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Retro CRT Startpage

by George Merlocco / scar45 @

This repository contains an HTML5-based layout for creating (or using) a personalized startpage with a retro CRT feel.

Interactive example @



  • Links are read in from a JSON file that's easy to update (see links.dist.json for an example)
  • Tag filters
  • Weather support with browser location using jQuery Simple Weather
  • Google search form (can be changed to other search providers if you wish)
  • 3 customizable design features toggled via the metal plate in the top-right area:
    • Power On/Off with CRT effects
    • Animated Scanlines/Flicker effect (Note: Can be CPU-intensive! Consider disabling if your system is stressed)
    • Colour choice between Amber and Green
  • Each of the settings above are saved as cookies, so the site will remember the state of what you've enabled/disabled
  • Variations of the ASCII header in styleguide.html, or generate your own, and paste into the <pre class="title"> tag in index.html
  • WARNING: The animated scanlines/flicker can be quite demanding on your CPU

Editing links.json

Before working with this file, you'll need to rename the example links.dist.json to links.json. You can simply start editing the file with a text editor, and modify each link to your liking. Here's an example:

      "name": "Syncthing",
      "url": "",
      "icon": "icon-syncthing.png",
      "invert": false,
      "tags": [

Most are straight forward, however note that the icon should be a file in images/, as this path gets prepended automatically. invert, if true, will invert the colours of the icon image in the event that it is hard to see otherwise.

NOTE: As with any JSON, the last node should not contain any commas (,) -- This includes the main link, and tags arrays. Verify this first if you aren't seeing any links.

Running this startpage

Traditional web server

  • Apache, nginx, IIS, etc.
  • Download the latest release
  • Extract the .zip and rename links.dist.json to links.json
  • Edit links.json to contain the links you desire
  • Upload entire local directory to your hosted directory

Included Node.js http-server

  • Requires Node.js to be installed
  • Clone the repository, or download the latest archive, and rename links.dist.json to links.json
  • Edit links.json to contain the links you desire
  • Run:
    • npm install
    • npm start
  • Then browse to
  • If you wish, you can modify the scripts: {start} node in package.json to pass extra parameters to http-server which allows you to run on a different port, use SSL, etc.
  • Press CTRL+C to stop the server


If you just wish to use this startpage as your own, then you do not need to read this section. However, if you wish to modify the source (pull requests are encouraged!) then below is a brief outline of how this project has been put together.


Live Coding

Install dependencies:

npm install

...then rename links.dist.json to links.json, and customize it to your heart's content.

Start a first build, then spawn webserver for live coding (browser-sync):


This will dump compiled/processed files in a ./build directory, which will then be served by browser-sync, with files being watched for changes. When changes occur, browser-sync will automagically refresh the browser.

Browsersync is used for live coding (browser-sync) which vastly accelerates development time.


Run gulp with a parameter of release to clean the ./build directory, recompile all sources fresh, exclude unneeded files, and write a .zip file to dist/:

gulp release

...and that's about it! I hope you enjoy this little nostalgic throwback to the terminals of old.





HTML5-based layout for a personalized retro CRT startpage.








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