Module tf.about.browser


The Text-Fabric package contains a command to work with your corpus in your browser. It sets up a local web server, which interacts with your web browser. Then you can view and search the corpus without programming and without internet connection.

Start up

Below, when you see app, you have to substitute it by the name of an existing TF app.

The Text-Fabric browser fetches the apps and corpora (tf.about.corpora) it needs from GitHub/GitLab automatically.

On Windows?

You can click the Start Menu, and type

text-fabric app

in the search box, and then Enter.

On Linux or Macos?

You can open a terminal (command prompt), and just say

text-fabric app

All platforms

The corpus data will be downloaded automatically, and be loaded into text-fabric. Then your browser will open and load the search interface. There you'll find links to further help.

More data

You can let TF use extra features:

text-fabric app --mod=org/repo/path
text-fabric app --mod=org/repo/path -c
text-fabric app --mod=org/repo/path,org/repo/path

Here org, repo and path must be replaced with a github user or organization, a github repo, and a path within that repo.

Read more about your data life-cycle in the Data guide (tf.about.datasharing).

Custom sets

You can create custom sets of nodes, give them a name, and use those names in search templates. The TF browser can import those sets, so that you can use such queries in the browser too.

text-fabric app --sets=filePath
  • Start a TF browser for app.
  • Loads custom sets from filePath.

filePath must specify a file on your local system (you may use ~ for your home directory). That file must have been written by calling writeSets(). If so,it contains a dictionary of named node sets. These names can be used in search templates, and the TF browser will use this dictionary to resolve those names. See, the sets argument].


Your session (aka job) will be saved in your browser, under the name app-default, or another name if you rename, duplicate, import or create new sessions.

After you have issued the text-fabric command, a TF kernel is started for you. This is a process that holds all the data and can deliver it to other processes, such as your web browser.

As long as you leave the TF kernel on, you have instant access to your corpus.

You can open other browsers and windows and tabs with the same url, and they will load quickly, without the long wait you experienced when the TF kernel was loading.

Shut down

You can close the TF kernel and web server by pressing Ctrl-C in the terminal or command prompt where you have started text-fabric. It will prompt you to ask if you really want to shut down the kernel. If you leave it on, a next TF browser session will connect to it, which is quicker than to start up a fresh kernel.

You can also manually clean up TF related processes:

text-fabric app -k

Or, if you have also processes running for other apps:

text-fabric -k

Work with exported results

You can export your results to CSV files which you can process with various tools, including your own.

You can use the "Export" tab to tell the story behind your query and then export your view. A new page will open, which you can save as a PDF.

There is also a button to download all your results as data files.

Exported materials

A json file with all information associated with your current session. You can import this in the Jobs section, and restore the session by which you created these results.
a Markdown file with your description and some provenance metadata.
contains your precise search results, decorated with the features you have used in your searchTemplate. Not only the results on the current page, but all results.
contains your precise search results, as a list of tuples of nodes. Not only the results on the current page, but all results.
contains the sections you have selected as a list of nodes.
contains the nodes you have selected as a list of tuples of nodes.
contains the nodes you have selected as a list of tuples of nodes, decorated with location information and text content.

Now, if you want to share your results for checking and replication, put all this in a research repository or in a GitHub/GitLab repository, which you can then archive to ZENODO to obtain a DOI.

Unicode in Excel CSVs

The file resultsx.tsv is not in the usual utf8 encoding, but in utf_16 encoding. The reason is that this is the only encoding in which Excel handles CSV files properly.

So if you work with this file in Python, specify the encoding utf_16.

with open('resultsx.tsv', encoding='utf_16') as fh:
  for row in fh:
  # do something with row

Conversely, if you want to write a CSV with Hebrew in it, to be opened in Excel, take care to:

  • give the file name extension .tsv (not .csv)
  • make the file tab separated (do not use the comma or semicolon!)
  • use the encoding utf_16_le (not merely utf_16, nor utf8!)
  • start the file with a BOM mark.
    with open('mydata.tsv', 'w', encoding='utf_16_le') as fh:
      for row in myData:

Gory details

The file has been written with the utf_16_le encoding, and the first character is the unicode FEFF character. That is needed for machines so that they can see which byte in a 16 bits word is the least end (le) and which one is the big end (be). Knowing that the first character is FEFF, all machines can see whether this is in a least-endian (le) encoding or in a big-endian (be). Hence this character is called the Byte Order Mark (BOM).

See more on wikipedia.

When reading a file with encoding utf_16, Python reads the BOM, draws its conclusions, and strips the BOM. So when you iterate over its lines, you will not see the BOM, which is good.

But when you read a file with encoding utf_16_le, Python passes the BOM through, and you have to skip it yourself. That is unpleasant.

Hence, use utf_16 for reading.

Expand source code Browse git
.. include:: ../docs/about/