Friday, January 27, 2006

Browsing Sourceforge Download Servers

Sourceforge is a nice service, but it can also be painful to use because of the heavy-weight Web page design, and the need to repeatedly click before you get the download you want.

The most irksome of these is the download mechanism provided by Sourceforge --- where you first need to browse a list of download servers, pick a mirror, and then download what you want. Emacspeak implements a Smart URL that enables one to download from Sourceforge in a single step.

By default, this uses a North American mirror; the behavior can be customized if outside the US. Use smart URL Sourceforge Browse Mirror and specify the name of a SF hosted project when prompted. This brings up the index page for the project's download area, sorted by date. Move to the bottom of the page and hit b to move to the latest available download.

The smart URL sets up the W3 buffer with a context-sensitive download function; when on a download link, hit C-d to start downloading. This command will prompt for the URL; rather than hitting return (which would bring you to the browse mirrors page, hit M-p to get the download URL for your SF mirror. Note that this wizard uses GNU wget to perform the download via Emacs module w3-wget.