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Published: 18-04-2019 | Author: Remy van Elst | Text only version of this article

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Love plaintext? This script downloads an URL, parses it with readability andreturns the plaintext (as markdown). It supports RSS feeds (will convert everyarticle in the feed) and saves every article.

My usecase is twofold. One is to convert RSS feeds to a Gopher site, thesecond is to get full text in my RSS reader.

The script contains a few workarounds for so-called cookiewalls. It also pausesbetween RSS feed articles to not do excessive requests.

The readability part is handled by Python, no external services are used.

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Here's an example of a news article. On the left, the text-only parsed version,on the right, the webpage:

Github repo with source code


First install the required libraries.

On Ubuntu:

apt-get install python python-pip #python2pip install html2text requests readability-lxml feedparser

Other distro's, use the pip command above.

Clone the repository:

git clone


usage: [-h] -u URL [-s SLEEP] [-r] [-n]Convert HTML page to text using readability and html2text.arguments:  -h, --help            show this help message and exit  -u URL, --url URL     URL to convert (Required)  -s SLEEP, --sleep SLEEP                        Sleep X seconds between URLs (only in rss)  -r, --rss             URL is RSS feed. Parse every item in feed  -n, --noprint         Dont print converted contents

If you want to run the script via a cronjob, use the -n option to not haveoutput.

If the parsing failed, the article will contain the text: parsing failed.


python --rss --url --url

Saved text

Every file converted will also be saved to the folder saved/$hostname. Thefilenames are sorted by date.



Tags: bash, gopher, logs, monitoring, pygopherd, python, software