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Offline Browsing in Firefox with Scrapbook

May 26th, 2009 No comments

Got a long plane flight or car trip? Have several articles you’ve been wanting to read, or maybe need some online documentation that’s a subset of a big site? The Scrapbook plugin for Firefox lets you access the latter while on the former. It is nearly perfect for assembling an offline reading list or a library of things you want to keep indefinitely. It has many options for capturing various parts of a page (selection, frame, etc) which is handy if you just want to save the main content and not things like ads or navigation menus. I also like the markup features available from a toolbar that appears at the bottom of the window when viewing captured pages.

The online docs cover the full feature set, so I won’t repeat those. I do have a few tips for specific use cases that I came across though:

  1. I wanted to capture an article that spanned multiple pages. In theory, ScrapBook has a filter capability that should be available in the In-depth Capture section of the Capture Detail dialog. I couldn’t access that capability, so instead I would highlight the page links for the article (you know… the “1 2 3 Next” links that are usually at the top/bottom of a page) and then use the URL Detector in the Capture Multiple URLs option to capture all the links in the selection. I would then save those links to a new folder with the name of the article. It’s not perfect since the pages are independent of each other (you can’t navigate between them), but it’s better than having to manually walk through all the pages and capture them.
  2. While reading captured pages when I didn’t have network access, I would often come across links that I hadn’t captured, but wanted to mark to grab later when I was back on the net. You can grab the link do this with the Bookmark with Scrapbook option and then Capture Again to pull the content when you are backonline. (Oops – correction the Bookmark with Scrapbook option is not available from the context menu when you right click on a link. I’ll have to add that to the list of features suggestions I posted for the author.)

On a related note – while looking for something that provided the capabilities of Scrapbook, I found some other interesting plugins to view the page cache (CacheViewer) and index pages you have visited so you can easily find where you read a certain factoid that you stumbled across, but can’t remember where (Breadcrumbs). I’ll see how much I end up using those before reviewing them.

Categories: Firefox, offline browsing, ScrapBook Tags: