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There are programs which can download copies of websites to browse offline but can any of these or using something like the hosts file allow and app to access data stored locally as if it was accessing it on a remote server and without any modification to the app itself. (Mac OSX)

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First of all, are you talking about a static website or some web application? Also, would it be ok if the app changed the anchor links? –  deltaray Dec 23 '10 at 5:53
    
There is an application that runs on the desktop in the traditional way but it is based heavily on data from the web I want to download a static copy of the data it used and then make the program use that. –  Jonathan. Dec 23 '10 at 8:45
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If you run a caching proxy (squid darwinports) it will cache all external accesses and then give you cached pages without Internet access... is that your interest?

Squid is a high-performance proxy caching server for web clients, supporting FTP, gopher, and HTTP data objects. Unlike traditional caching software, Squid handles all requests in a single, non-blocking, I/O-driven process. Squid keeps meta data and especially hot objects cached in RAM, caches DNS lookups, supports non-blocking DNS lookups, and implements negative caching of failed requests.

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