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A top-like program for monitoring stories on hacker news.

Project description

This is the Hacker Top program. It’s a top-like program for monitoring stories on hacker news ( from the console.

It was written by Peteris Krumins ( His blog is at – good coders code, great reuse.

The code is licensed under the GNU GPL license.

The code was written as a part of the article “Follow Hacker News from the Console” on my website. The whole article can be read at:

I explained some parts of the code in this program in another article “How Reddit Top and Hacker Top Programs Were Made”. It can be read here:

Table of contents:

[1] The Hacker Top program. [2] Program’s usage. [3] Keyboard shortcuts. [4] Future TODO improvements.


This program monitors the Hacker News website ( ) for hacker stories and displays them in the console via ncurses.

The program is written in Python programming language and is supposed to be run on Unix type operating systems, such as Linux.

It uses one external Python module - BeautifulSoup - for parsing HTML. BeautifulSoup can be downloaded from or via easy_install beautifulsoup

See my original article for a screenshot:


Usage: ./ [-h|–help] - displays help message

Usage: ./ [-i|–interval interval]

[-u|–utf8 <on|off>] [-n|–new]

-i or –interval specifies refresh interval. The default refresh interval is 3 minutes. Here are a few examples: 10s (10 seconds), 12m (12 minutes), 2h (2 hours).

-u or –utf8 turns on utf8 output mode. Default: off. Use this if you know for sure that your terminal supports it, otherwise your terminal might turn into garbage.

-n or –new follows only the newest hacker stories. Default: follow front page stories.


q - quits the program. u - forces an update of the stories. m - changes the display mode. up/down arrows (or j/k) - scrolls the news list up or down.

Beta shortcuts: o - open the topmost URL in the default webbrowser t - open the topmost URL in a new tab in the default webbrowser c - open the topmost URL’s comments in the default webbrowser


  • Fix it to work on Windows. (Perhaps try the Console module)

  • Merge it with “Reddit Top” program (see below) and create “Social Top” program. Then write plugins for Digg, and other websites.

    Reddit Top is here (currently broken, will fix on Sunday 2009.11.29):

  • Add ability to login and vote for the favorite stories.

Have fun using it!

Sincerely, Peteris Krumins

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