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This blog provides updates on the API and features offered by Browshot. Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on the service.

New iPhone 12 instances

Apr 25, 2021

Tags: api

iPhone 12 available as a mobile device We have added the iPhone 12 as mobile device. It comes with many improvement for all mobile devices, such as improved support for mobile-only API. These new instances support the dark mode we introduced recently.

Wikipedia on iPhone 12 in dark mode

Wikipedia rendered in dark mode on iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 is available in the USA, Germany, UK and as a private instance for other countries.

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Support for dark mode

Apr 18, 2021

Tags: api

Dark mode support for Chrome and Mobile We have added support for dark mode in Chrome, for both desktop browsers and mobile devices. Dark mode changes the way web page look, for example by switching a white background to a black color.

Wikipedia on iPhone 12 in dark mode

Wikipedia rendered in dark mode on iPhone 12

dark=1 API parameter

Add dark=1 to your API calls to enable the dark mode native to Chrome. This option is available with all API calls that generate screenshots:

You will find the new option in the dashboard under Advanced options:

Dark mode

And on the Batch page under Advanced options:

Dark mode

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Hide popups, ads, overlays automatically

Dec 17, 2020

Tags: api

Hide ads and other popups easily We've added an option to automatically hide most ads and popups. This option can hide ads, subscriptions, and most popups on many websites. You may find websites on which this option does not hide an ad or messes up the layout of the site. Please report these issues to help us improve our ad blocker.

hide_popups=1 API parameter

Add hidepopups=1 to your API calls. This option is available with all API calls that generate screenshots:

You will find the new option in the dashboard under Advanced options:

Hide popups

And on the Batch page under Advanced options:

Hide popups

A couple of examples

Here are a few sites with the feature turned off (hide_popups=0) and enabled (hide_popups=1).

Le Monde, cookie popup (hide_popups=0)

Le Monde cookie popup

Le Monde, hide_popups=1

Hide Le Monde cookie popup

Common advertising over the main content (hide_popups=0)

Le Monde cookie popup

hide_popups=1

Hide Le Monde cookie popup

If this does not work

This new feature works on most websites. If it does not work on a page, you can use the automation steps to handle more complex cases. You can find examples on our blog.

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Take thousands of screenshots in a couple of clicks

Sep 6, 2020

Take thousands of screenshots With Browshot, you can take thousands of screenshots at once without writing a line of code. Using the batch feature, you can upload a list of URLs (from a text file, an Excel spreadsheet, etc.) and downloads all the screenshots in a ZIP archive. In this post, we'll explain:

  • How to prepare the batch
  • How to follow the progress
  • How to specify the image file you want
  • How to download all screenshots at once
  • Examples of batch to download
  • The Batch API for advanced users

There is no limit to the number of screenshots you can request. One of our users took nearly a million screenshots in a single batch. The batch takes care of trying screenshots multiple times if the requested URL is temporarily unavailable.

Prepare the batch: screenshot name, S3 upload, etc.

All you need is the list of URLs for which you want screenshots. You can start with a text file, with open URL per line. In this case, Browshot will generate "random" names for each screenshot.

You can also specify the file names for each screenshot in your text file. Add the image file separated by a comma:

https://browshot.com/,site/browshot.com.png
https://thumbalizr.com/,site/thumbalizr.com.png
https://blitapp.com/,site/blitapp.com.png

If you use spreadsheet software like Excel, with the first column for the URL and the second column for the file name, you can export the spreadsheet as a CSV file and use it for your batch.

You can use folders in the file name. If you choose the S3 upload when you create your batch, these file names will be used in your S3 bucket.

Now that you have your text file (or CSV file) with the list of URLs, and maybe file names as well, you are ready to create a batch. In the Browshot dashboard, go to Batch from the left menu. At the top of the page, you'll find your previous batches and a link to download the results:

Download your screenshots

Then, you'll find the form to create a new batch. You can set a name for your batch to make it easier to find later. Just like for regular screenshots, you can change many parameters, such as what browser to use, the country of origin, the size of the browser, etc. Click on Advanced options to customize the HTTP request (cookie, referrer, etc.) or inject a script. Finally, choose the image format (PNG or JPEG) and the size of the screenshot or thumbnail. If you want your screenshots to be uploaded to AWS S3 as they are done, add your S3 bucket name. Upload your text or CSV file and hit Request.

Create a new batch

I want to highlight the choice of image format (PNG or JPEG). PNG offers the best image quality, while JPEG has a much smaller file size. A JPEG file can be 10x smaller than the same PNG with just slightly lower quality. Having smaller files might be important if you're taking many screenshots.

Note: We recommend creating a test batch with just one or two URLs to verify all your settings.

Follow the progress

Once you hit Request, Browshot will process the batch-create. Your batch will be added to the list of batch requests at the top of the page. The table will show how many unique URLs have been found in your file (Finished/Total), how many screenshots have been completed ( Processed), how many have failed (Failed), and a rough estimate of how long it should take (Status). Press the refresh button at the bottom right of the table to get updated information.

Note that the batch will take longer if some URLs are not reachable or take a long time to load. Each failed screenshot will be retried up to three times.

When the batch is done, the last row will show a link to one or more files to download.

Download the screenshots

If you take a lot of full-page screenshots, the resulting ZIP file might be very big, several GB. To make it easier to download and unzip on your computer, we split large files into smaller files of 100MB. You must download all the files on your computer before you can decompress them. Then, follow the instruction on the Batch screen: Open the first file with 7-Zip (Windows) or Keka (Mac OS X).

When you decompress the files, you'll find a CSV file, along with all the image files, that contains all the details of your screenshots:

  • URL
  • Status: finished or error
  • ID: the screenshot ID
  • filename: the local file name for the screenshot
  • status code: the HTTP status code of the URL (200, 404, etc.)

The CSV file can be opened with any spreadsheet software like Excel, Google Sheet, etc.

Examples of batches

Here are a couple of batches you can download to better understand what to expect:

  1. Batch with no image files: text file - ZIP archive
  2. Batch with an image file requested: text file - ZIP archive
  3. Batch from a text file with more than two columns: text file - ZIP archive

The Batch API

Batches can also be created, checked and downloaded using the API. If you want to take 10 or fewer screenshots at once through the API, consider using screenshot/multiple instead of a batch.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you need help creating batches.

See more...

Hide a cookie notice or other banners

Aug 17, 2020

Tags: api automation

Hide a cookie notice or any banner from your screenshots Update: we have added an API parameter to hide most ads and popups automatically. See this blog post for more information.

Many websites prompt the user to accept a cookie or some other terms of service, or show an ad that covers most of the page. You can easily remove these banners and popups from your screenshot by leveraging the automation steps. We'll review a couple of examples in this blog post.

Yahoo UK privacy banner

If you visit https://www.yahoo.co.uk/, you'll be presented with this banner about their new privacy policy:

Hide the Yahoo privacy popup

If you want to take a screenshot of the home page, you must to click on "I agree". You can add an automation step to click the button. All you need is the CSS selector that corresponds to this button. Follow these steps to get it:

  1. In Chrome, right click on the "I agree" button and choose Inspect. Other browsers, such as Firefox, have a similar option.
    Inspect the blue button
  2. This opens the Chrome Developer Tools. The corresponding HTML code is highlighted in light gray. Right-click on it. Choose Copy, and then Copy selector
    Get the CSS selector
  3. The CSS selector has been copied to your clipboard. Paste it anywhere to find out what it is:
    #consent-page > div > div > div > div.wizard-body > div.actions.couple > form > button
CSS selector

You can now use the CSS selector with the automation step, either through the API or through the dashboard. To test it through the dashboard, click on Advanced Web Options. Add this step:

Action: click
Element: #consent-page > div > div > div > div.wizard-body > div.actions.couple > form > button

Hide the Yahoo privacy popup

USA Today cookie banner

USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/) displays a banner to accept cookies at the bottom of the page. Like in the previous example, you can click on "Accept Cookies" to hide it.

Hide the USA Today cookie notification

To get the CSS selector of the "Accept Cookies" button, do this:

  1. Right click on the "Accept Cookies" button and choose Inspect
  2. This opens the Chrome Developer Tools. The corresponding HTML code is highlighted in light gray. Right-click on it. Choose Copy, and then Copy selector
  3. The CSS selector has been copied to your clipboard. Paste it anywhere to find out what it is:
    #onetrust-accept-btn-handler
CSS selector

You can now use the CSS selector with the automation step, either through the API or through the dashboard. To test it through the dashboard, click on Advanced Web Options. Add this step:

Action: click
Element: #onetrust-accept-btn-handler

You can test the automation steps with your free account. Contact us if you need help getting the CSS selector for any website.

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    About Us

    Browshot is a web service to create real time web screenshots in a multitude of virtual devices, including mobile devices like the iPhone 3 & 4, iPad, Android Nexus, etc.

    You can use the web dashboard, or our full-featured API.

    • Real time screenshots

    • 15+ mobile devices: iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.

    • 30+ desktop resolutions

    • Fast and reliable

    • Thumbnails of any size, any ratio

    • Full API, open-source libraries