About a decade ago, downloading entire websites on your computer still made sense. Now, this seems a bit strange to me, but since there are still a few solid players on this market, bumping into Website Extractor was a really pleasant surprise, so why not start this week with a software blast from the not-so-distant past?
Released back in December, Website Extractor 10.52 is priced at $29.95, but the trial version is, of course, freely available for download and use. Its limitations are only two: a 30-days limit and a 5,000 files per session limit, both really reasonable, if you ask me. Since there’s no decent offline or online documentation for this program, I can only suppose it works with all popular Windows versions – in my case, it’s Windows XP SP3 Professional and I think this should be no secret, so I tell you about it right now: Website Extractor 10.52 works like a charm!
The setup package of the program has 1.1 MB in size and installing it was, just as I expected, really easy. To properly setup this program, you need about 4 MB of free disk space and nothing more. Oh, yeah, Internet Explorer – but I am sure that’s not a problem, since all Windows computers have it installed, anyway… so let’s move to the more interesting stuff, shall we? After all, there’s no toolbar or spyware to be afraid of, so the road is open for the looks and the works!
At first sight, Website Extractor looks good. In fact, it seems to look very good, but as you look closer, you get to notice a lot of problems. For example, look what happens in the upper right-hand corner when you resize the window to make it smaller. Even more, the Help system doesn’t work as it should, the only language available is English, despite the fact there’s a Language option in the Tools menu. Oh, yeah, one more thing – the window that appears when you browse to select the destination folder for a project looks so Windows 95ish, it gives me shivers down the spine!
All in all, I’ve seen much worse and, if we think about it a little, offline browsers are more about getting the job done than looking good, so what I said in the previous paragraph shouldn’t stop you from taking Website Extractor for a spin. Who know, this may really be a software blast from the past, after all…
Until I get to tell you about what can be done with this program and touch a few details, I have to tell you what have I done with it earlier today. Obviously, I downloaded a website. To be sure I don’t pick one that will make me download the entire Internet, I chose the official page of the now gone (but never forgotten) band Sentenced. To give this program a really quick try, there’s no need to mess with its settings or read the documentation – all you have to do is enter the URLs to use in the Website Locations panel and press the Download button – it’s just as easy as that!
Before moving on, let me tell you about the documentation – when you press the Help button in the About menu, you end up with an error. If you browse to the folder of the program, you’ll find the “missing” file there, so I guess this is a broken link or something. Pretty messed up, if you ask me, especially since we’re talking about a program that doesn’t come for free…
… and even when you find the documentation, don’t expect too much. Well, at least the offline documentation works after you find it. The online documentation, on the other hand, does… nothing!
While Website Extractor may seem complicated at first sight, it’s not like that. Sure, they could make the interface more user friendly, but that’s a completely different matter. If you want me to tell you a few more things about the features of this program, then I think it’s enough to let you know that Website Extractor 10.52 is capable of multiple connections to a page (the value is customizable but, in most cases, it will depend on the limits set on the server where the site you’re downloading is hosted), allows you to browse sites offline, has a bunch of pretty powerful and easy to use content filters, even the ability to import URL lists and schedule downloads, in case you really want to download the whole Internet on your computer!
Other than the above, I think it’s enough to step in and take Website Extractor for a spin. I already finished doing my part, but there are still a few things waiting to be written, so let’s move to the final parts of this review, shall we?
Tips & Tricks
1. Before deciding to download a website, ensure you have plenty of space available on the destination partition. You never know how large it may get…
2. As I was saying earlier, the number of simultaneous connections may be limited by the server you’re downloading from. Considering this, I think you could set that “number of connections” value as high as possible to get the best speed possible out of this program.
3. Sometimes, entirely downloading a certain site may not be possible, but you could try to download some of the files you need, at least – don’t hesitate to use the filters!
Website Extractor 10.52 is pretty easy to use, works as it should and offers a lot of features to those still in need of such a program, not to mention that excellent idea of writing the name of the program in a slightly different way encountered in he View & Tools tab!
Unfortunately, this program also has a bunch of serious problems, like the interface issues I mentioned earlier, its price vs features ratio and, worst of all, some of its competitors’ price/features ratios – not giving names now. Speaking about features that I’d like to see added, I think basic/advanced interface modes would be a great start.
To most users, Website Extractor 10.52 is not worth its price, that’s a fact. On the other hand, trying it can really help you get the job done, so why not take it for a spin? After all, you can become an affiliate, sell the product to other people, earn some money and hope this piece of code will become worthy of your money, too, one day, some day…