Wednesday, 4 April 2012

w3m - A Text Based Commandline Web Browser

w3m is a World Wide Web text based client. It will display hypertext markup language (HTML) documents containing links to files residing on the local system, as well as files residing on remote systems. It can display HTML tables and frames. In addition, it can be used as a "pager" in much the same manner as "more" or "less". Current versions of w3m run on Unix (Solaris, SunOS, HP-UX, Linux, FreeBSD, and EWS4800) and on Microsoft Windows 9x/NT.

Linux users can install the package from their respective repositories. Following is the example of installation in ubuntu and debian based linux.

samar@Techgaun:~$ sudo apt-get install w3m

Using the w3m browser is pretty straightforward. At start up, w3m will load any local file or remote URL specified at the command line. An example usage is as below:

samar@Techgaun:~$ w3m

You can see the whole list of available operation by pressing H(Shift + h) and you will know how comprehensive this seemingly simple command line browser actually is. w3m supports all kind of features we expect from a web browser such as hyperlink navigations, tabbed browsings, file I/O operations, bookmarking, and searching.

w3m can also be used as a pager and for translating HTML files. Taken directly from w3m manpage, following are the examples:

To use w3m as a pager:

samar@Techgaun:~$ ls | w3m

To use w3m to translate HTML files:

samar@Techgaun:~$ cat foo.html | w3m -T text/html


samar@Techgaun:~$ cat foo.html | w3m -dump -T text/html >foo.txt