May 16, 2006

Snap.com

Writing about web page http://snap.com

This is clever. It's a search engine which provides a screenshot of each result when you select it. I wonder how it's done? Presumably at the same time as they request the page to index it they also have a system for saving an image of the page.

It's clearly not fetching the image at the time you perform the search, because a search which returns my blog includes a screenshot showing it as it was on Sunday 9th April. So the images are generated when the indexing takes place. But how, I wonder? Is there a trick which allows for programmatically saving the visible portion of the browser window as an image file?


- 5 comments by 4 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. i'd imagine you can tie your server–side scripting in to a modified version of mozilla (or whatever) that instead of rendering to a GUI it renders to a file

    16 May 2006, 17:42

  2. John Dale

    I'm sure that it's something along those lines. If anyone knows more specifics of whether there are libraries to do this, I'd be very interested to hear about it.

    16 May 2006, 19:08

  3. Chris May

    The mighty Matt Buddulph has the answer . Basically, as Andrew suggests, you have a version of moz. running in the background, and you can then use the python bindings to automate rendering to an image instead of the screen.

    What's a bit lame about it is that (AFAICT) you need to have moz. running in GUI mode on the server, and the size of the running window is the size of the resulting image. Still, it's a start…

    16 May 2006, 19:11

  4. Steve Rumsby

    There are a number of Firefox extensions that enhance Google search in the same way. I use BetterSearch. It is a lot more useful than I expected – you can often tell, even from a very small thumbnail, if a page is going to be interesting (or, more often, if it isn't).

    17 May 2006, 09:28

  5. naz

    Wow, thanks for Snap!

    02 Jun 2006, 14:27


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