I/O/D 4: 'The Web Stalker'

Version 1.0 for Macintosh

Help document

Opening I/O/D 4: 'The Web Stalker'

When you open the I/O/D 4: 'The Web Stalker' you will see a blank screen. Press the mouse-button down and drag your mouse from one point to another and a rectangle will form. Release the mouse button and move the cursor back into the rectangle. Click the mouse-button and hold down the 'ctrl' button on the bottom left of your keyboard. When you do this, a pop-up menu will appear. This menu allows you to assign a function to the rectangle that you have just drawn.

The six functions are:





HTML Stream




The Crawler is the part of the I/O/D4:'Web Stalker' that actually links to the World Wide Web. It is used to start off a web session. The Crawler window shows the current status of the I/O/D4:'Web Stalker'.

how to use it

Open a window. Turn the window into a Crawler by opening the pop-up menu and clicking the mouse whilst pressing the 'ctrl' key at the same time. From the menu, choose the function 'Crawler'. In the window a bar will appear split into three equal sections.

Open the pop-up menu again. It will list three choices: 'Open URL', 'Stop' and 'Close'.

To start a new web session choose 'Open URL'. When the dialogue box appears, type in the address of the site that you wish to access. Once it has been typed in correctly, press 'Return' or click the cursor on the button in the window. The Stalker will then open your Internet connection and access the site. You can also use this function to go to a different site whilst you are already online.

If you have difficulty in opening up the Internet connection from the Web Stalker, try opening it up by using PPP first and then opening the Crawler.

When you want to finish a Web session, choose 'Stop' from the pop-up menu.

To close the Crawler window choose 'Close' from the pop-up menu.


The dot moving across the split bar shows what stage the Crawler is at. The first section of the bar shows the progress of the Net connection. Once connection is made and a URL is found, the dot jumps to the next section of the bar. The second section displays the progress of the Web Stalker as it reads through the found HTML document, looking for links to other URLS. The third section of the bar monitors the Web Stalker as it logs all the links that it has found so far.



The Map maps the links between HTML documents. It shows references to individual HTML documents as circles and the links between them as lines. Sites with more links to them have brighter circles.

how to use it

Once a Web session has been started you can begin to Map it.

The Map starts at the first URL opened by the Crawler and then moves through all the links from that site, then through the links from those sites, and so on.

To see the URL of an HTML document, and hence its likely contents, click on the circle. The URL will be displayed at the top left of the Map window.

So that you can keep track of the previous HTML document you clicked, another circle will appear inside it.

To read the text of a specific HTML document, drag the circle into an Extract window, (see below).


If you 'ctrl-click' in the Map window to get the pop-up menu, you can choose to 'Save' the map of HTML documents. A saved Map can be read off-line. The name of your saved Map file, will be appended with '.iod'. This '.iod' format enables the Web Stalker to distinguish these Map files from other file types. The saved file will contain all the information regarding URLs and links that are needed to re-draw the Map at another time.

You can open a saved Map file into the Map window at any time by choosing the 'Open' option from the pop-up menu.

If you go back online with a saved Map, there is a slim chance that some of the sites will have changed. If the URL cannot be located by the Web Stalker, you will get a message such as 'File not found' back from the server, or 'Connection cannot be established'. These will appear in the Crawler window.



The map shows HTML documents and links between them. The Dismantle window is used to work on specific URLs within HTML documents. URLs at this level will be specific resources such as images, email addresses, sound files, downloadable documents, etc.

how to use it

Open a window. Open the pop-up menu by clicking the mouse and pressing the 'ctrl' key at the same time. From the menu, choose the function 'Dismantle'. Clicking and dragging a circle from the Map window into the Dismantle window will display all URLs referenced within the HTML document you have chosen. These resources are also indicated by circles. Clicking on any of these circles reveals the URL of the resource as text in the top left hand side of the Dismantle window.

You can save these references to resources on the Net by clicking and dragging them into a Stash window described below.



A flexible way to save the URLs. The Stash provides a document format that can be used to make enhanced records of web use. It can even be read by old-style web 'Browsers'. Stash files can be passed around as a seperate document between different users so that you can share information on web resources.

how to use it

Open a window. Open the pop-up menu by clicking the mouse and pressing the 'ctrl' key at the same time. From the menu, choose the function 'Stash'.

When you want to add a URL to a Stash, drag it from the Map and drop it into the Stash window. It will then link to any other URLs in that Stash.

To save a Stash, choose the pop-up menu from the window by clicking the mouse at the same time as pressing the 'CTRL' key and choosing, 'Save'. A dialogue box will appear asking in which folder you wish the Stash to be saved.

To open a previously saved Stash, open the Web Stalker and make a 'Stash' window. Choose 'Open' from the pop-up menu and choose the saved Stash you want to use. Stash files will be appended by '.stx'

You can save the Stash as an HTML file if you choose 'Save as HTML' from the pop-up menu. This will allow you to read or publish the Stash as a Web 'page' of links which can be read by Web 'Browsers'. To open a Stash in a web 'Browser', open the 'Browser' first and then use the 'Open File' or 'Open Page' option under its File menu.


You can have several Stash windows open at once. (This is useful to make seperate resource documents for different subjects during one web session for instance).

HTML Stream


Shows all of the HyperText Mark-up Language, (the computer language that describes the content and links of the World Wide Web) as it is read by the Web Stalker.

how to use it

Open a window. Open the pop-up menu by clicking the mouse and pressing the 'ctrl' key at the same time. From the menu, choose the function 'HTML Stream'. You only need one HTML Stream window open at once.

You can close the window by choosing this option from the pop-up menu.



Shows all the text from a URL. Use your Map or Stash windows to get to these URLs.

how to use it

Open a window. Open the pop-up menu by clicking the mouse and pressing the 'ctrl' key at the same time. From the menu, choose the function 'Extract'. You may have more than one Extract window open at once.

To Extract the text from a URL click onto a circle illustrating that URL in the Map window. Drag it from the Map into the Extract window. It will then open up as a text file.

The Extract window has a scroll bar which can be used to move up and down the text in the normal manner. Text in the window can also be saved. To do so, open the pop-up menu again by clicking the mouse in the window at the same time as pressing the 'ctrl' key.

You can close the window by choosing this option from the pop-up menu.


Using the windows

The windows can be resized and repositioned at any time during use of the program. They can also overlap each other. But remember, if a window is completely overlapped by one or more other windows, you'll need to move those out of the way first before trying to use it.

To change the shape of a window, click inside one of the edges or a corner and drag it into position.

To move a window on the screen without changing its size click inside it - without selecting any of its contents - and drag it into the new position.

Colour Strip


This is a way to choose the colour of the screen.

how to use it

Move the cursor to a position outside any of the rectangles and 'ctrl-click'. A vertical strip of squares of varying colours will appear. Click on the colour that you wish to select.

The IOD4 HTML tag


<IOD4> is a HTMLish element that is only recognised by the Web Stalker.

how to use it

Using <IOD4> in HTML documents is easy.


<IOD4 [attributes]> (there is no closing tag for this element)


At the moment there's only one attribute, 'SHOUT'. The Web Stalker will read your HTML document and display your 'SHOUT' message in a field in the top left of the Web Stalker window.

This message can't be read by Web 'Browsers', so make the most of it.


<IOD4 SHOUT="any text you want displayed to Web Stalker users" >


That's it for now. More attributes will follow.



IGNORE.TXT is a text document that tells the Web Stalker which sites , URLs, file-types or words to avoid.

how to use it

Open a word processing program and type in things you want the Web Stalker to ignore. Hit the return-key after each item in your list, but don't add one after the final item. Save the file as 'IGNORE.TXT" . Make sure that there's something in the file. The Web Stalker won't work with an empty file.

When the Web Stalker goes online, it will ignore anything it finds which include the words in your 'IGNORE.TXT' file.

The 'ignore.txt' file must stay within the same folder as the Web Stalker application for it to work. You can move the file in and out of the Web Stalker's folder according to whether you want the file to have any effect.

You can exclude hosts...




...or whole parts of a site,




individual urls:



or specific file types





Don't put things like the following in the 'ignore.txt' file. Or at least don't mail us saying the Web Stalker doesn't work if you do:



f (or any other individual character)



How to identify and use specific resources

The following are only examples of file names and types. There will be other types of file accessible via the World Wide Web.





www.domainname.com/executable file.exe




Future versions of the Web Stalker will enable you to view images, playback Shockwave movies and run Java applets. Within v1.0 of the Web Stalker' use the Stash to save HTML references to resources that can then be accessed by other applications.

Using the Web Stalker Offline

The Web Stalker can save you hours of online surfing time. Saving Map and Stash documents gives you access to information in the name of the URL. You can make a guess as to the contents of the HTML from this name and choose whether to extract text or other resources from it.

Choose a URL. Drag a circle from a Map or Stash into an Extract, Dismantle or Crawler window and the Web Stalker will open a Net connection and retreive the specific information for you.

Other Help

There will be a regularly updated resource of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Web Stalker at the Stalker Homepage. http://www.backspace.org/iod. Please note that we cannot offer individual technical support.