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Reformatted Browsing

Reformats the HTML information to suit your taste
  (+8, -1)
(+8, -1)
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This would be a feature for a browser.

Whenever you go to a page that you think needs to be reorganized or reformatted somehow, but the webmaster doesn't agree with you, you could save a dynamic page in your machine, whose content is retrieved from the site as you request the page in your machine.

This would be similar to the browsing agents which remove ads from web pages.

So whenever you browse that page again, your browser will actually read the page in your machine, and you will see things just the way you want them. Of course, your browser should show a little star to indicate that this is not the site's intended format/content.

Possible ways to change the format include: (1) make a copy to all the links at the top of the page (2) remove a header/bar that appears on every page of a site (3) sorting a table

This "filter" can be applied to not only a pre-defined page, but to any arbitrary page satisfying certain constraints (e.g. any Yahoo Web Directory page). The user would specify the rules which determine whether or not a page is to be reformatted according to his user-defined format.

Some AI would be necessary for some of the filtering that may be desired. For instance, if you want to divide an alphabetically sorted list of categories (job titles, whatever) into clusters of related categories, an intelligent agent might figure out how to build meaningful clusters, (i.e. what categories go with what categories) and perhaps even find a suitable title for the cluster.

GusLacerda, May 01 2001


       Yes. The actual file retrieval should be seperated from the HTML parsing so the user has complete control over scripts and push media. The original page's HTML is stored locally so that changes made on the fly by the user--for example, "Show me the Javascripted version now"--involve only a reformatting of local material and not a new download.
Dog Ed, May 01 2001

       Nice idea and comment
thumbwax, May 01 2001

       Excellent. I had a notion to suggest a 'whiteout' browser enhancement to enable a user to right-click on a word or phrase so to add it to a dictionary of terms for to be whited out. That way, instead of setting content blockers or security screens to ban sites with objectionable content, the offensive text would just appear blank. Sounds strange, but I feel that in all but the most rare or personal circumstances many words can be as easily done away with and a text will still convey its basic idea without distortion.
reensure, May 01 2001

       XML will never replace HTML; I suspect this idea is the closest we are going to come.
egnor, May 01 2001

       HTML was originally conceived as a "semantic" markup instead of a "graphical" markup; that is, you tell the browser what you *mean*, and the browser presents your meaning to the user in a way that is consistent and easy for *that user* to inrerpret. For example, you use <em> to denote emphasis, and <strong> to denote strong emphasis; if you actually want italic and bold, you use <i> and <b> but those were originally deprecated.   

       However, web page designers have become so enamored of the foolish goal of pixel-identical reproduction of their precious design over all pages on all machines that browsers no longer have any flexibility in display.   

       XML proponents are simply trying to reinvent the semantic-markup wheel. Maybe it'll work this time, maybe not. Most web page designers are not quite bright enough to understand the distinction between the meaning of their page and its presentation, though, so I don't have much hope for it.
wiml, May 01 2001

       A single semantic markup language for everyone is clearly impossible; it's no surprise that people used HTML as a layout language.   

       The "foolish goal of pixel-identical reproduction of their precious design" isn't so foolish when you actually do it. Browsers have nothing even close to a human designer's ability to present information in a logical fashion; style and presentation are obviously very important to communication.   

       Consider this very page; it's a pile of very explicit layout markup (mostly based on tables). How exactly would you get the same result with a semantic markup language?
egnor, May 01 2001

       Well, the Halfbakery page is exceptional--no ad banners, no animated logos, no <BGCOLOR=blue>. Praise be to jutta. But there is a tension between designers (especially commercial types) who want to lobby for their product and users who want information. As a user I'd love to have my browser selectively ignore certain parts of a page, but the corporate browsers push (yes as in push content) strongly in the opposite direction because advertising is no good if the consumer never sees it. I don't expect that to change. However, there's a niche market waiting for a browser that can give more of that control back to the user. Go GusLacerda...get that code a'rolling!
Dog Ed, May 01 2001

       Ironically, oreilly has a banner ad for macromedia coldfusion 5
thumbwax, Aug 21 2001

       I work on a browser library. You can visit a url and present the information it return accoring to you template or a default template. This enables easy browsing on links, images, or whatever. However, because HTML combines presentation and data, I also present the web page in IE if the user clicks a button.
seriousconsult, Jan 10 2005

       give us a link, [serious], this is a fairly old idea, and I imagine it's now redundant with proper use of CSS (any flavour), and a local style sheet overriding the suspect one chosen by the original designer.
neilp, Jan 10 2005


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