ZOMDir > Blog

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