Digital sign - reloading web page without simulated input?

Hello again.

So, the Gnome Web / Epiphany browser based digital signage project is going well. Pages are displayed and everything is humming along save one thing.

There is a need to refresh the web page every five minutes (mitigating any issues with the network etc that have the browser displaying the “cannot reach that page” page instead of the website it is supposed to serve up).

What I’ve looked at so far that doesn’t work

In ye-olde days xdotool/X11 would get this done in a jiffy, but it isn’t quite as simple with Wayland. So I’ve tried to emulate keyboard input (F5) using:

  • ydotool – requires access to the uinput interface which is not an option for just refreshing a web page.

  • wtype and libei – Neither is yet implemented in GNOME, and are not high on the priority list.

  • Ubuntu-frame OSK is locked down specially to avoid the use of invisible keyboards for security reasons (which absolutely is a good idea but sadly does not help me here).

The browser has support for WebDriver. Except it leaves a giant “Web is being controlled by automation” banner at the top of the window with no apparent way to get rid of it. Also the window decoration is now bright orange.

Just re-starting the browser/display daemon results in flickering/the screen going dark every five minutes, which is very distracting to anyone in the room for more than 10 minutes, and looks very makeshift.

Editing the web page being displayed is also not an option, so cannot add a java script reload script.

At this point I am stuck, but it is a required feature that I would like to include in the final release snap. Has anyone got any ideas about possible solutions?

It looks like Epiphany 43 will support web extensions. This is probably a good use case for a trivial extension.

1 Like

That is brilliant! Thanks for sharing. Perfect use case, and going to make the current work around obsolete.