When You Want to Browse the Web Without a Browser

Sometime you need to get stuff from the web without that pesky browser getting in the way. Screenshots, testing, archives, scraping, and such often call for getting a page from the web and doing something with it. Automating this with a conventional browse is no fun. Linux folks have the advantage of wget and cURL running from the command line. Programmers and developers will use the language and libraries of their choice. But it is still a chore. Well, there may be an easier way.

I’ve found a couple of javascript libraries, PhantomJS and SlimerJS (yes, very ghosty!) that provide tools for building JavaScript that can manipulate web pages, effectively browsing the web without the browser. PhantomJS “is a headless WebKit scriptable with a JavaScript API. It has fast and native support for various web standards: DOM handling, CSS selector, JSON, Canvas, and SVG.” SlimerJS “is useful to do functional tests, page automaton, network monitoring, screen capture, etc. SlimerJS is similar to PhantomJs, except that it runs Gecko, the browser engine of Mozilla Firefox, instead of Webkit.”

I’ve been looking for a way to generate screenshots of pages that I’ve generated shortened URLs for with my shortener figuring that it would be nice to have a browsable library of pages. Either of these libraries will do the trick.

You can find both on Github: SlimerJS on GH & PhantomJS on GH.

Opera 14 for Android, Built on Chromium 26, Released

Opera 14 for Android is built on top of Chromium 26, with a total overhaul of the UI in native code, making it fit well with the latest Android design guidelines. Go get the build from Google Play or point your browser to m.opera.com, and give it a spin!

via Opera Developer News – Opera 14 for Android is out!.

Great news for folks running older Android devices because Opera 14 supports Android 2.3 and higher. This means an alternative to whatever browse came bundled with your device.

Among other features this release includes support for HTML 5 including <audio> and a new UI.

Certainly worth a look.