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A comparability of text-based browsers

A comparability of text-based browsers

2023-06-17 11:12:10

Sufficient mamby-pamby housekeeping posts. It’s time to place some meat on the desk.

I’m going to borrow an thought for a publish from persea, who recommended looking on the working weight of a number of browsers — particularly text-only browsers — for a comparability.

As a result of in the identical method that each one graphical browsers will not be equal, all text-based browsers will not be equal. And if you’re engaged on a machine with little overhead, that may be necessary.

Like all the pieces else I talk about right here, your choice for one specific program or one other is paramount. My objective is to not prosletyze, however fairly to take a somewhat-unbiased snaphot, for instructional functions.

Our guinea pigs right now are available six flavors, and a few of these hearken again thus far into the historical past of on-line computing that I swear it’s 1988 once more:

I’m involved strictly with text-based interfaces right here, so issues like links2 and the picture help patch for w3m are out of the competition. Sorry, await the following contest. ????

Our judges right now would be the python memory script from summer a year ago. As a result of that is all completed within the identify of science, in fact. ????

Let’s get began. First, elinks, by advantage of beginning with an E. That is completed in alphabetical order, you recognize.

I ought to say up entrance that elinks is what I want on a everyday foundation, and if that skews the outcomes or my presentation, I’ll apologize up entrance.

However my perspective on the difficulty says I shouldn’t must. I like elinks as a result of it pushes arduous to imitate the options and habits of run-of-the-mill graphical browsers.

So it has tabs, an on-board obtain supervisor, a replete bookmarking and historical past system, extra choices than you’ll be able to shake a stick at, and a vicious array of configuration settings.

So sure, I’m keen on the primary on one the listing, however that’s simply life. To be truthful, it’s a bit heavy and could be fairly sluggish at occasions.

It’s a tradeoff for me although: Sure, it could possibly take some time longer to load a web page. However I get extra goodies with elinks than with another browsers.

Subsequent up is hyperlinks — straight hyperlinks, with no added fillips. I constructed this one myself, stripping out issues like help for X11, Javascript and so forth.

elinks and hyperlinks are apparent cousins; even the menus and line-drawing choices are the identical. I’ve by no means tried to cram the choices or settings for one into the system of the opposite, and I doubt it will work.

Alternatively, studying one is straightforward if you recognize the opposite, and contemplating that hyperlinks recoups some velocity when put next with its relative, it is perhaps price studying one, to know each.

hyperlinks has just a few different progeny you have to be conscious of: links-hacked drags some options into the hyperlinks corpus, whereas links2 is an offshoot that makes the leap to graphical arenas. Albeit framebuffer pushed and considerably primary.

Subsequent is lynx, which is an apparent pun however a intelligent identify. Lynx does loads of the issues elinks does, and does a reasonably fast and clear job doing it.

I discovered just one choices web page and it is vitally straightforward to navigate. The truth is, one of many issues I preferred greatest about lynx was it’s flat strategy to configuration. All the pieces is correct there, and straightforward to regulate.

That being mentioned, lynx in all probability has essentially the most configuration choices on the command line of all of the six listed right here. Wanting over the --help listing, it looks as if absolutely anything could be turned on or off … even turning issues on or off.

Quantity 4 on the listing is netrik, and one I admit I hadn’t used earlier than right now. netrik could be very gentle and really sparse, and lots of the options or frills that others have, netrik appears to keep away from.

Which is probably a superb factor, as a result of the final word really feel of netrik is extra of a pager and fewer of a browser. (Bonus factors for utilizing the names of three pagers in a sentence about pagers.)

For those who’re not into pagers or suppose I’m speaking concerning the beepy factor in your belt, you may need a tough time understanding that. Let me put it into totally different phrases.

For those who can think about a browser that simply spits out the textual content of a web page and lets to step by means of the data little by little … that’s what netrik appears like.

Humorous: It feels like one thing Apple would bundle up of their newest gadget, fete as a serious innovation and win kudos from fanboys all over the place. Oh wait, they already did that.

retawq is subsequent, and possibly the perfect factor I can point out about retawq is that it’s so small and so gentle that one in every of my favourite distributions that I don’t use — ttylinux — retains it on board as its sole utility.

retawq is a velocity demon even when in comparison with the opposite 5 on this listing, and whereas it doesn’t do loads of the enjoyable stuff (or needed stuff) that most individuals in all probability need, it’s arduous to search out one thing to complain about.

You may see within the screenshot that retawq, like netrik, stumbles a bit of in relation to specialised characters, but it surely doesn’t impede the principle perform — getting in and across the internet.

So personally I’m prepared to forgive that teeny speck of inconsistency and rank this one alongside its predecessor as a really very gentle answer to the duty.

Final however not least is w3m, and with this entry we’re again amongst top-rung feature-filled text-based browser functions. w3m comes by default in loads of Linux distributions.

And for that motive, is normally (in my expertise anyway) the one text-based browser everybody appears to find out about. The unhappy a part of that recognition is persons are normally making an attempt to repair one thing after they’re utilizing it.

So it generally rides the ignominy of a failed X session, or involves the rescue when one thing video-ish goes kaput. And it is perhaps that it bears a bit of of the ill-will of these adventures.

Be that as it might, w3m makes it straightforward to browse — and this time I imply browse, not simply web page — in a straightforward vogue. A easy mixture of arrow and tab keys may have you browsing very quickly.

And with that, this fast rundown is completed. I can inform you much more about elinks (and possibly, by extension hyperlinks) than the others; should you’re extra acquainted with one of many different 4, please share.

See Also

Now for the second of reality: How they dimension up towards each other. Simply to be clear:

  • The host machine was this one, with a customized set up of Crux 2.6,
  • w3m and lynx had been the default variations constructed from the Crux ports repository,
  • elinks was a customized model bumped to the prerelease beta,
  • I adjusted the Pkgfile for hyperlinks to take away graphic help, and
  • retawq and netrik had been transformed from AUR PKGBUILDs.

Right here’s what our choose needed to say concerning the expertise:

 Personal  +   Shared  =  RAM used	Program 

104.0 KiB +  35.5 KiB = 139.5 KiB	init
160.0 KiB +  20.5 KiB = 180.5 KiB	dhcpcd
476.0 KiB + 128.5 KiB = 604.5 KiB	retawq
540.0 KiB +  93.0 KiB = 633.0 KiB	netrik
356.0 KiB + 280.5 KiB = 636.5 KiB	udevd (3)
752.0 KiB + 205.0 KiB = 957.0 KiB	screen-4.0.3 (2)
844.0 KiB + 178.0 KiB =   1.0 MiB	ssh
  1.5 MiB + 100.5 KiB =   1.6 MiB	hyperlinks
  1.6 MiB + 178.0 KiB =   1.8 MiB	w3m
  2.1 MiB + 141.5 KiB =   2.2 MiB	elinks
  2.0 MiB + 172.5 KiB =   2.2 MiB	lynx
  3.1 MiB + 998.0 KiB =   4.1 MiB	bash (10)
                         15.9 MiB

 Personal  +   Shared  =  RAM used	Program 

retawq is the clear winner in relation to working with a lightweight profile, though it’s conserving forward of netrik solely by a tiny fragment.

In the meantime, the 4 browsers with extra choices and options are positively using greater on the listing than these two. hyperlinks and w3m have the center floor for a megabyte-and-a-half plus-or-minus.

And the 2 I’d in all probability recommend, simply by advantage of usability and familiarity take the higher finish of the spectrum, with an enormous 2.2Mb consumed, for one web page of the Net.

Velocity is relative, however at 120Mhz, there’s a distinct distinction between the tempo of retawq versus the tempo of elinks. Notably with bigger, heavier pages like Wikipedia, the place elinks can take a minute or two to render a single entry.

In order you may think, reminiscence profile tends to reflect velocity and efficiency, in my view.

And there you may have it. My recommendation would in all probability be to maintain a high-end browser and a low-end browser readily available, and use a instrument suited to the job.

That call ought to in fact be tempered towards the {hardware} you’re utilizing.

And now, purely as torture for anybody who has learn this far, I provide the apparent and clear winner over all others on this class:

Women and gents, could I current the worst doable searching expertise with a minimal of assets:

curl | dehtml -p -s | much less

Completely happy browsing. :mrgreen:

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