Introducing Full-page Screenshots

Jonathan Lin · Thu, Jul 11 2019 in Updates

Since we launched PageDash, PageDash only took visible top-of-the-page screenshots of websites and placed it in the “Screenshot” tab within the page viewer.

A few weeks, ago, one of our users Tez from Japan wrote in requesting for a full-page screenshot feature.

We did some research and saw that Full Page Screen Capture Chrome extension did the job pretty well without needing to send the page to the server for headless Chrome screen capture. Fortunately for us, an earlier version of it was open source and MIT-licensed (free for commercial adaptation).

The open source version didn’t do everything we wanted though, particular the hiding of parts of the page that always remained visible regardless of where you scroll on the page (you probably don’t want your top header to appear throughout the screenshot). We managed to solve that bit (and even performed better than Full Page Screen Capture in some cases), but there are many pages out there and we’ll see how well our algorithm performs soon in the real-world.

After 2 days of pouring over the code and porting over the bits important to PageDash, we are proud to announce that PageDash is now takes full-page screenshots of every page saved (Extension Version onwards). This feature is on by default, and there is currently no way to turn it off (why would you want to?). The only downside is that saving pages takes a wee bit longer, and a bit more storage space is needed…

I believe that this feature is important because the saving HTML and its resources often falls short of capturing the page exactly as you saw it, and the code supporting that is not the easiest for me to debug given the thousands of corner cases in the web. With full-page screenshots, we now have an extremely reliable fallback of how the page looked like exactly when you first saw it.


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