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If the url matches .*\.myemployer\.com.* then I want the link to open in chromium. Otherwise I want it to open in brave. Is this possible? If so, how?

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  • I don't think this is easily achievable, system-wide. An alternative could be, to install a plugin in brave, to open specific links/domains in another browser. I do have a setup like this for firefox. Aug 6, 2019 at 6:16
  • @RobertRiedl Thanks for your comment. I hadn't thought of using the browser itself to handle this, that's a clever solution. -- Still.. there's gotta be some component that handles the link-click event and starts the appropriate browser--I realize it would likely be a code change to that component, but I'm kind of interested in getting my hands dirty with this one. Aug 6, 2019 at 14:02
  • 2
    Well, then there is this answer here over at superuser ! Aug 6, 2019 at 14:04
  • Oh that's clever, just intercept it by placing your own xdg-open earlier in the PATH... The connection you've made is exactly what I was looking for. If you write up a quick answer I'll accept it. Aug 6, 2019 at 14:21
  • Related: askubuntu.com/questions/514125/… Aug 8, 2019 at 15:55

3 Answers 3

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+50

Note that there is a difference between the text/html mimetype (this is opening actual HTML files) and the x-scheme-handler/http mimetype (this is an HTTP URL). I assume you want to customize how external applications open HTTP/HTTPS URLs, since you mention domains. (Note that this is for external applications. Customizing how a particular browser handles an HTTP URL is a different thing altogether.)

One tricky thing about custom URL handlers is that there are at least four files the associations might be stored in, depending on the application / library the application uses:

  • ~/.config/mimeapps.list (the right place to make changes)
  • ~/.local/share/application/mimeapps.list (the deprecated location)
  • ~/.local/share/application/defaults.list (the older deprecated location)
  • ~/.local/share/applications/mimeinfo.cache (the cache)

I've been doing some work on custom URL handlers lately, so I've adapted some of that for this purpose. Here are the instructions:

  1. Check the currently registered file for the protocols. Here's what they look like for me:

    $ gio mime x-scheme-handler/http
    Default application for “x-scheme-handler/http”: firefox.desktop
    Registered applications:
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    Recommended applications:
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    $ gio mime x-scheme-handler/https
    Default application for “x-scheme-handler/https”: firefox.desktop
    Registered applications:
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    Recommended applications:
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    
  2. Write a script that parses the URL and launches the appropriate browser.

    I prefer to use Python, since it has libraries to parse URLs and send errors to syslog.

    #! /usr/bin/env python3
    
    import subprocess
    import logging
    import argparse
    import syslog
    import sys
    
    try :
        from urllib.parse import urlparse
    except ImportError:
        from urlparse import urlparse
    import os.path
    
    def http_url(url):
        if url.startswith('http://'):
            return url
        if url.startswith('https://'):
            return url
        else:
            syslog.syslog(syslog.LOG_ERR, sys.argv[0] + ": not an HTTP/HTTPS URL: '{}'".format(url))
            raise argparse.ArgumentTypeError(
                "not an HTTP/HTTPS URL: '{}'".format(url))
    
    if __name__ == '__main__':
        parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(
            description='Handler for http/https URLs.'
        )
        parser.add_argument(
            '-v',
            '--verbose',
            help='More verbose logging',
            dest="loglevel",
            default=logging.WARNING,
            action="store_const",
            const=logging.INFO,
        )
        parser.add_argument(
            '-d',
            '--debug',
            help='Enable debugging logs',
            action="store_const",
            dest="loglevel",
            const=logging.DEBUG,
        )
        parser.add_argument(
            'url',
            type=http_url,
            help="URL starting with 'http://' or 'https://'",
        )
        args = parser.parse_args()
        logging.basicConfig(level=args.loglevel)
        logging.debug("args.url = '{}'".format(args.url))
        parsed = urlparse(args.url)
        if parsed.hostname == 'askubuntu.com':
            browser = 'firefox'
        else:
            browser = 'chromium-browser'
        logging.info("browser = '{}'".format(browser))
        cmd = [browser, args.url]
        try :
            status = subprocess.check_call(cmd)
        except subprocess.CalledProcessError:
            syslog.syslog(syslog.LOG_ERR, sys.argv[0] + "could not open URL with browser '{}': {}".format(browser, args.url))
            raise
    

    Adapt the script to your liking, particularly the executable for brave (I haven't used it, so I don't know) and the hostname in the if parsed.hostname part.

  3. Test the script from the current directory.

    This should open with Firefox:

    $ ./http_url_handler.py 'https://askubuntu.com/questions/1161752/how-can-i-configure-a-domain-specific-default-browser'
    

    This should open with Chromium:

    $ ./http_url_handler.py 'https://superuser.com/questions/688063/is-there-a-way-to-redirect-certain-urls-to-specific-web-browsers-in-linux/'
    
  4. Add the script to your $PATH so the desktop file can find it.

    I use a bin directory like this:

    $ mkdir ~/bin/
    

    and add this to ~/.profile (note you will need to log out and log in again to see changes):

    PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH"
    

    and finally either copy or symlink the script to ~/bin:

    $ ln -s $PWD/http_url_handler.py ~/bin/
    

    If you did this properly, you should see this:

    $ type -a http_url_handler.py 
    http_url_handler.py is /home/nathaniel/bin/http_url_handler.py
    

    not this:

    $ type -a http_url_handler.py 
    bash: type: http_url_handler.py: not found
    
  5. Test the script from your home directory.

    This should open in Chromium:

    $ http_url_handler.py 'https://superuser.com/questions/688063/is-there-a-way-to-redirect-certain-urls-to-specific-web-browsers-in-linux'
    

    This should open in Firefox:

    $ http_url_handler.py 'https://askubuntu.com/questions/1161752/how-can-i-configure-a-domain-specific-default-browser'
    
  6. Install the desktop file. Here's the one I used:

    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=HTTP URL handler
    Comment=Open an HTTP/HTTPS URL with a particular browser
    TryExec=http_url_handler.py
    Exec=http_url_handler.py %u
    X-MultipleArgs=false
    Type=Application
    Terminal=false
    NoDisplay=true
    MimeType=x-scheme-handler/http;x-scheme-handler/https
    

    Either via desktop-file-install:

    $ desktop-file-install --dir=$HOME/.local/share/applications/ http-url-handler.desktop
    

    or manually copy the http-url-handler.desktop file to the proper directory, which should be ~/.local/share/applications/:

    $ cp http-url-handler.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
    

    These are the most important lines in the desktop file:

    Exec=http_url_handler.py %u
    MimeType=x-scheme-handler/http;x-scheme-handler/https
    
  7. Make the desktop file executable.

    $ chmod +x $HOME/.local/share/applications/http-url-handler.desktop
    

    This is necessary because of a security precaution.

  8. Register the desktop file with the x-scheme-handler/http and x-scheme-handler/https mimetypes.

    $ gio mime x-scheme-handler/http  http-url-handler.desktop
    Set http-url-handler.desktop as the default for x-scheme-handler/http
    $ gio mime x-scheme-handler/https http-url-handler.desktop
    Set http-url-handler.desktop as the default for x-scheme-handler/https
    

    All this really does is change lines in ~/.config/mimeapps.list under the [Default Applications] group so that instead of this:

    x-scheme-handler/http=firefox.desktop
    x-scheme-handler/https=firefox.desktop
    

    it says this:

    x-scheme-handler/http=http-url-handler.desktop
    x-scheme-handler/https=http-url-handler.desktop
    

    You can also add it under the [Added Associations] group with a text editor so it looks something like this:

    x-scheme-handler/http=http-url-handler.desktop;firefox.desktop;chromium-browser.desktop
    x-scheme-handler/https=http-url-handler.desktop;firefox.desktop;chromium-browser.desktop
    

    Some older applications use ~/.local/share/application/mimeapps.list, but this is officially deprecated. However, the xdg-mime command uses this location anyway:

    $ xdg-mime default http-url-handler.desktop x-scheme-handler/http
    $ xdg-mime default http-url-handler.desktop x-scheme-handler/https
    

    There is also an even older deprecated file called defaults.list that is still used by some applications. Edit this file with a text editor:

    $ edit ~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list
    

    and manually add these lines:

    x-scheme-handler/http=http-url-handler.desktop
    x-scheme-handler/https=http-url-handler.desktop
    

    under the [Default Applications] group.

  9. Check if it was successfully registered.

    $ gio mime x-scheme-handler/http
    Default application for “x-scheme-handler/http”: http-url-handler.desktop
    Registered applications:
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    Recommended applications:
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    $ gio mime x-scheme-handler/https
    Default application for “x-scheme-handler/https”: http-url-handler.desktop
    Registered applications:
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    Recommended applications:
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    

    If you also added to the [Added Associations] group, it will look like something like this:

    $ gio mime x-scheme-handler/http
    Default application for “x-scheme-handler/http”: http-url-handler.desktop
    Registered applications:
            http-url-handler.desktop
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    Recommended applications:
            http-url-handler.desktop
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    $ gio mime x-scheme-handler/https
    Default application for “x-scheme-handler/https”: http-url-handler.desktop
    Registered applications:
            http-url-handler.desktop
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    Recommended applications:
            http-url-handler.desktop
            firefox.desktop
            chromium-browser.desktop
    

    Check xdg-mime also.

    $ xdg-mime query default x-scheme-handler/http
    http-url-handler.desktop
    $ xdg-mime query default x-scheme-handler/https
    http-url-handler.desktop
    
  10. Test some URLs.

    This should open in Chromium:

    $ gio open 'https://superuser.com/questions/688063/is-there-a-way-to-redirect-certain-urls-to-specific-web-browsers-in-linux'
    

    This should open in Firefox:

    $ gio open 'https://askubuntu.com/questions/1161752/how-can-i-configure-a-domain-specific-default-browser'
    

    Now test the same URLs with xdg-open:

    $ xdg-open 'https://superuser.com/questions/688063/is-there-a-way-to-redirect-certain-urls-to-specific-web-browsers-in-linux/'
    
    $ xdg-open 'https://askubuntu.com/questions/1161752/how-can-i-configure-a-domain-specific-default-browser'
    
  11. Update the mimeinfo cache.

    Some applications read ~/.local/share/applications/mimeinfo.cache instead of ~/.config/mimeapps.list. So update the cache:

    $ update-desktop-database ~/.local/share/applications/
    

For convenience, the files are on Github here:

https://github.com/nbeaver/askubuntu-custom-http-url-handler

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  • 1
    Used the above to make my own heavily customizable version: github.com/JonTheNiceGuy/usbrowser - put /etc/usbrowser_config.yml or ~/.usbrowser_config.yml to have your own paths. The only thing I've not figured out how to do, is to register it as the default browser handler! Apr 20 at 9:19
2

What you want is very easy, you are just approaching it from the wrong angle.

Create a script (just change mozilla and chrome to full paths of google-chrome and brave.

#!/bin/bash
# Reading argument values using loop
isFound=0;
for argval in "$@"
do
  #echo -n "$argval  "
  if [[ $argval == *myemployer* ]]; then
    isFound=1;
    break;
  fi
done


if [[ isFound -eq 1 ]]; then
    mozilla $@;
else
    chrome $@;
fi

and save this shell script (with the changes as selectBrowser.sh

Next, in this shell script as the default browser.

Done.

1

After a bit of poking around, I think the component I'm looking for is part of Gnome. There appears to be a correspondence between mime types and apps:

❯ gio mime text/html
Default application for “text/html”: chromium-browser.desktop
Registered applications:
    firefox.desktop
    chromium-browser.desktop
    brave-browser.desktop
    vim.desktop
    nvim.desktop
    org.gnome.gedit.desktop
Recommended applications:
    firefox.desktop
    chromium-browser.desktop
    brave-browser.desktop

There's also some info here: https://help.gnome.org/admin/system-admin-guide/stable/mime-types-application.html.en

Following a good idea from @RobertRiedl, I may register a "browser" on the text/html mimetype which is actually just a small program that will check the string and then launch the desired program. I figure you could use this to drive other mimetype remappings too.

If I get this working I'll update this answer with details.

1
  • 1
    I like this approach ! Let see how it turns out. Aug 6, 2019 at 14:38

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