MIRA - A unique text-only web browser
mira (Munafo's Internet Research Assistant) is a simple web browser created to satisfy the following objectives (listed by priority):
- Keep a permanent record of where you have been and the text you have read while searching the Internet
- Allow viewing of old web pages (and old versions of current web pages) even after the original server no longer has them
- Allow the user to easily search through all this old saved text for one or more words or a phrase, etc.
- Retain simplicity by remaining entirely text-only (like Lynx) and rely on external programs (like xv and arena) to view graphics and graphics-intensive pages
- Distributed in source code form under the GNU General Public License
- Allow for user customization and third-party extension through a preferences file that can include source code for plug-ins, patches and new features
- Provide a powerful command-line interface (with such things as macros, anchorname completion, global history completion, and lots of other shortcuts) to make the browser as easy to use as possible.
Not all of these objectives have been met and mira is in permanent "alpha" or "beta" development. If you want to be involved in the beta test program, and are running on a UNIX/POSIX-compatible system with Perl and an Internet connection, contact me (via the contact link at the bottom).
mira runs only on UNIX/POSIX, Linux, Cygwin, and MacOS systems that have perl and an Internet connection. You don't need to use mira as your browser to get cacheing and search ability on pages you load in Netscape. To use mira as a browser, you will want to have xv for displaying images, emacs to view web page source, lynx as an alternative text viewer (handles cookies and forms), and a graphical browser (such as arena, Netscape, or whatever), for viewing pages that require a graphical browser.
If you want to try it out, click here and save the file on your machine.
The formatting and presentation used for display are plain text using RHTF markup. Links and form-input fields are presented in brackets with numbers, the numbers are used to select an item when needed, e.g. when filling in a form.
mira's cache is a set of directories with files that can be viewed in a graphical browser if desired. When looking at the cache, the URL can always be figured out from the pathname of the items in the cache. Special characters are converted when needed. For example, the URL of this page is http://mrob.com/pub/mira/mira.html. When visited in mira, the page is stored in a file at the pathname:
The '@h' represents the end of the hostname part of the URL, the characters '@pd' represent the dot '.', and the trailing '@' represents the end of the URL.