ZOMDir > Blog

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Reduce the number of bytes loaded

One important side effect of using the Setextbrowser is the giant reduction of used Megabytes.

Due to the fact that the page is rendered at the server and almost only text is delivered, you consume only a few kilobytes when you read a webpage.

Reducements measured are from 1400 to 23kb, from 756 to 13kb and from 2400 to 17kb for the following webpages:

  1. http://www.wired.com/epicenter/tag/google/ *
  2. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com
  3. http://www.washingtonpost.com

So, when you are really byte-wise you use the Setextbrowser.

* Recently I discovered with brokenlinks.zomdir.com that this link was broken, so I decide to show the text only

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Pagerank checkers

Update March 20, 2016: The use of the public PageRank doesn't make sense anymore.

See Google is removing toolbar PageRank


Today (October 6, 2011), Google changed something with respect to retrieve a pagerank. This affected Pagerank at a Glance too. However it was easy to fix. So lets compare PRaaG with other pagerank checkers. According to Google search we might use:

  1. http://www.prchecker.info/;
  2. http://www.checkpagerank.net/
  3. http://www.iwebtool.com/pagerank_checker;
  4. http://www.pagerank.net/pagerank-checker/;
  5. http://www.seocentro.com/tools/search-engines/pagerank.html;
  6. http://www.webiq.dk/;
  7. http://www.whatsmypagerank.com/pagerank-checker.php;
  8. http://www.prcheckingtool.com/.
Almost all sites require an anti-bot or anti-spam code, except http://www.iwebtool.com/pagerank_checker and of course Pagerank at a Glance.

You can get the pageranks of multiple sites at once with Pagerank at a Glance and: 

Probably I was the first one who implemented the suggestion of David Naylor at http://www.davidnaylor.co.uk/has-google-disabled-pagerank-no.html

Update: http://www.checkpagerank.net/ is also working fine now

Update: 8 Nov 2011

The following pagerank checkers are still not working:

  • http://www.iwebtool.com/pagerank_checker
  • http://www.pagerank.net/pagerank-checker/
  • http://www.whatsmypagerank.com/pagerank-checker.php
  • http://www.prcheckingtool.com/prtestout.php

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Website Quality at a Glance out of Beta

Website Quality at a Glance out of Beta. There have never been serious problems with WQaaG. There was never any feedback (a bad sign?). There are more the 27000 tests done, so it's time to take it out of Beta.

Hurray! Check it out at: http://websitequality.zomdir.com/

Monday, 26 September 2011

Website Quality redefined

Since the start of Website Quality at a Glance more than 23000 webpages where tested.

So far, 73% of the webpages load fast enough to complete all tests in time.

The distribution of the scores is a little bit strange:

  1. 3% of the tested webpages got 1 star
  2. 4% of the tested webpages got 2 stars
  3. 54% of the tested webpages got 3 stars
  4. 32% of the tested webpages got 4 stars
  5. 7% of the tested webpages got 5 stars
So I tweaked the algoritm a little to get a better distribution between the 1 and the 3. 

For now I will say there are three categories:
  1. 29% of the tested webpages got 4 or 5 stars
  2. 40% of the tested webpages got 3 stars
  3. 31% of the tested webpages got less than 3 stars, or loads too slow
That's what I say a nice distribution.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Bye Cynthia, welcome Wave

For years I was a fan of Cynthia Says... it was a great tool for checking the accessibility of a website. However a few days ago I discovered by tracking Bug 12918 that there is probably an issue with Cynthia Says...

When I informed HiSoftware Inc. about this issue I learned the following:
Cynthia says is a free service and it is based on older software which is no longer updated on a consistent basis. Our current software “Compliance Sheriff” is updated regularly and contains an open rules engine which allows a more robust validation due to rules being customized, etc.
Compliance Sheriff is not webbased, so for Website Quality at a Glance an alternative was neccesary. There seems to be two serious options:
  1. Wave
  2. AChecker
For this moment I have chosen for Wave, because it seems easier to use when you know the meaning of the icons ;-)

I hope you understand this choice.


Monday, 16 May 2011

An alternative for Readability

The Setextbrowser was made for the ZOMDir project. It was never intended as an alternative for Readability. However it seems to be an alternative when you take a look at these findings:

  • Renders the contents as shown in the browser (With an advanced Javascript program all content shown in the browser gets a score, the texts with a relative high score are marked as text to be shown)
  • Shows images
  • Is configurable, for a better reading experience
  • Needs to be invoked for each webpage you visit, browsing the web in "readability mode" is not possible
  • Comes with a bookmarklet (Read now) which shows you a readable text with one click
  • Readability is currently intended to be used on individual articles, not homepages. For a homepage an extra click is necessary
  • Always starts with the article
  • Sometimes shows double content
  • Loads slower than the Setextbrowser Bookmarklet
  • Merge articles placed on two or more pages
  • Has add-ons for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome. For Opera you have to use the Read now bookmarklet
  • The readability code is available at code.google.com and is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0
The Setextbrowser
  • Renders the contents delivered by the server (An advanced Python program parses the original HTML code and converts it to valid HTML5 code which displays the text in the Setext format)
  • Does not show images
  • Is not configurable, however your browser will probably allow you to increase the font by pressing CTRL-+
  • Allows you browse the web without leaving the Setextbrowser
  • Comes with a bookmarklet (SetextBrowser) which shows you a readable text with one click
  • Is working on all pages
  • Starts most of the time with the article
  • Sometimes shows double content
  • Loads faster than the Readability Bookmarklet
  • Shows only the requested page
  • Has a bookmarklet which works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari
  • The Setextbrowser code is not available
It's up to you if the SetextBrowser is an alternative for Readability. The best way to compare these tools is to compare the bookmarklets (for both bookmarklets Javascript is required). You will find these bookmarklets at:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


It was 1998 and I was working on a dream. I had an Apple Mac IIsi and tried to understand HTML and Javascript. At a regular base I read the e-mail news letter from Tidbits which was formatted in Setext.

I liked the idea of Setext. It is a simple and elegant way of formatting text. When Adam C. Engst wrote about Setext with his Nisus Writer, and how simple it was how to create it I was a little jealous. One day I decided to create a HTML 2 Setext converter myself. Recently I searched for it for the SetextBrowser project, and here it is ...

The original HTML 2 Setext converter

Do you see the limitations, it was not possible to enter an URL directly and most funny of all: the maximum number of characters in the HTML code was 2500. Larger webpages where not possible due to limitations of the browser (the hardware?).

Most important is, it was fun. The same fun I have now with the Zomdir project and the related subprojects like the SetextBrowser.

Have A Nice Smile :-)

The SetextBrowser respects your privacy

The SetextBrowser respects your privacy.
  1. The SetextBrowser doesn't use counters, and doesn't load counters of others;
  2. The SetextBrowser doesn't use cookies, and doesn't use cookies of others;
  3. The SetextBrowser acts as a proxy server, that is, in the log of the website host you will find only this information like this:

    72.***.***.17 - - [07/Apr/2011:21:52:24 +0200] "GET /website.htm HTTP/1.1" 200 3412 "-" "***********; (+http://*****.****/******; id: setextbrowser)"

    This IP address belongs to a large supplier of cloud services. It is not your IP address.
As far as we know, only your Internet Service Provider and people who have access to your device -and your web browsing history- might be able to trace which websites you have visited with the SetextBrowser.

Note: The statement above is only true as long as you do not visit the original website

Safe Browsing

On the internet there are many threats varying like phishing, viruses and ransomware. These threats might be loaded on almost any webpage. That is the reason that many websites don't trust any information entered on a form automatically. Often you have to enter a Captcha string to prove that you are a human instead of a malicious computerprogram or bot.

For example threats could be loaded on a website as a script, it could be a flash application or a malicious download.

Due to the fact that the SetextBrowser only gives you Setext, which contains ... text (and a little javascript). It seems almost impossible that your device get infected by browsing with the SetextBrowser.

Choose a browser without vulnerabilities
At this Wikipedia page you will find an overview of modern webbrowsers and their vulnerabilities. Note that for most browsers the Web Of Trust has created extensions for the most popular browsers. It is adviseable to install this extension.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Device independent

The SetextBrowser gives you semi Setext. In fact you see a valid HTML5 page. That's techno speak for a webpage written according to the latest standards. Great, but what's in it for you. Well, due to the fact that the SetextBrowser follow the standards you will be able to view the requested webpage at virtual any device. For example the SetextBrowser even works on a Nintendo DSi. Independent of your browser or your screensize, the requested page will be displayed correctly.

The trick to make it work is to have a separate liquid design for each type of devices. We use a small piece of javascript code to select the applicable design based on some characteristics of your browser. There are separate designs for:
  1. Normal screens and Notebooks;
  2. Mobile devives;
  3. Televisions;
  4. Printers.
This way the requested webpage will always look great.

Fast Browsing

The SetextBrowser renders the requested webpage first at the server before the webpage will be displayed as Setext in your browser. Due to the fact that all images of the requested webpage are ignored completely your browser has an easy job. See the following examples:
  1. www.washingtonpost.com needs 258 requests according to tools.pingdom.com and loads in 6.4 seconds. The SetextBrowser needs 10 requests and loads this page in 2.2 seconds;
  2. www.cnet.com needs 268 requests according to tools.pingdom.com and loads in 5.9 seconds. The SetextBrowser needs 10 requests and loads this page in 2.0 seconds;
  3. www.amazon.com needs 34 requests according to tools.pingdom.com and loads in 5.4 seconds. The SetextBrowser needs 10 requests and loads this page in 1.9 seconds. 
Did you notice. The Setext version is faster than original version. This is possible because we need only one request for the requested webpage at the server followed by 10 request from our server to deliver the webpage to your browser. Of course the SetextBrowser will not beat, the relative small number of,  really fast loading sites. However the SetextBrowser will load an avarage webpage faster than the original.

Guidelines for Readable text

There are several guidelines for readable text on websites. Some guidelines are:
  1. Use a scalable font; 
  2. Maximize the color contrast between the text and the background;
  3. Avoid busy backgrounds;
  4. Strive for a clean font style;
  5. Choose a sans-serif font;
  6. Use plain text instead of italics;
  7. Use the standard link conventions (blue and underlined);
  8. Avoid text inbedded in graphics;
  9. Use a line length of 55-60 characters;
  10. Use a line spacing that is 2-3 points larger than the font size.
For Setext some guidelines are:
  1. Use a monotype font;
  2. The line length should be 68 characters (including the 2 leading spaces);
  3. Show a hyperlink as a normal text superseded with underscores like www.example.com_
The SetextBrowser is following almost all of these guidelines. As you see, there are some conflicts in these guidelines. For the SetextBrowser is chosen to follow the Setext guidelines instead of the general guidelines. 

Monday, 11 April 2011

SetextBrowser in Beta

ZOMDir proudly presents, the SetextBrowser. A new (old fashioned) way to browse the Internet. Find out the advantages of browsing text-only at setextbrowser.zomdir.com

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Inconsistent scores

Sometimes, the score for a website seems to be inconsistent. There are two reasons for that:
  1. Timing
  2. Webpages of one website have inconsistent scores
When a page is tested there are several tests started in parallel. Each test should finish in 3 seconds. Sometimes a test takes approximately 3 seconds. This could make a difference in the score. When one of the tests takes more then 3 seconds the test is incomplete.

Another timing issue is the load time. The site should be fast according to Google (that is load within 1.5 seconds) to earn a star. In this case it could depend on the moment of testing if a website earns an extra star or not.

In the graph below, based on Google's Site Performance, you will see that 80 percent of the website loads slower than 1.5 seconds.

Webpages of one website have inconsistent scores
We make the assumption that every page of a website will have the same score. However that is not always the case. When we tweet about the score, the URL is shorten as much as possible. Due to this fact it is not always clear which URL was tested.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Quick links

For each tested webpage at websitequality.zomdir.com we now give you quick links to the following tests:
  1. W3C validator
  2. GTmetrix
  3. Cynthia Says
It is now even simpler to compare the results of Website quality at a glance with the regular tests.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Website quality at a glance is live

Today, the subweb Website quality at a glance has gone live. Everything is tested thoroughly, except the serverload. Due to the fact that the application works in the cloud no problems are expected.

During the tests we had some problems with example.com. The score for example.com was original 5 stars and dropped recently to 4 stars. Damn, they have changed the website, and it got worse. For example the original version validated at validator.w3.org, the current version has 4 errors. What a bad example for web developers!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Status update

First things first. The counters are working and with Google Graph API it's very easy to make graphs like this:

There are plans to build a seperate statistics page.

The second important thing to do, and now the most important issue is the performance of the site. For this moment you are only allowed to test up to 5 webpages in a run. This is due to the fact that Google's Appengine does not support threads. All our tests should be re-programmed as seperate webpages which could be fetched then in parallel. There seems to be a limit of 10 fetches a time. Some rework is necessary to improve the performance significantly.

We know what to do now. So please be patient.

There are also thoughts about a checkportfolio.zomdir.com page which allow you check portfolio's of webbuilders in one sweep. This is only possible when the performance is perfect.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Things to do

The following things are on the todo-list.

  1. Add counters for the statistics by using sharding counters
  2. Add a jQuery bookmarklet as extra bookmarklet option
  3. Improve the performance, the threads used now seems not to work optimal
  4. Parse and follow the links, so these will be tested too
  5. Promote "Website quality at a glance"
Suggestions for the todo-list for "Website quality at a glance" are welcome at zomdir@gmail.com

Bookmarklets with icons?

Ever tried to make bookmarklets? It's very easy. For Website quality at a glance two bookmarklets where created. Both bookmarklets use the current location of the webpage you are viewing. The difference is that the first one shows the results in the same window, while the other opens a new window.

The bookmarklets have the same title because in some browsers this is the label used for the bookmarklet. The code of the bookmarklets is the following:
  1. <a href="javascript:(location.href='http://websitequality.zomdir.com/score?url='+encodeURIComponent(location.href))();" title="Website Quality">Website Quality</a> shows the website quality in the same window
  2. <a href="javascript:(function(){ window.open('http://websitequality.zomdir.com/score?url='+encodeURIComponent(location.href)); })();" title="Website Quality">Website Quality</a> shows the website quality in a new window
Bookmark icon is missing
When  you place this bookmarklets in your bookmark bar you will find out that they don't have an icon assigned. A regular page does have a favicon, so it should be possible to place this javascript code in the webpage itself. In that case the page that should be checked shouldn't be location.href but history.previous. However  the latest one always gives the value undefined due to security reasons.

Tips for creating a bookmark icon are welcome.


Sunday, 16 January 2011

blog.zomdir.com is working fine now

It's a kind of magic, working with DNS entries, but hey it's working. This blog is now available at blog.zomdir.com

Even better the site websitequality.zomdir.com is working too!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


A few minutes ago, I claimed the domainname ZOMDir.com. The ZWAQ score is working fine now, however I need to improve the performance dramastically.

Checking one or two webpages works fine. Checking more than 15 webpages gives often an error. May be I should contact Google's Appengine team about that problem.

Check the ZWAQ score for this moment at websitequality.zomdir.com

Monday, 3 January 2011

ZWAQ Score - First version

A few days ago I was proud that ZOMDir was in the cloud. However the site wasn't doing anything at all.

Today I launched the first version of ZOMDir's ZWAQ score at websitequality.zomdir.com. It is intended as a tool to analyse the technical quality of a website.

After analysing your website we present the ZWAQ score. This score varies from 0 to 5, allthough I think it is not possible to score a zero or a one.

I think I will translate the numbers to judgment values like:

5 Excellent
4 Good
3 Fair
2 Poor
1 Insufficient
0 Unacceptable