capsule review

Webstractor 1.0

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If you use the Web for any kind of research, you’ll want to check out Softchaos’s Webstractor 1.0.1, an outstanding utility that lets you collect whole Web pages—including images, tables, and formatting—for viewing and editing, online or off.

Webstractor has two modes: Browse and Edit. In Browse mode, it acts as a stand-alone browser, letting you view Web pages and perform searches with its built-in Google button. You can also drag URLs from other browsers into Webstractor. And the program adds a contextual menu item to Apple’s Safari and The Omni Group’s OmniWeb, so you can invoke Webstractor from within those browsers; I hope it will do the same for others, such as Mozilla and Internet Explorer, someday.

Once you’ve found the information you’re looking for, Webstractor’s Edit mode lets you move, replace, and add content. You can change fonts and retain or remove graphics as you see fit. A handy links inspector lets you view and access all of a document’s links. You can even drag and drop your own text, RTF, Word, JPEG, or GIF files into the editable pages. No matter how much you edit, the original page stays the same in Browse mode—a great backup. While pages don’t automatically update in Browse mode, you can click on the Reload button to see a new version of the page.

You can save any page to the program’s collapsible thumbnail drawer (see screenshot), which you can then search.

Webstractor can be slow when making Web pages editable: it took 15 to 20 seconds to complete that process on a single-processor G4 Mac. The longer and more complex a page is, the longer you have to stare at the progress bar. Also, be sure to install the Webstractor Extras package along with the main program; if you don’t, the contextual-menu feature will not work.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

Webstractor 1.0.1 is a handy and flexible research tool for anyone who needs to archive and edit information found online.

Page Capture: Webstractor lets you edit and save entire Web pages and then navigate through them, via its collapsible thumbnail drawer.
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