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Web Word Count

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Web Word Count: Get the word count for a list of webpages on a website.

A colleague asked what the easiest way was to get the word count for a list of pages on a website (for estimation purposes for a translation project).

This is what I came up with:

# add up wordcounts for website

total=0 # initialize variable for total

# scan through a list of pages
# strip the html elements and count the words
# append the count to wordcount.txt

for i in $(cat pagelist.txt); do
     curl -s  $i |  sed -ne '{s/]*>//g;s/^[ \t]*//;p}' | wc -w >> wordcount.txt

# this is for purely aesthetic purposes, 
# but we're merging the list of pages with the wordcount file:
paste pagelist.txt wordcount.txt > pagewordcount.list

# for each number in the wordcount.txt file, add it to the previous number (get a total)
for t in $(cat wordcount.txt); do 
	total=$((total + $t))

# append the total to the end of the merged pagelist+wordcount file:
echo "Total word count = $total" >> pagewordcount.list

# read back the file:
cat pagewordcount.list

# ciao

I ssh-ed to my server and did
ls -1 *.html > pagelist.txt
which lallowed me to feed the script this list.

So, then I ran the script on this list of the pages, and this is the output: 535 342 295 337 662 244
Total word count = 2415

So, it works. Someone with better bash fu could likely find a shorter path to this result.

Now, this is simple, of course, for a simple website, like
On the other hand, if you have some huge wordpress installation, like this blog, and have tonso public php pages, rather than html, and eve more php files in the backend, you have to do a bit of sorting, I imagine.

Were I to attempt that with the baldwinsoftware wiki, I would probably just go to the Sitemap and grab that list of pages, using their URLs, of course.


Written by tonybaldwin

September 21, 2011 at 5:25 am

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