The ability to copy text from a web page is one of the most requested features by users on the Opera Mini Forum. It’s such a basic and useful function that’s available in all desktop browsers, yet hardly any mobile browsers support it. A clever coder who goes by the handle “Cousinisaac” has found a way make web text copying possible not only in Opera mini but with several other mobile browsers too.
Cousinisaac created a simple web form at mobitol.com that makes it all possible. You enter a URL and Mobitol retrieves the target’s text and displays it in an editable textarea. If your phone and browser support copying text from edit boxes you should be able to copy it from Mobitol. Mobitol also lets you view and copy the html source of the target page if you want.
So what phones does it work with? So far I’ve found that it works great with Webkit and Opera Mini on S60 phones and also with Blackberries using the Blackberry Browser or Opera Mini although retrieving large pages in Opera Mini on the Blackberry makes scrolling very slow. It also works with the Skyfire and Bolt browsers on S60, but only with small pages like mobile sites. When I used a larger page (the WapReview homepage), Bolt truncated the text after the first 50 lines or so. Skyfire loaded the full text but wouldn’t allow me to copy or edit it. Mobitol might also work with other phones that support copying from text fields including Windows Mobile, Palm OS and most Sony Ericsson feature phones. If you get it working on one of those platforms or anywhere else please share the knowledge by leaving a comment.
Mobitol is a great hack. One thing that would make it even better would be you could use a bookmarklet to pass the URL. That’s not currently possible because the Mobitol form uses POST. I’ve emailed Cousinisaac and asked him if he could possibly modify it to except GET parameters which would make a bookmarklet possible.
Ratings: Content: Usability:
Ready.mobi Score: 2 “Bad”
Mobile Link: mobitol.com
Updated Opera Mini Bookmarklets Page