Where parallels cross

Interesting bits of life

Nyxt to mold HTML: the first mix of moldable-emacs and browsing

Too long; didn't read

Move the HTML of the page you are browsing to your Emacs without leaving your browser. Then you can mold the information it stores! This blog explains how easy that is by using the Nyxt browser.

The problem

I have recently shown how to mold HTML to extract useful information. The idea is to bend HTML to your needs with your Emacs programming skills. We are still missing a fluid jump from browser to Emacs. For me it is pretty boring to copy the link or the HTML by hand and bring it to Emacs. These small actions disrupt my flow and I don't like that!

How cool would it be if the browser could send the HTML of the page we are looking at to Emacs with a click?

Actually, the problem is even bigger: how do we feed Emacs the information in the web? HTML is just a way to encapsulate useful knowledge so that is available to many people via a browser. Emacs users could mold that universe of information to their needs with their editor instead!

And there is a solution

To approach the bigger problem we have just to solve the small one first. So how do we get our HTML? Well, I say Nyxt. I say that just because you can edit this browser to your needs in an Emacsy way. I have already written about it, so I will not repeat myself. Let me show how easy it is to do what I need.

By building up on what we had in emacs-with-nyxt, we can add a new command.

(define-command-global my/open-html-in-emacs ()
      "Open buffer html in Emacs."
      (when (equal (mode-name (current-buffer)) 'web-buffer))
       (file "/tmp/temp-nyxt.html" :direction :output
                                     :if-exists :supersede
                                     :if-does-not-exist :create)
       (write-string (ffi-buffer-get-document (current-buffer)) file))
          (switch-to-buffer (get-buffer-create ,(render-url (url (current-buffer)))))
          (insert-file-contents-literally "/tmp/temp-nyxt.html")
          (indent-region (point-min) (point-max))))
      (delete-file "/tmp/temp-nyxt.html"))

Running this in Nyxt's lisp-repl buffer (just invoke that command or you can also use Slime's REPL) produces a buffer in your Emacs with the raw HTML for the page.

In short we create a temporary HTML file, we fill it with the HTML we are looking at in Nyxt, and we open that in an Emacs buffer (finally we delete the file).

Once we have that, we can jump directly in moldable-emacs! That way we can start bending the information of the web to our needs. And this is just the first step. If we can get HTML to Emacs we can get HTML to Nyxt, no? Then we should be able to make our data interactive (for the happiness of the data scientists among us)! Stay tuned for that :)

Edit: Actually, just while publishing this I found the nice people at the Atlas discourse found a more generic way of doing this (if you want to use some other editors than Emacs): https://discourse.atlas.engineer/t/opening-page-source-in-external-editor/221


You can send HTML to Emacs with Nyxt and bend it to your needs with moldable-emacs. Grab emacs-with-nyxt, take inspiration and see if you can mold the information sealed in the HTML!

Happy exploring!