Convert a Webpage to Plain Text

This function takes a URL and returns a plain-text version of the page. It uses cURL to retrieve the page and a combination of regular expressions to strip all unwanted whitespace. This function will even strip the text from STYLE and SCRIPT tags, which are ignored by PHP functions such as strip_tags (they strip only the tags, leaving the text in the middle intact).

Regular expressions were split in 2 stages, to avoid deleting single carriage returns (also matched by s) but still delete all blank lines and multiple linefeeds or spaces, trimming operations took place in 2 stages.

function webpage2txt($url)
$user_agent = «Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)»;
$ch = curl_init(); // initialize curl handle
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, $url); // set url to post to
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FAILONERROR, 1); // Fail on errors
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION, 1); // allow redirects
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,1); // return into a variable
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_PORT, 80); //Set the port number
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_TIMEOUT, 15); // times out after 15s
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_USERAGENT, $user_agent);
$document = curl_exec($ch);
$search = array(‘@<script[^>]*?>.*?</script>@si’, // Strip out javascript
‘@<style[^>]*?>.*?</style>@siU’, // Strip style tags properly
‘@<[/!]*?[^<>]*?>@si’, // Strip out HTML tags
‘@<![sS]*?–[ tnr]*>@’, // Strip multi-line comments including CDATA
$text = preg_replace($search, «n», html_entity_decode($document));
$pat[0] = «/^s+/»;
$pat[2] = «/s+$/»;
$rep[0] = «»;
$rep[2] = » «;
$text = preg_replace($pat, $rep, trim($text));
return $text;

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