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Is there a program, or some way to have a file on the web, appear as a local file for the programs to use? Example: an image file on the web, show up as a read-only file in the Explorer, where I can open it with a program directly, without it being in my hard drive all the time, but on the web, but the programs and the system not being aware that it isn't a real file, since when trying to 'open' it, the file would be downloaded, and served to the program that tries to open it.

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Actually my thought was, like having a handler that points to a file on the web, and that handler automatically handles pointing that location to a program that can handle streaming that file. Right now, if you have a shortcut to a location on the web, on your desktop, and double click it, it opens the web browser to retrieve that file. If that would be improved to recognize the file type of that remote file, and send it over to a program that can stream it, i.e if it is a video file, it would open in VLC and streamed directly, if it is an mp3 file, opened by Winamp and streamed there and so on... Since web locations are no longer only for web browsers and can be handled by other programs too. Would that be possible? I guess writing a simple program to read the http header, and run a predefined set of programs for each mime type, and then setting that program as the 'default browser' for opening web links. Does any software like this exists?

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You can also mount an FTP site or Web site. In this case, if the website supports WebDAV, you can also open the file for writing.

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You can use Dropbox to achieve something very close to what you describe:

Dropbox is an online disk drive that is mirrored onto your computer. If you change the local file, it is immediately updated to the online disk. Now pretend that the local file is just a shortcut to the online file, and your goal is achieved.

Dropbox allows 2GB data for free; more if paid.

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If you type a URL into the box in the open dialog then it will get it from the web anyway.

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Thanks that works –  stagas Nov 24 '09 at 12:06
    
Wow. I used to think that using this feature required the application to be aware of the URL and implement the HTTP interface internally, so would only work for certain applications. But I see it even works with notepad.exe (in Windows 7). Do you happen to know if this is implemented at the OS level so it would work with any application? –  Jason R. Coombs Nov 24 '09 at 14:21
    
I don't know - I use it a lot to add images to presentations and things like that, so I've never noticed it not work! –  Rich Bradshaw Nov 24 '09 at 15:24
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