Lightweight Browser for a Microcontroller?

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Lightweight Browser for a Microcontroller?

Postby Narios » April 4th, 2016, 1:37 pm

Hi there,

I just searching for days if there is a lightweight browser for burn in microcontrollers without any results.

I am a Frontend developer,I code offline web apps,so if there is any chance to connect a microcontroller to the internet (optional) and allow the users to develop web apps for the platform I will be very happy! (yes I want something like Firefox OS but obviously in a very minimal way).

I don't know what will be my platform (I suppose ARM).

Do you know something about that?

Thanks so much,

Narios
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Re: Lightweight Browser for a Microcontroller?

Postby st2000 » April 5th, 2016, 6:36 am

Problem is that almost all web browsers need a complex UI. Like GTK or Xlib. There are others but for simplicity lets say that's beyond what ever processor you are using. That leaves text browsers. There are several. Lynx, ELinks & W3m. There might me more.

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edit: added later...

When Unix (Linux & probably Mac) developers want to interact with the web, they generally don't use a browser. They use tools like wget which is a utility that can grab the offerings of the web. Wget has many options adaptable for most any web-scarping purpose. It sounds like this is more what you are searching for - rather than a browser.

The nice thing about Unix utilities with respect to embedded processors is that the source code is normally readily available. In fact, you should always search to see if someone has not already ported the given tool to your processor.
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Re: Lightweight Browser for a Microcontroller?

Postby Narios » April 8th, 2016, 2:53 pm

st2000 wrote:Problem is that almost all web browsers need a complex UI. Like GTK or Xlib. There are others but for simplicity lets say that's beyond what ever processor you are using. That leaves text browsers. There are several. Lynx, ELinks & W3m. There might me more.

---
edit: added later...

When Unix (Linux & probably Mac) developers want to interact with the web, they generally don't use a browser. They use tools like wget which is a utility that can grab the offerings of the web. Wget has many options adaptable for most any web-scarping purpose. It sounds like this is more what you are searching for - rather than a browser.

The nice thing about Unix utilities with respect to embedded processors is that the source code is normally readily available. In fact, you should always search to see if someone has not already ported the given tool to your processor.


wget is useful,how a pity we can't put in a microcontroller some full browser.
I am happy if something like Dillo exist (html,css support,so...a kind of a rendering engine of layout languages).
Do you know if exist something like this?

Thanks!

Narios
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Re: Lightweight Browser for a Microcontroller?

Postby st2000 » April 9th, 2016, 6:21 am

I am happy if something like Dillo exist

Dillo uses FLTK. So first see if FLTK works on your platform.

I don't know what will be my platform (I suppose ARM).

Don't know if this ti.com offering is new or obsolete. Only know it's an ARM and runs Linux. Figure if you are up in the air regarding exactly what your platform is going to be ... why not just buy something with out many constraints. Then you can probably use what ever browser you want that exists in the *nix universe.
http://www.ti.com/tool/TMDSSK3358
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Re: Lightweight Browser for a Microcontroller?

Postby bandersnatch » April 16th, 2016, 5:38 pm

Hi,

From your statement "I am a Frontend developer,I code offline web apps.." I would guess that
are not (yet!) an expert in operating systems and embedded controllers.

As a "Frontend developer" you deal directly with the properties and methods of a browser environment
and do not need to know very much about the huge amount of different software components and layers
that are needed in order to run a browser.
To find the best solution for your needs, you first need to define the following 3 basic elements of your idea
(in the following order..) :
1/ The browser requirements
- As a "Frontend developer" this is the most important layer.
You need to clearly define the requirements of "...something like Firefox OS but obviously in a very minimal way..".
You gotta have a clear idea of the set of browser functions needed for "...the users to develop web apps for the platform..
I suggest you use a full version of firefox, with the latest Javascript/HTML5 support or your developers are gonna
start moaning & groaning (!)

2/ The operating system requirements
Look for the smallest, lightest version of Linux that supports a full-featured firefox browser but stripped of all the stuff you don't need.
YOu can do this yourself but you gotta know all sorts of Linuy geeky stuff & this will take you some time if you are new to Linux config stuff.
I suggest you look for the smallest, lightest preconfgured Linux that supports your chosen browser:
G$$gle for "smallest possible embedded linux" & dig around
e.g. http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/l-embl/ provides a good initial overview
http://elinux.org/Best_of_Embedded_Linux summarizes the currently available distros
And then ask the forums what can still be removed & how to do this..

3/ The hardware requirements
This will depend on the Linux distro that you choose.
I suggest you first look for the cheapest & most popular HW that will run the Linux distro you have chosen.
Even if newer & more powerful units seem attractive, using a popular system (e.g. Raspberry PI) will provide
you with a huge base of support/experience/tools from many experts, which will help you greatly if
you run into problems.. Sometimes it is better to choose the most popular system than the most appropriate (on paper) system

OK.. Nuff said..
IMHO, once you have defined the browser environment that you really want,
the decisions on the Operating System and HW should be relatively easy and obvious...
Good Luck!
STFB
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