Archive for the ‘html’ Category

HTML Best Practices for Beginners

October 28, 2013 Leave a comment

If you need to create HTML pages from time to time, here are some great tips:

30 HTML Best Practices for Beginners

Categories: html Tags:

HTML: add syntax-highlight to textarea

September 26, 2013 1 comment

You have an HTML form with a textarea where you want to accept some source code. You want to turn this simple textarea into a fancy input area that adds syntax highlighting.

I tried EditArea, and it suits my needs. See this SO page for more alternatives.


EditArea is a free javascript editor for source code. This editor is designed to edit souce code files in a textarea. The main goal is to allow text formatting, search and replace and real-time syntax highlight (for not too heavy text).” (source)

For Python support, I had to add these lines to the HTML source:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="../editarea/edit_area/edit_area_full.js"></script>
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
    id : "src_input"       // textarea id
    ,syntax: "css"          // syntax to be uses for highgliting
    ,start_highlight: true      // to display with highlight mode on start-up
    ,syntax: "python"
    ,replace_tab_by_spaces: 4

Related work

  • Ace (it seems a more professional solution)

Image Gallery from a list of URLs

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I have several scrapers that extract images. How to visualize them? One way is to open each one in a new browser tab but it’s slow and who wants to have several hundreds of tabs? Is there a way to browse these images in one single tab?

A primitive solution would be to create an HTML page that lists all the images one below the other. But again, what if you have lots of images?

A better way is to organize the images in a gallery. There are tons of image gallery generators out there but most of them work with local images. I want to browse remote images when only their URLs are available. So I made my own image gallery generator that works with URLs. Available on github.

There is also a live demo, check it out.

The software is written in Python. See the README file for usage examples.

Categories: html, python Tags: , , ,

Put a text on the clipboard from your webpage

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

From an HTML page you want to copy some text on the clipboard by pressing a button.

Example: on a page you present a list of URLs. Next to each URL there is a button. If the user clicks on the button, the corresponding URL is copied to his/her clipboard.

You can use clippy for this task. “Clippy is a very simple Flash widget that makes it possible to place arbitrary text onto the client’s clipboard.

Here is an HTML template that you must paste in your HTML: clippy.html. Simply replace “{{ clippy_text }}” and “{{ bgcolor }}” with the values you want.

Update (20130103)
GitHub also used clippy but recently they switched to ZeroClipboard. Here is their announcement.

Categories: html Tags: , ,

Youtube audio player

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

At I found a nice trick to embed just a part of the Youtube Flash player, thus the player looks like an audio player. All you need is a little CSS trick:

Categories: firefox, google, html Tags: , , ,

Codecademy – learn HTML, CSS, Javascript

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Codecademy is the easiest way to learn how to code. It’s interactive, fun, and you can do it with your friends.

Categories: html, javascript Tags: ,

Scraping AJAX web pages (Part 3)

November 8, 2011 3 comments

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the series too!

In Part 2 we saw how to download an Ajax-powered webpage. However, there was a problem with that approach: sometimes it terminated too quickly, thus it fetched just part of a page. The problem with Ajax is that we cannot tell for sure when a page is completely downloaded.

So, the solution is to integrate some waiting mechanism in the script. That is, we need the following: “open a given page, wait X seconds, then get the HTML source”. Hopefully all Ajax calls will be finished in X seconds. It is you who decides how many seconds to wait. Or, you can analyze the partially downloaded HTML and if something is missing, wait some more.

Here I will use Splinter for this task. It opens a browser window that you can control from Python. Thanks to the browser, it can interpret Javascript. The only disadvantage is that the browser window is visible.

Let’s see how to fetch the page CP002059.1. If you open it in a browser, you’ll see a status bar at the bottom that indicates the download progress. For me it takes about 20 seconds to fully get this page. By analyzing the content of the page, we can notice that the string “ORIGIN” appears just once, at the end of the page. So we’ll check its presence in a loop and wait until it arrives.

#!/usr/bin/env python

from time import sleep
from splinter.browser import Browser

url = ''

def main():
    browser = Browser()

    # variation A:
    while 'ORIGIN' not in browser.html:

    # variation B:
    # sleep(30)   # if you think everything arrives in 30 seconds

    f = open("/tmp/source.html", "w")   # save the source in a file
    print >>f, browser.html

    print '__END__'


if __name__ == "__main__":

You might be tempted to check the presence of ‘</html>’. However, don’t forget that the browser downloads a plain source first starting with ‘<html><body>…’ until ‘</body></html>’. Then it starts to interpret the source and if it finds some Ajax calls, they will be called, and these calls will expand something in the body of the HTML. So you’ll have ‘</html>’ right at the beginning.

Future work
This is not bad but I’m still not fully satisfied. I’d like something like this but without any browser window. If you have a headless solution, let me know. I think it’s possible with PhantomJS and/or Zombie.js but I had no time yet to investigate them.


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