Completed Command Line Utility, Mining the Past (GHD017)

"GHDR Goal" Thursday was a good day! I took the time today to connect with people, and everyone was in an upbeat mood. With the lessons of yesterday’s procrastination fresh in my mind, I found it a lot easier to start working on my utility project. I actually finished it!

URLDUMP: A Utility to Scan .URL and .WEBLOC Files!

I have a folder on my desktop called DIGITAL BOOKMARKS, and whenever I see an interesting website I drag the location into it. This creates an “Internet Shortcut” on Windows machines, and “Web Locations” on Macs. The formats are not compatible with each other, though they are all stored in the same Dropbox account. I’d been keeping these links since early 2013, so there was around 1600 files that could not be easily converted into a simple list.

The goal of URLDUMP was simple: extract the URL data from the files and create a chronological listing. Doing this by hand, opening each file and copying the data, was hugely unappealing, but with my recent work-related experience with NodeJS, I thought perhaps I could write a simple program to do this for me.

Mission accomplished! I’ve posted the finished code to Github. It’s nothing exceptional codewise, but it’s quite exciting because writing this utility has been on my mental checklist for two years, and I thought it would be a pain in the butt to do. NO MORE. I also now have a bit more practical experience writing utilities of this nature, and the code itself may help me make more specialized utilities that build upon it. There are a LOT of Javascript and NodeJS libraries out there that do interesting things.

I’ve also posted the list of shortcuts itself as a plain HTML page, using Quiver to convert the Markdown into HTML. It’s interesting to look at this list because it’s sort of a personal history of distraction. It’s also is a window into the kind of topics catch my eye to the point I want to save a bookmark. At some point I’m going to go through the list and make some kind of chart of interests; that should be interesting!

GHDR Points Scored and Next Steps

I’m really happy that I was able to still my mind and just start working. It might have been better if this had happened earlier in the day, because then it wouldn’t be nearly 3AM again as I post this. But still…positive progress! I wonder how many points I can grub for this:

10 Thinking Software! Github Commit
10 Fulfilled Current Wish
10 Makes future results possible
5 Helped myself by reusing code / past discovery
3 overcame resistance
3 tried stuff I wasn’t sure would work!
2 I shared my work today
2 I made an outline to clarify something

That’s 45 points. A pretty big day. BOOYAH. I’m not sure what I’ll do tomorrow to top that.

About this Article Series

For my 2016 Groundhog Day Resolutions, I'm challenging myself to make something goal-related every day from February 2nd through December 12. All the related posts (and more!) are gathered on the Challenge Page.


  1. KJ 11 months ago

    Nice! If you wanted to extend this project just a bit you could run a cronjob to update your public bookmarks file daily. You could also use github pages instead of hosting it on your site.

  2. Author
    Dave Seah 11 months ago

    KJ: Cool ideas! The utility doesn’t produce 100% perfect output, so I’d need to improve how it handles non-western characters. Maybe I’ll come back to it later!

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I believe we all benefit when we respectfully share our perspectives on common experiences. My house rules are "please be respectful of divergent views" and "enjoy the flow of ideas!"

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