Meet the Textise Developer

Why was Textise created?

Ever since I came across the idea of "screen scraping" several years ago I've been interested in techniques for extracting information from web pages. Add to this my interest in language and the medium of text (I also write text-only adventure games, for example the TrueHero games), and you can probably see how Textise came about. I was also becoming aware of how cluttered many web pages have become: I'm afraid I don't subscribe to the maxim that a picture tells a thousand words. In my opinion, the overuse of graphics on web sites has led to a kind of "image fatigue". Give me the thousand words any day!
Textise itself is a web application running a web service and the Firefix add-on is a neat way of exposing its functionality from within the browser. In fact, the add-on was the final piece of the jigsaw, in that it allows users to easily switch from normal to text-only without having to return to the home page.
I'm very pleased to report that Textise is now used for many purposes, including improving accessibility for the blind and partially-sighted, extracting and printing text and, of course, de-cluttering migraine-inducing web pages.

What's next for Textise

I have a few ideas for the add-on but I haven't decided which ones to use and I'm also a little wary of over-complicating what is, at the moment, a very easy-to-use utility. I could put a tick mark next to the "Text-only View" option when Textise is in use, although I'm not sure how much value that would give. I could also put a button on the toolbar to control the default view for new URLs: if selected, all pages would be processed via Textise. Please let me know if you're desperate to see either of these ideas put into practice.

As far as the Textise application itself is concerned, I've wrestled with the idea of keeping form fields in the textised version of a page. This - along with code to handle sessions - would, for example, allow the use of search boxes and would also allow users to log in to sites like Facebook or make online purchases. However, I'm hesitant to do it for a number of reasons. Firstly, it would be a difficult - albeit interesting - development task. Secondly, it would distract from the "text-only" ideal. And thirdly - and this is probably the clincher - I'd be setting myself up for litigation if a financial transaction carried out via Textise went wrong in some way. Again, though, I am open to suggestions and requests, which you can post up at

About the Developer

Developer Information
Name Ian Williams
Location UK
Occupation IT
User since May 28, 2009
Number of add-ons developed 1 add-on
Average rating of developer's add-ons Rated 3 out of 5 stars