January 6th, 2004

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[ L ] Snoopy, the web client class for PHP

Snoopy is a PHP class that simulates a web browser. It automates the task of retrieving web page content and posting forms, for example.

Some of Snoopy's features:

  • easily fetch the contents of a web page
  • easily fetch the text from a web page (strip html tags)
  • easily fetch the the links from a web page
  • supports proxy hosts
  • supports basic user/pass authentication
  • supports setting user_agent, referer, cookies and header content
  • supports browser redirects, and controlled depth of redirects
  • expands fetched links to fully qualified URLs (default)
  • easily submit form data and retrieve the results
  • supports following html frames (added v0.92)
  • supports passing cookies on redirects (added v0.92)

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[ L ] Tofu — многоколоночный вывод текста

Tofu

Tofu is... different. It is a novel application to address the common problem that people don't like reading text on the screen.

Why is that anyway? I believe there are two main reasons: line width and visual instability.

Text is usually very wide on the screen, which makes going from the end of one line to the beginning of the next difficult. That's why newspapers have narrow columns: It makes them faster to read.

So why not just take a normal window and make it narrower, scrolling down as you need? Well, there are usually a lot of lines in a text, and all look more or less the same, so if they move past your eyes vertically, they are difficult to keep track of. The text doesn't feel stable, and you get lost easily.

In Tofu, text is arranged in columns, and each column is only as high as your window. So lines are nice and narrow, they don't move about vertically, plus your text is now in easy-to-digest chunks. You just scroll from column to column horizontally, and feel more in control.

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