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Re: inclusion of emacs-w3m

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: inclusion of emacs-w3m
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2012 08:25:09 +1000

On 6 September 2012 07:44, Andrey Kotlarski <address@hidden> wrote:
> Lars Ingebrigtsen <address@hidden> writes:
>> Ivan Kanis <address@hidden> writes:
>>>> Now that Emacs proper has an HTML parser (via libxml2), an HTML renderer
>>>> (via shr.el), and an HTTP library (via url*.el), writing a totally
>>>> Emacs-based web browser should be pretty easy for somebody who has some
>>>> time to spare.
>>> I don't think it's that easy.
>> Why not?  You just need to add some bookmarking stuff and a cookie
>> editor, and you're done.
> There is w3, though unmaintained for years.  Until some threading
> support comes to Elisp, such packages would suffer.
>> Oh, and forms support.  And stuff.  It shouldn't take anybody more than
>> a month to implement a full-featured Emacs browser.  (Well.  As
>> full-featured as a totally non-JS browser will ever be.)
> If the rumours of Guile Elisp nearing working integration with GNU/Emacs
> are right and as Guile has support for Javascript too (not to mention
> native threads), that could open some doors.
> --
> It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to
> open it and remove all doubt.
>                 -- Mark Twain

I think Lars' suggestion is a good one. There are lots of very cool
things you can do with an all elisp web browser. The emacspeak package
has made some very interesting use of w3, but the lack of work on w3
is beginning to cause some problems.

w3m is useful, but limited compared to what you can do with a browser
all written in elisp. I've looked at the w3 code base a number of
times, but the work required to re-factor it is quite daunting. The
addition of a parser and renderer in emacs certainly offers some
excellent opportunities. If I had more knowledge re: DOM, CSS etc, it
would be something I'd love to have time to look at. Would certainly
try to assist anyone who was thinking of developing something in this
are where I can. Assuming a browser with no javascript support, the
challenge is likely to be how to implement a workable subset of CSS
support to enable a reasonable rendering of pages. This is one area
where w3 seems to be quite broken.

The Guile approach would appear to offer some really great
opportunities, but after so many years, I will wait until we actually
see an emacs with support for guile which is as integrated as elisp

In the meantime, my suggestion would be for any package maintainers
who have requirements for basic display of html content to consider
using native elisp packages over relying on things like w3m.el. While
w3m.el gives a solution to things like viewing HTML formatted email,
native elsip support would allow the sort of customizations we have
grown to love.

If the appropriate paperwork and licensing can be worked out to add
w3m.el as an elpa package, I don't see any problems with that - it
would provide at lest an option for those on platforms where it makes

Tim Cross

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