Screen Capture Your Whole Website

by Jess Brown

One of my clients recently needed to copyright their website. After speaking with their lawyers, I learned they needed all the source code, images, a list of technologies we didn't create (gems, frameworks, etc) and a screen shot of every page on the site.

The first requirements were easily obtained. I downloaded the github repo for the source code and images. I took the Gemfile and bower.json file and created a list of technologies that we didn't create. But, the screen capture thing was a bit of a quandary. The site has over 500 pages and capturing a full page screen shot(scroll and all) is a tedious task.

Then I remembered reading about a gem called capybara-screenshot and started tinkering with a short little program to take a screen shot of all the pages on the site. This is what I came up with:

require 'pry'
require 'capybara'
require 'capybara/dsl'
require 'capybara-screenshot'

Capybara.default_driver = :selenium
Capybara.app_host = ''
Capybara.save_and_open_page_path = "screenshots"

class Screenshot
  include Capybara::DSL

  def initialize(urls)
    @urls = urls

  def crawl_and_snap
    @urls.each do |url|
      snap url

  def snap(path)
    visit path

  def image_name(path)
    path.gsub("/", "-")

It wasn't that difficult, but I hit several small snags along the way...

Getting Capybara to work outside of rails or rack

I love Capybara and use it in almost every rails app I work on. However, I've never used it outside of rails. At first I just tried to setup a regular _spec file and run it, but I guess because the file wasn't located in features it wasn't expecting to use Capybara. So I found that you can simply use the Capybara::DSL module and get all of the methods we want (visit, find, etc).

Taking the screen shot

Capybara::Screenshot is a simple little tool to use. Normally you'd just call screenshot_and_save_page which I did at first, but it gives you a file name like Screenshot-2014-07-28.png. I wanted the filenames to be equivalent to the web uri (ie /about should be saved as about.png). I didn't see a way to pass a filename to the screenshot_and_save_page method, so after digging in the source, I saw that that method just calls and then calls save on that. It took 4 arguments. The first two were related to the capybara visit. The third was whether to also save an html file and the fourth the filename. Notice there's also a config you can set for the default directory to save the images.

Web Driver

I wanted to use something other than Selenium so Firefox wasn't running, but I tried webkit and PhantomJS and both worked, but had several issues like missing images and default width of the page (caused my responsive site to hit a breakpoint). And the resulting image with the Selenium driver was super crisp.

Urls to Capture

I didn't really have a problem getting all of the urls we needed to crawl. I use the great sitemap_generator gem to create an xml sitemap for the site, so it was easy to get an output of all the urls for the site.

A couple of other ideas if you don't have a list of all the urls:

1) Use a crawler like wombat or anemone to crawl your site, get a path and then use the Screenshot class to snap it.

2) If you're satisified that google has all of your pages indexed, then you could use the google-search gem to fetch all of the pages in their index, get the urls and pass them to Screenshot. Example:

search = do |search|
    search.query = ""
    search.size = :large
urls =


I blocked out my clients name and downsized it, but you can see how it does a nice job of capturing the whole page.

I was thinking about creating a small gem out of it. What do you think, would it be useful?

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