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bin+lib mafa

Mafa is an in-terminal web browser companion

10 releases

0.3.1 Aug 2, 2023
0.3.0 Jul 30, 2023
0.2.3 Jul 24, 2023
0.1.0 Jul 20, 2023

#587 in Web programming

Download history 2/week @ 2024-03-09 26/week @ 2024-03-30 11/week @ 2024-04-06

65 downloads per month



Table of Contents


(captured by peek)

Twitter Timeline

Google Translate

Cambridge Dictionary



Mafa does not work alone, below are programs that it depends on:

  1. Firefox
    • version: 91 or later
    • edition: ESR or Latest.

Option 1: Cargo install

If you have Cargo installed already, then you can

cargo install mafa

# check installed version
mafa --version

Option 2: Prebuilt binaries

Check releases.

Option 3: Build from source



Mafa is an in-terminal web browser companion. It resides in terminal, help perple browse websites' content readily and efficiently. Mafa accomplishs its tasks by Mafa Components.

Mafa develops for the ones who want to benefit from Web's openness as much as possible.

However, Mafa is NOT suitable for the following tasks:

  • Browse websites without a web browser. (Mafa needs Firefox)

  • Capture every detail of a website. (Open your favorite web browser directly)

  • Crawl a whole website and extract all its data. (A dedicated web crawler does a better job)

How Mafa works

Mafa leverages WebDriver to achieve its goals. More specifically, Mozilla's GeckoDriver is in use. With WebDriver, Mafa can act like a human, browsing websites naturally for its user.

Why Mafa

Mafa is Usable & Convenient

Unlike other counterparts, Mafa strives to balance usability and convenience: Mafa will try its best to finish the task on its own or instruct users to open web browser directly if it cannot perfectly handle the situation(such as in cases where the website is equipped with CAPTCHA or requires user login). What Mafa tries to be is a browser companion, not a replacement.

Mafa is Neutral

The underlying WebDriver backs by a nearly full-functional web browser. Overall, Mafa default not to subjectively strip any feature a website user or provider can take advantage of, just like on a normal full-functional web browser.

Therefore there is no reason for providers to particularly prevent Mafa from accessing their websites, which likely leads to a negative result for both sides.

It is noteworthy that Mafa does not wipe out the user identity by default, as a regular web browser does. It is essential for website providers because while many websites abuse user privacy, there are always ones collecting it for a good reason, such as Ecosia.

Mafa is Stable & Long-lasting

One of Mafa's goals is to handle websites stably for a relatively long period. Modern web pages are famous for their dynamic characteristic. However, Mafa can handle those dynamic and unpredictable web pages as effortlessly as the static ones.


Although Mafa is initially developed for (M)aking (A)PI (F)ree (A)gain, it is not realistic. Instead of freeing APIs, Mafa frees the text-form data behind the APIs. Here "free" is the same word defined in What is Free Software?, i.e., as in "free speech", not as in "free beer".

Some websites provide their data publicly but do not publish corresponding APIs to access it, while others offer their data publicly in their carefully designed websites and APIs but with even more carefully designed pricing. Those websites are blocking users from accessing their public data by either not providing APIs or providing ones with non-trivial barriers, examples of disrespecting users' freedom.

Mafa is the one who commits to protexting web users' freedom. It tries its best to achieve the initial goal: as long as the data is publicly accessible to all users without discrimination, the APIs to access it should be as well.

Mafa Components

Mafa Components are child programs that rely on WebDriver to do their job. Each module has a fixed, predefined website url and has a specific task for that site. With components, users can browse websites without interacting with web browsers directly.

Note that Mafa supports wbsites selectively rather than arbitrarily, the selected ones are:

  • TWTL: Query Twitter users' timeline.

  • GTRANS: Query translation from Google Translate.

  • CAMD: Query word definition from Cambridge Dictionary.

  • IMODE: Interactive mode.

More and more

Mafa is open in its heart! If your favorite websites are not listed here, you can submit a features request or write a component for your favorite website, as long as that site meets the following requirements:

  1. Not shut down in the foreseeable future.
  2. The valuable data is in text form.
  3. The functionality of public-offered APIs is limited.


Mafa is still in early development, any contribution is welcomed!


Mafa is proudly licensed under GPLv3.

See LICENSE-GPL for details.


~676K SLoC