Help me get that stuff !!
This page is dedicated to those of you who want to grab anything that is downloaded on their computers like pictures, images, sound etc.
Let's start with something trivial.
Images and pictures.
We are going to browse through the various methods we can use to achieve this goal, but first
a little bit of theory.
This chapter is intended for beginners only.
When you are browsing your favorite site, your browser makes different calls to the server to download the page. Those calls are made using the HTTP protocol which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol so that next time you type in an address, you know what it means.
The download of the page begins, and your browser collects string of caracters (the source code of the page) which is then interpretated by the browser for correct display. Let's see how it goes with the example of the dowload of this page.
Here is a portion of the code that has been downloaded by the browser.
<p><img src="img/fullscreensoleimage.jpg" alt="fullscreensoleimage" width="640" height="512" /></p>
<p>The previous 2 methods should work in 98% of the cases. </p>
As you can see, HTML is made of tags which are string of caracters with attributes which all stand between '<' and '>'.
What we are looking for, basically, are image tags. There are very easy to spot since they start with img and then have a lot of attributes.
I recommend paying a visit to this site htmlcodetutorial only because it ranks second on google when you search for "html img".
The one I usually use is not available to english users.
So what's next ? The truth lies in the attributes my friend ! The "src" attributes contain the URL (another big word which I call address as well on this page) of the picture that has been downloaded on the computer. To get the image, copy the src attribute and past it in the address bar but wait, there are some simple rules to follow.
- if the src attributes starts with a '/' (ie: src="/img/img001.jpg"), then it is an absolute address and you need to paste it right after the server name.
What is it ? It is a string that identifies the server, it can be an IP (group of numbers separated by .), or a string of caracters. It starts after the :'//' and finishes before the first '/'. In our case, on this site the server name is www.grabmeifyoucan.com. So to get the image, copy the string
in the adress bar of your browser, and it should download the image on a clean page.
- the attributes does not start with a '/', then it is a relative address, which means the path of the image is relative to the actual page and you need to concatenate the src attibute to the last part of the URL of the page. The last part start right after the last /. An example will clear it all.
The URL page is http://www.grabmeifyoucan.com/photograb/grabphotos.do; jsessionid=0678898546421845135353 and the src attributes indicate pages/img/img001.gif. The URL of the image is then
That was very simple theory.
To download your favorite picture, usually the most direct thing you can do is ask the browser to do the job for you.
The right-click method
Place the mouse over the desired image, right-click and select save as. A menu will pop up in the vast majority of the cases.
Save and that's it, you have it.
In some rare cases, the right menu does not appear or the save as menu cannot be selected.
The source code method
Here is a simple work-around. Right click on the page anywhere but on the picture, and select source code of the page. Then using the search string (^F control F) look for the tags with <img src="...">. They are pointing directly to the pictures. Read the previous chapter in case you get a 404 error when trying to access those images.
The previous 2 methods should work in 98% of the cases.
Should all of these methods fail, you can always use the 'print screen' method.
The print screen method
This is method that always works but that requires a little bit of extra work.
The little 'print screen' key on the keyboard (above the arrow block usually) freezes the screen and copies it into the copy buffer. Then with a ^v (control V), you
can past it anywhere you like to work on the screen shot.
If you work under windows environement, then you have the MS-Paint programm that comes-in handy or you can download and use "The Gimp" that works with Linux as well.
You then are free to do whatever you like with your picture.
With all these methods, you are ready to grab any picture that appears on your computer, but always remember that the pictures on the web-sites are subjected to copyright and we encourage you to make a "good-use" of them.
Soon to come sound grabbing...
From the mail corner
You'll find hereafter all the most frequent comments, questions and answers provided. Thanks for writing us.
Q:" ... let's take the example of the site of the NY marathon. Could you provide us with a method/script that would do the job automatically to download them all for once ? Would that be complicated to have that ? Could it be generalized to any URL of any site ?"
A:... One could create a script that implements the source-code method.
As for the generalization of such a process, needless to say that every site has its own logic to grab the interesting images. However, we recommend the use of some special programs like httrack which download entire sites on your computer for off-line browsing. You might have trouble with session handling though.
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