Edbrowse, a Command Line Editor Browser

Edbrowse is a combination editor, browser, and mail client that is 100% text based.  The interface is similar to /bin/ed, though there are many more features, such as editing multiple files simultaneously, and rendering html.  This program was originally written for blind users, but many sighted users have taken advantage of the unique scripting capabilities of this program, which can be found nowhere else.  A batch job, or cron job, can access web pages on the internet, submit forms, and send email, with no human intervention whatsoever.  edbrowse can also tap into databases through odbc. It was primarily written by Karl Dahlke.

The original version, version 1, was written in perl.  You can download version 1.5.17 here, but it is no longer supported or documented.  It also lacks many important features that are present in the C package, such as javascript support, and the aforementioned scripting capabilities.  Still, the perl implementation has one overarching advantage; it is 100% portable.  You can run it on Unix, Linux, Windows, Dos, Mac, OS2 - anything that has perl.  So you may want to play with the perl version, as a demo, to see if you like it.  Then, at your leisure, you can download the C source and build edbrowse version 2 or 3.

Karl wrote version 2 in C, and rolled his own javascript compiler and engine from scratch - not a trivial task. 

The home-grown javascript engine worked, but keeping up with changes to an evolving language turned out to be a hassle.  Version 3 uses the Spider Monkey javascript engine from Mozilla.org, which is also open source.  This allowed Karl to leverage some 30,000 lines of code - more than everything he had written to date.  And somebody else was maintaining it!  That's the power of open source. 

In March 2011, several weeks after the release of version 3.4.6, Karl transferred maintainership of edbrowse to Chris Brannon.

You can download edbrowse version 3.5.1 as a zip archive here.  Or try the latest snapshot, which may have small, untested changes or minor bug fixes.

The releases are signed with the maintainer's gpg key, which has a key ID of 6521e06d. You should be able to get it from a gpg keyserver. Use this link to download the signature.

As of June 2014, we are now providing statically-linked edbrowse executables for Linux. This should be useful for people who both run a Linux distribution that does not package edbrowse and wish to get up and running without the hassle of building from source. See the static binaries page for more links.

Edbrowse is sometimes described as dense, in its code and in its human interface.  It contains many cryptic one and two letter commands, and few interactive help facilities.  So it is important that you read the user's guide, before you take edbrowse out for a spin.  (Also available in French.)  Remember, this manual describes the C version of edbrowse; the perl version will be lacking in many areas.

Even the C version is a work in progress.  It does not support dynamic document objects, digest authentication, or imap, to name a few.  My time is limited, and I am always looking for developers to help me with this project.  I am particularly interested in porting the C to Windows, and support for Spanish, German, Italian, and other languages.  Please let me know if you can help.

This is intended for Unix-like platforms.  You'll need the packages pcre-devel and openssl-devel to compile this program.  If you didn't say yes to "Software Development" at time of installation, these may not be present on your system, but they should be on your master disks.  Version 3 requires SMJS from Mozilla.org.  All this is described in the README file.

Want to get involved? Please consider subscribing to one or more of our mailing lists. The commandline list, hosted at Yahoo Groups, is a place to discuss edbrowse, other software written by Karl Dahlke, or command-line applications in general. It is friendly and informal. You may subscribe by sending a message to commandline-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. The edbrowse-dev list is intended for traffic directly pertaining to the development of edbrowse. Patches should be sent here. You can subscribe to the list by sending a message containing the subject "subscribe" (without quotes) to edbrowse-dev-request@lists.the-brannons.com. Either list is appropriate for bug reports.

We use the git version control system for managing the edbrowse source code. You may clone it via the URL <git://github.com/CMB/edbrowse.git>. Patches should be made against the master branch of this repository.

Send questions or comments to the maintainer, Chris Brannon.  Or contact the original author, Karl Dahlke.  Thank you.