When we'll see elinks for MSX?

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Van skumlerud

Resident (46)

afbeelding van skumlerud

07-11-2018, 09:09

AxelStone wrote:

@skumlerud But I'm talking about a text browser, obviously I don't expect any kind of graphics in a MSX browser. You surely are talking about a graphic interface, obviously this is impossible even on MSX turbo R.

Parsing a current website would be practially impossible. E.g. the front page of the most popular Norwegian newspaper is currently 338Kb of code. Add to that the necessary code and memory requirements to parse, extract and display the site - even in textmode - and you'll see that this is not realistically possible on an 8-bit computer. Yes, there are ways around the memory constraints, but no wizardry can ever make this fast enough to be even remotely usable.

A proxy (even a Raspberry Pi) that renders the complete page would be necessary to get something usable. Unlike on a modern PC, a fullscreen image of a webpage would be smaller than the source for the same webpage, so even download speed will be faster. You "only" need a proxy that generates an image and some metadata with information about the locations of links and buttons/forms.

Van edoz

Prophet (2189)

afbeelding van edoz

07-11-2018, 11:32

AxelStone wrote:

I'm quite impressed with the couple GR8Net / SymbOS , thanks to them our old MSX systems are now online. However I still miss a key piece: a web browser.

I've been user of Linux elinks during several years and is a very capable web browser. Would it be difficult to get it working in our MSX? Smile

Yes! I am a fan as well Big smile Big smile It's a very good thing Prodatron did for SymbOS. It would be impossible now days to support the internet on a Z80 machine. Today's sites are supporting style sheets which are way to big to handle. SymZilla supports the DOX format only. The cool thing about DOX is that it is compiled and perfect to handle for the MSX online. Currently SymZilla supports already DOX but Prodatron never added the wget function into Symzilla. However the "code" for wget is already there in wget.com, It would be cool if he will add this to SymZilla. Then we can use SymZilla to browse DOX files online. People can create their own DOX site on their own MSX website if they like. This way you could have a kind of nice "intranet" hosted by normal web servers. Next to that it would be possible to make a HTML to DOX proxy. But that will only support simple HTML. But to be honest i think people will not use MSX to browse the internet Wink But it would be fun if people will place some DOX files on their webservers to "support" web browsing on the MSX. It would be handy to download stuff and read about people's hobby on the internet.

In the past i played a bit with the DOX format:

Van hamlet

Scribe (2817)

afbeelding van hamlet

07-11-2018, 11:59

Whoooo! This would be great edoz!

Van edoz

Prophet (2189)

afbeelding van edoz

07-11-2018, 12:28

It is not something i could do Wink We need to ask Prodatron to wget support in SymZilla first. Maybe just an implementation without HTML and DOX only as a first step. If i remember well Symzilla supports already streaming for DOX.

Van AxelStone

Prophet (2723)

afbeelding van AxelStone

10-11-2018, 15:04

Yeah @edoz, really cools, brings me to the past when I first accessed to Internet. Do it in our MSX would be really great. So it seems that a web browser on MSX is quite impossible, even with extra RAM of GR8Net, if we don't produce specific webs to be consumed by MSX.

Van edoz

Prophet (2189)

afbeelding van edoz

10-11-2018, 17:41

Yes, normal internet would be way to far for our MSX. And to be honest, probably people will start it once, try it for some seconds. Then think.. Lol it works and then use a normal PC again. It cost a lot of effort and time for "nothing" But i think it would be cool to host some dox sites on the internet, which gives you some fun and readable info and the possibility to download some software using SymZilla.

Van iamweasel2

Hero (533)

afbeelding van iamweasel2

11-11-2018, 06:24

The way I see it, the best way would be to use a MSX cartridge with a powerful processor inside (like MSXPI) to connect, download the website, parse it and encode the web page in a more adequate format MSX can use.

Many years ago, it was done in a MSX1 with Fudebrowser and his HTZ format. It required a web server to do the heavy work (I think it was called Wild).

Anyway, the good thing is that the so called Wild server could now be running locally inside a MSX PI cartridge.

I'm not saying it should be HTZ format, it can also be a screen 8 format with links. In both cases I believe it will not work for all sites, but at least it can work for many web sites.

Van Pencioner

Paragon (1034)

afbeelding van Pencioner

11-11-2018, 11:53

@iamweasel2 i agree, proxying traffic with recoding to another format could help, too

Van hit9918

Prophet (2882)

afbeelding van hit9918

11-11-2018, 18:57

html is a lot better than the custom format. because the site can be viewn by thousands mainstream firefoxen.

and to believe that html cant be used is the error!

html is dead easy. it can be dealt by 3mhz z80. and in case there is a problem, it is something ELSE
like tons of javascript
like javascript engine not available anyways
like tons of https crypto processing

and a custom format makes no difference to all the problems!

Van Grauw

Ascended (8612)

afbeelding van Grauw

11-11-2018, 21:07

I think indeed basic HTML and even basic CSS should be doable…

E.g. this page which I was just reading is just 8K, and contains pretty simple HTML5 markup which could be read into a document tree in memory and should render fine in absence of stylesheet processing.

Additionally the stylesheet is about 2K, and although it does contain a bunch of new CSS markup like calc() which will be more complicated to process, if these are ignored and only a small subset of CSS is supported like text-color, etc., in a graphical screen mode it could still add some colour to the output.

Finally the page is delivered via HTTPS, so it needs to be read through a proxy server. At least, I don’t know how difficult it is to implement TLS on a Z80 (not familiar with the algorithm).

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