT
          Last-Modified: Mon, 17 May 2010 22:14:48 GMT
          ETag: 36a146bcd6c4d53e9929fad384126741
          Content-Type: application/pdf

          on Chrome and safari, these open okay. On Firefox, it prompts me what to open it with and mentons both the file extension (I haven't seen ashx before - maybe its a new one for a new release of ASP.NET? ) and the Content-Type (application/pdf). There should be a way to force it to prompt you for that extension/type pair and have it open Preview, but I don't know how. ..

          What version firefox?

          • This post was deleted by Jory
        • It works fine on my PC at work, will check my imac and macbook when I get home.

          An .ashx file is obviously a text file so would open in a text editor - it's an component I believe.

          This link works fine in Firefox on my PC though so it might be some bug specific to firefox only on a mac. Will check it out later on and report back.
          • Unsu...
            Paul, I'm sure it's more than just a text file, since when you change that extension to ".pdf" you get an elaborate file with pictures, etc. as a pdf file would be. Also, I believe it's SUPPOSED to open as a pdf, but somehow Firefox doesn't let that happen yet.
            • It looks like ashx is, as far as the browser is concerned, the same as an aspx file. That means the server application should be sending down the Content-type as part of the data sent to the client with the page - in this case, it should be application/pdf. Something is apparently wrong with some versions/configuration s of firefox and its not interpreting that situation properly.

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