Download Video (URL Helper)

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This provides two functions for video downloading:

1. an URL helper so you can choose to open any http/https URL with the Video Downloader

2. a little App which allows you to paste such an URL from the Clipboard and trigger the Downloader from there. This is similar in purpose to Vodman, which is a  mature app with more/different features. You might want to check that one out too.

After installing you have to enable and configure it in the Settings app.

This little thing will:

  • install the Clipboard Downloader in the App drawer
  • create a System Settings page to enable/disable
  • when enabled, cause apps trying to open a link to offer a "Download Video" option
  • use youtube-dl to download the video to `~/Videos/youtube-dl` (subfolder configurable)
  • once finished, will open the video with the default app for that media type (configurable)
  • it will only work on URLs supported by youtube-dl, not just any ole website url

NOTE: if enabled, this will call youtube-dl with the -exec xdg-open file parameter. There may be a security risk involved, if a Bad Person crafts the URL in a way that the resulting file can do Bad Things on your system.

Download responsibly.


Wed Feb 24 2021 youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.4.0-1
adapt script from bash to pure POSIX because of SFOS 4.0 and busybox
fix transparency on cover (thanks fridl μ!)
split out the helper apps from ytdl build
fix shell detection

Sat 09 Jan 2021:  youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.3.4-4
clipboard helper: add busy indicator
add support for @slava 's MyBackup app in .desktop files

Fri 01 Jan 2021:  youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.3.3-3
update Chinese translations by dashinfantry

Sun 27 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.3.3-2
update Chinese translations by dashinfantry

Sat Dec 19 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.3.3
add option to clear settings
fix invoker type in .desktop file
fix netrc setting, value was not stored.
some translation updates

Sat 19 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.3.2
yt-dl-settings: add settings option to use ~/.netrc authentication if the file exists
clip-helper: enable audio extraction option
yt-dl-script: place audio files in ~/Music

Fri 11 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.3.1
use ~/.netrc authentication if the file exists

Thu 10 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.3.0
youtube-dl: install bash completion
new application: Video Downloader cwclipboard utility
add our very own URI scheme to the old .desktop file (ytdl:)
various fixes and unnecessary updates all over

Tue 08 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-clipboard-1.0
new feature: clipboard downloader

Tue 08 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.2.5
add our very own URI scheme ;)

Sat 05 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.2.4
update Chinese translations by dashinfantry

Fri 04 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.2.3
Add more configuration options
Improve helper script with better defaults
Add validator to path input

Fri 04 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.2.2
fix pathmaking

Fri 04 Dec 2020: youtube-dl-open-helper-5432.2.1
give the helper its own version/package name
make the version weird to facilitate updates

Fri 04 Dec 2020: 2020.12.02-2.1nep
restore multilanguage in helper script
update translations
add open switch
add setting the output path

Thu 03 Dec 2020: 2020.12.02-2.0nep
improve calls to youtube-dl: simulate first, error early
Introduce Multilanguage support for the download helper
add Chinese translation by dashinfantry
add German translation by yours truly

Mon 30 Nov 2020: 2020.11.29-1.4nep
hopefully improve the helper

Sat 28 Nov 2020: 2020.11.26-1.5nep
Introduce Multilanguage support for the download helper
add Chinese translation by dashinfantry

Fri 27 Nov 2020: 2020.11.26-1.4nep
little changes all over the URL helper. Mainly improve language and notifications

Fri 27 Nov 2020: 2020.11.26-1.3nep
add download-helper
add download-helper-installer
add experimental settings page
add oneshot service to manage the desktop file


Historyscholar's picture

How to translate it to other languages?

nephros's picture

I honestly don't know.

Well, the QML part certainly can be translated, using the qsTr() strings.

The other part, notification messages sent via script are also possible, I'd have to react to the LANG environment or another setting.

I will incorporate any patches/merge requests on the repo mentioned above if anyone is interested in doing the work.

Please look at these files:

  • files/youtube-dl-open-helper.i18n
  • files/youtube-dl-open-url.desktop
  • files/youtube-dl-open-clipboard.desktop
  • qml/youtube-dl-settings-*.ts
  •  qml/youtube-dl-open-clipboard-*.ts
ichthyosaurus's picture

This looks really nice, thank you! Do you have a repo for it?

nephros's picture

Thanks! :) It's useful.

At the moment I manage it together with the youtube-dl package at:

Relevant files live in the files/ and qml/ directories.


It's quite the Rube Goldberg contraption, what with adding a settings page, then using dbus to call a systemd service which launches a script which places (or removes) a .desktop file. Terrible, but there are reasons. Mainly that I don't code, and I have not found a reliable way to make it work otherwise.