Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Hacks: Articles about programming in Python, Perl, PHP, and whatever else I happen to feel like hacking at.

ELinks text-only web browser

Jerry Stratton, November 10, 2007

ELinks screenshot

ELinks brings useful GUI functionality to text-only browsers.

One of the design considerations for Negative Space is that the pages ought to be structured so that the important information is available first no matter what browser you’re using, whether it’s a visual browser, an audio browser, a search engine, or any alternative browser.

A rule of thumb is that it should display usefully in a text-only browser, without having to wade through menus, sidebars, and navigation links. The most important information should come first, the next most important second, and so on.

Lynx has been the tool of choice for ensuring readability, but I’m always on the lookout for new tools. While looking to see if Lynx has been updated recently, I ran across ELinks. It’s a more usable text-based browser, at least for debugging purposes. Its functionality is more readily available: hit the ESC key and a row of menus appears at the top of the terminal window. Use the arrow keys to traverse them. It also includes tabbed browsing in the terminal if you want to compare pages without keeping multiple terminal windows open.

Compiling it in OS X Tiger is as simple as:

  1. ./configure
  2. make
  3. sudo make install

You’ll need the Apple developer tools, of course. And you may wish to disable ANSI color in Terminal’s Window settings.

  1. <- Django Taskpaper
  2. Scribus EPS ->