ELinks text-based browser
Monday, May 18, 2009 6:12:49 AM
- Getting Elinks
- Other text browsers
- Main Features
ELinks is an Open Source project covered by the GNU General Public License. It originates from the Links project. ELinks is written in near-ANSI C and is quite portable. Text browsing helps me use Internet easily even over a very slow connection, it is faster and it is more convenient for reading online articles, particularly Wikipedia--which I use heavily. Text browsers are also invaluable on servers without a graphical environment and over SSH (or similar) text-only sessions. Besides, text mode browsing is fun and highly addictive.
2. Getting Elinks
It is available on many platforms. I use it on Fedora. It comes installed by default in Fedora. You can download it using yum if you are on a Red Hat based Linux distribution or apt-get if you are on a Debian like distribution like Ubuntu.
3. Other text browsers
Lynx is perhaps the oldest text based browser. Then there is w3m. And there are a few variants of Links similar to Elinks.
4. Main Features
I will mention the features that attracted me to use ELinks. Before that, let me tell you what I always look in a software: Open source--not just free, neat documentation, easy to learn, actively maintained and most importantly it should help me do things more efficiently.
The browser requires absolutely no settings, it runs perfectly fine right out of the box and is secure. It is quite feature rich. Although the prime lure for me was the handy shortcuts and tabbed browsing. If you know a few shortcuts you will happily forgo the use of the mouse. I will give here a small list of shortcuts that would make it wonderfully easy and fun to use ELinks for browsing.
4.1. Keyboard shortcuts
|Open new tab||t|
|Toggle link numbering||.|
|Toggle document colours||%|
|Open in new tab in background||T|
4.2. Smart URL rewrites
You may directly search in Google or Wikipedia or dmoz from inside ELinks most easily. All you have to do to perform a google search is to prepend a g to the search string with a space separating them. There are many such shortcuts, I am listing the ones I use most often: