Two Cool Web Browsing Tips

| Ted Landau's User Friendly View

I’m always on the lookout for new tips to make my Web browsing faster or more convenient. In the past months, I’ve added two new tricks to my arsenal; both are now nearly indispensable. Here they are:

Access original URLs of saved pages

I regularly save Web pages in Safari. I save New York Times articles, Apple Support documents and just about anything else that I might want to re-read at some later time. They are all saved using Safari’s .webarchive format. When I open one of these saved pages, the URL in Safari’s Address Bar correctly refers to the file I opened on my hard drive (i.e., file:///name-of-file). Most of the time this is just fine — except for those times when I actually want the page’s original URL. Why would I want it? Perhaps I want to include the URL in an article I’m writing or email the link to a friend. Whatever. The point is that the URL is not there.

There are several potential work-arounds here. For example, you may find a link on the page that takes you back to the original URL. There may also be utilities that can save these URLs for you (although the one I had been using no longer works in Snow Leopard). Or you can simply go to the Info window for the .webarchive file in the Finder. Here, in the “More Info” section, you’ll find an item called “Where from.” This item lists the original URL. 

While this item is found both in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard), there’s a critical difference. And herein lies the tip. In Mac OS X 10.5, you cannot select and copy the URL. This means, if you want to “transfer” the URL to a document, you have to manually retype it (with the chance that you’ll make a typing error). This is remedied in Snow Leopard. You can now just drag your cursor across the URL and select Copy. This means you have easy and automatic access to the original URLs for every saved Web page.

Scroll through multi-page articles

There are few things I find more irritating when Web browsing than a site that forces me to click a series of “Next” buttons to view the contents of an article — especially so when the material is so brief that it could easily fit on one page. I’m talking about articles where every couple of paragraphs are on a new page, so that you have to continually click to keep reading, waiting for the page to reload each time. Or “top ten” lists, where each item on the list is on a separate page. Most often, sites do this so as to generate more ad income (as income can depend on the number of times an ad appears). Maybe I’m over-reacting here, but I find this so annoying that I often refuse to play the game and leave the site.

Not anymore. I now use PageZipper. This add-on has been around for almost a year, but I just learned of it a couple of months ago. So I’m assuming you may yet not be aware of it. If so, you have to check it out. With this great utility, you simply use the scroll bars to scroll through the multiple “next” pages. Each time you reach the end of one page, the next page automatically appears. No clicking buttons is required. I have used this with literally dozens of sites now, and it has worked perfectly in almost every instance.

As a bonus, if you want to save the material, the single saved Safari .webarchive file contains all the pages that you scrolled through, eliminating the need to save a separate file for each page.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

Comments

Brutno

Ted,

By chance were you using Download Comment?

WetcoastBob

Thanks for the tip on PageZipper.  I always looked for something like Printable version or just print, but this is not always available.

As to saving the original URL you can click on the little site icon to the left of the URL and this highlights the entire URL.  You can then drag it to a folder or the desktop.

Ted Landau

As to saving the original URL you can click on the little site icon to the left of the URL and this highlights the entire URL.? You can then drag it to a folder or the desktop.

Indeed you can. But then I would have to create two separate files for each page I wanted to save (content + URL). I was trying to avoid that.

iJack

I always looked for something like Printable version or just print, but this is not always available.

Have you tried “Readability?”  Just click the bookmark, and bang, you web pages turns into printable text.

http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/

Ted - Have you tried “Fluid?”  It turns any web page into a stand-alone application.  You might give it a once-over.

http://fluidapp.com/

Ted Landau

Ted - Have you tried ?Fluid???

Fluid is definitely cool, but serves a different function than I am talking about here. I have not tried Readability.

gslusher

“Perhaps I want to include the URL in an article I’m writing or email the link to a friend. Whatever. The point is that the URL is not there.”

Have you tried Webstractor?
It can automatically capture pages as you browse if you use Webstractor as a bowser or you can use the contextual menu in Safari to capture specific pages. For those like me who use a browser not directly supported by Webstractor (e.g., Camino), you can drag the URL from the browser’s address bar to a Webstractor document.

Webstractor can tell you if a page has been changed or is no longer available.

Webstractor can also edit pages. See their site for more.

As one example, I used Webstractor to gather reviews of cameras I was considering.

gslusher

I forgot to add that you can copy the original URL from Webstractor’s list of pages. It also can display thumbnails of each page so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for and supports quite advanced searching.

VictorGav

I used to use Webstractor all the time, but unfortunately, it’s now orphaned software.

In March 2008, the company was dissolved and its assets were taken over by IllumineX, Inc. There have been no updates since then, and I’ve not been able to get it to work in either Leopard or Snow Leopard.

The program wouldn’t even open in Leopard, but in Snow Leopard I can start the program and open my files, but all the pages are blank.

I’m really annoyed that I invested a lot of time in gathering and storing data in a format that is now inaccessible.

IllumineX claims that they’re working on an update, but after almost 2 years I don’t put much stock in that.

Log-in to comment