Is It Worth Saving?
A lot of it is. Yes, I know that multimedia consultant and author William Horton has called the Web a GITSO (Garbage In, Toxic Sludge Out) system. Although there is a lot of sludge out there, it's not all sludge. Much of it is worth saving. And now and then that's just what you'll want to do: Save some of it to your hard disk. Let's look at two aspects of saving in particular: how to save and what you can save.
You can save many things from the Web. Most browsers work in much the same way, although one or two have a few nice little extra "save" features. Here's what you can save:
Save the document text You can copy text from a browser to the Clipboard and then paste the text into another application. Or you can use the File, Save As command, which enables you to choose to save the document as plain text (that is, without all the little codes used to create a Web document; you'll look at those in Chapter 13, "Setting Up Your Own Web Site").
Save the HTML source document The source document is the HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document used to create the document that you see in your browser. The source document has lots of funky little codes, which you'll understand completely after you read Chapter 13 (perhaps not completely, but at least you'll understand the basics). After you begin creating your own Web pages (you are planning to do that, aren't you? Everyone else and his dog is), you might want to save source documents so you can "borrow" bits of them. Use File, Save As and choose to save as HTML. The problem with saving a Web page in this manner, though, is that the images are not saved. To save them, you'll need to use the following method.
It's Not Yours
Remember that much of what you come across on the Web is copyrighted material. Unless you are sure that what you are viewing is not copyrighted, you should assume that it is. That means you have no right to take and republish the material (such as placing it on your Web site), and could even be prosecuted for doing it.
Save the entire document, pictures and all Recent versions of Internet Explorer provide two more save options when you use the File, Save As command: Web Page, complete, and Web Archive, single file. The first, Web Page, complete, saves the images in a directory, and then saves the Web page itself and changes all the image references to point to the saved images. The second method, Web Archive, single file, saves the page and images in a special archive file with the file extension MHT.
Save the text or HTML source for documents you haven't even viewed You don't have to view a page before you save it (although to be honest, I haven't yet figured out why you would want to save it if you haven't seen it). Right-click the link and choose Save Target As or Save Link As from the shortcut menu.
Save inline images in graphics files You can copy images you see in Web pages directly to your hard drive. Right-click an image and choose Save Image As or Save Picture As.
Save the document background Internet Explorer even lets you save the small image that is used to put the background color or pattern in many documents. Right-click the background and choose Save Background As.
Create Windows wallpaper Internet Explorer also lets you quickly take an image or background from a document and use it as your Windows wallpaper image. Right-click the picture or the background and choose Set As Wallpaper.
Copy images to the Clipboard With this neat Explorer feature, you can copy images and background images directly to the Clipboard. Right-click the image, and then choose Copy or Copy Background from the shortcut menu.
Print the document Most browsers have a File, Print command and maybe even a Print button. Likewise, you'll often find a Page Setup command that lets you set margins and create headers and footers.
Save URLs to the Clipboard You can save URLs to the Clipboard so that you can copy them into another program. Copy the URL directly from the Address or Location text box, or right-click a link and choose Copy Shortcut or Copy Link Location. Some versions of Netscape also allow you to drag a link onto a document in another program; the link's URL will then appear in the document.
Grab files directly from the cache Remember that the cache is dynamic; the browser is constantly adding files to and removing files from it. If you have something you want to save, you can copy it directly from the cache. Internet Explorer makes this process easy; simply click the View Files button in the Options dialog box. With Netscape, you can view the directory holding the files. However, Netscape renames files, making them hard to identify. (Explorer names each file with its URL.) You can also find special programs that will help you view and manage files in your cache; see Appendix C, "All the Software You'll Ever Need," for information about tracking down software.
Save computer files referenced by links Many links do not point to other Web documents; they point to files of other formats, which opens a whole new can of worms that we'll explore right now.