Tag Archives: url

urlscan and urlview: With the assist

Not having a lot of experience with the convenience and immediacy of local mail service, I find that things like urlscan and urlview are sometimes lost on me.

I’ve done my best though, to try and see the fearful symmetry of urlview, which skims through text files and plucks out viable URLs, then displays them as links. How would that be useful? When sent an e-mail filled with links, of course.


From there, it’s a simple hop-skip-and-jump to your fav-o-rite browser, and you can wallow at your leisure in the murky swill of the Internet. :\

And it’s got most of the requisite points — some color, a full-screen interface, abort keys on screen. Granted, it’s simple, but not so simple as to be unnoticed.

urlscan is a re-imagining of the task, and is written in python. You can probably see the resemblance.


And you can see where there’s a slight variation on the original theme, with a top-and-bottom arrangement over urlview’s list-and-status bar style. You pick your preference.

(I did notice, just as a side note, that urlscan seemed to glance over URLs that were prefixed with http:// but that may have been a quirk in my test list.)

Other notes: urlview has a complete configuration file in /etc/urlview/. urlscan can dump its ouput to STDOUT. Both expect you to configure $BROWSER beforehand, although I believe urlview can rely on its own configuration files too. Both are in Debian and Arch/AUR.

I feel obligated to mention that both urlview and urlscan are quite happy working their magic on plain text files, and don’t rely on any mail system whatsoever to work (which should be obvious from my screenshots). So if you have a project that needs to skim for web addresses, either will probably suffice.

On the other hand, I can’t really think of many ways to use either program beyond what they’re designed for — filtering through e-mails and displaying links. Perhaps in time I will find something to use them with. … 😉

surl: No, not “surly.” Just surl

So far I’ve seen about a half-dozen pastebin-interface-type tools for the console, but I do believe surl is the first URL-shortener.

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ surl -c http://www.google.com -s tinyurl.com

You can check that and see if it works. I don’t know what the expiration is for tinyurl.com, but you can trust me. I’m from the Internet. 🙄

surl definitely falls into that category of “Oh, of course, that’s so obvious” tools. Before I came across it I never thought once about a tool to send URLs through shortening services, and reply with the link.

Now I have to wonder why there aren’t more. 😦

There probably are, and I just don’t know about them. Every day, something new. … 🙂

You can jam URLs straight into surl if you like, or pipe them in backwards if that’s your thing. surl is also, apparently, capable of parsing strings of text and pulling out URLs, and replacing them with shortlinks in its output. That’s pretty clever.

surl’s repertoire is likewise impressive, and since some of its clientele requires passwords or API keys, the fact that surl can handle those minor details is even more impressive. I won’t bore you with a list of what surl knows; install it and the --help flag will list them.

Bad news for Debian fans: This one doesn’t appear in your repos. If it’s any consolation though, I am fairly certain it wouldn’t take much effort to get it installed.

I might keep surl around for a little while longer; it’s not often that I need a shortened URL, but I want it on hand when I finally do. 😉