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Tech: Mudcat browser tools

GUEST,DaveRo 16 Jan 16 - 09:03 AM
DaveRo 08 Jul 18 - 12:00 PM
DaveRo 07 Nov 20 - 10:47 AM
DaveRo 16 Oct 21 - 11:55 AM
DaveRo 06 Jan 22 - 11:00 AM
DaveRo 09 Jul 22 - 11:37 AM
DaveRo 23 Jul 22 - 12:40 PM
DaveRo 15 Dec 23 - 10:19 AM
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Subject: Tech: Mudcat browser tools
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 16 Jan 16 - 09:03 AM

Over the past couple of years I've written several userscripts and bookmarklets for browsing Mudcat. I've now packaged them as a browser addon to make them easier to use, especially on a tablet. They're for Firefox and Chrome.
It adds these features to the threadlist and thread pages:
1. Identifies threads posted to since last visit.
2. Scrolls to the first new post in a thread.
3. Remembers a guest user name, and preselects preview.
4. Adds quoting and linking buttons below the input area.
5. Saves and recovers text in case the post fails to 'stick'.

Mudcat Browser Tools

Feedback welcome, especially for the chrome extension. Any problems installing it?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat browser tools
From: DaveRo
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 12:00 PM

Version 2.3.1 replaces spaces with non-breaking spaces when you format selected text with the 'monospace' button. This is useful when posting ABC or code. It's what the PRE tag does, but without the leading spaces that PRE generates here. Example:

|:D|"G"~G3 GAB|"D"ABA ABd|"G"edd gdd|"G"edB "D"dBA|
    "G"~G3 GAB|"D"ABA ABd|"G"edd gdB|"D"AGF "G"G2:|

You can use monospace formatting and box-drawing characters, in combination with the option to convert non-ASCII characters to html '&-codes' to display guitar tabs. This example is from a post by Stanron:

   . + . 1 + + 2 + + . 1 + + 2 + + . 1 + + 2 + + . 1 + + 2 + +  

If you don't convert non-ASCII characters to &-codes it previews OK but converts the box-drawing characters to hyphens and pluses. You have to select this option - it's not on by default. The 'recover text' button reverses the conversion so you can edit what you originally typed or copied in.

Note, however, there is a bug in some versions of Android whereby not all box-drawing characters are the same width, so verticals do not always line up. I don't know whether other operating systems suffer from this.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat browser tools
From: DaveRo
Date: 07 Nov 20 - 10:47 AM

Back in 2017 Mudcat was displaying as ??? many characters that it previously displayed OK, and I added a module to convert non-ASCII characters to HTML '&-codes'. The problem was fixed six months later, and most common accented letters have since displayed OK. The module remained in the add-on but I suggested it be disabled unless users were posting in non-western languages.

I recently had to rewrite this code so I made some changes. If the encoder is turned on - it is off by default - it will now only encode characters which I believe are not capable of being held in the database and are therefore displayed as ?, or converted to another character, even though they preview OK.

So these characters will no longer be encoded:
 ¡¢£¤¥¦§¨©ª«¬­­ ®¯
But eastern European characters such as these will be:
ş ğ ı ő ć ń ś ź ł ż ą ę
If you have the option turned off, and you occasionally post non-western letters, or symbols, I suggest you turn it on. If you already have it turned on you'll notice it no longer converts any of the letters above - for example é into é

It doesn't encode high-end unicode characters such a Chinese or fancy emoticons: nothing above u+26FF (#9983).
So you can display these: ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♭ ♮ ♯

Click 'Recover text' to restore the original characters, which makes them easier to edit.

Mudcat Browser Tools
(Version 2.4.7)

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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat browser tools
From: DaveRo
Date: 16 Oct 21 - 11:55 AM

The Linkify button will create, with one click, a link from anything in the post that looks like a URL. You can also specity the displayed text like this:|click_here
The underscore is replaced by a space: click here

I added another way of creating links with multi-word text, allowing spaces and avoiding the need for underscores:{{This site is an example.}}
which generates: This site is an example.

That's easier for longer texts, for example a title copied from the target website.

Full details are on the Firefox addon page. The Chrome extension is identical.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat browser tools
From: DaveRo
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 11:00 AM


If you cannot run the Mudcat Browser Tools add-on - for example on an iPad - and therefore you cannot make links with a single click, you will find my Simple Linkifier useful. It works in any browser.

It overcomes the problems which the Mudcat link tool currently has: it truncates long URLs, and links to pages within Mudcat do not work.

Simple Linkifier

I suggest you bookmark it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat browser tools
From: DaveRo
Date: 09 Jul 22 - 11:37 AM

The Mudcat Browser Tools Chrome Extension is back!

A mudcatter told me he uses it with Vivaldi browser, which is based on Chromium. So I have created, and he has tested for me, a Manifest Version 3 version of Mudcat Browser Tools.

There are ten times as many (non-mobile) Chrome users as Firefox users so it has always puzzled me there were so few Chrome users of this addon compared to Firefox users - at one time they were almost equal at a dozen each. (Also why most users are in the UK - but that might be related.) So I think a bit of a relaunch is appropriate.

Chrome Extensions add features to the Chrome browser. You install this one from the Chrome Webstore with one click:
Mudcat Browser Tools Chrome Extension

The original and still the main purpose of Mudcat Browser Tools is to easily see which threads have new posts since your last visit and to automagically position threads at the first new post. It has other features, but those are the main one.

Optional features, such as displaying the number of posts to the left of thread title on the index page, are accessed from the jigsaw piece on the toolbar or 'More tools', 'Extensions' in the main menu. From the options page you can display a fuller description of all the features. (You can also look on the Firefox Addon Page which is clearer.) But you don't have to set any options. If you don't like the quoting feature just don't use it. If you don't like the DaveRo wrote bit of it, you can suppress it and just have indented italics.

Chrome Extensions work in Google Chrome (not mobile), Chromium (the open-source version of Chrome), Microsoft Edge, Brave, Vivaldi, Opera, and some more obscure browsers. Not Safari - or not unless I pay Apple I think.

It's version 3.0.0.

This version adds a facility to copy posts to local files for archival purposes, offline viewing, or as a hedge against data loss. Posts are stored in individual files and are viewable in a browser. You can specify that specific threads are to be archived: this might be of interest if you invest a lot of effort in posting lyrics, say, and would like to automatically keep a local copy of your posts and others' comments. Archiving requires installation of a separate program which actually writes the files, and some configuration. Contact me by PM or email (addess on the addon page) if you want to try it and I'll provide instructions.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat browser tools
From: DaveRo
Date: 23 Jul 22 - 12:40 PM

The Firefox addon now includes the archiving facility described in the previous post.
It's version 2.6.0

Mudcat Browser Tools

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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat browser tools
From: DaveRo
Date: 15 Dec 23 - 10:19 AM

Mudcat Browser Tools will now run on Android (again).

As I wrote in my OP, in 2016, the add-on originated as tools to make Mudcat more readable on a small tablet. Some of the features were aimed at very small screens. Firefox's Android browser removed support for all but 'recommended' add-ons in 2020.

Mozilla has now restored the ability to run any add-on in Firefox for Android, so Mudcat Browser Tools is available again.

The default features are the same on desktop and mobile, but if you use a very small screen you might investigate the options to reororganise the index page, and use a bigger font for posts. There are screenshots of it on a phone on the Firefox add-on page

Chrome never supported extensions on mobile. You can of course install Firefox on Android just to read Mudcat while keeping Chrome as you default browser.

Install Mudcat Browser Tools

A note about Mudcat URLs.

For historical reasons, you can run Mudcat using different URLs:
- https (secure) or http (insecure)
- or

If you just type '' you might get the secure version or the insecure one, depending on how your browser is set up and how the server reacts that day.

In order for Mudcat Browser Tools to work, you must stick to to the same type of URL and not mix http and https, or mix URLs with and without www.

I recommend that you always start mudcat from a bookmark (favourite) that starts Revisit any old bookmarks and ensure they all use that format.

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