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Wikitravel:Offline reader Expedition

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Revision as of 09:51, 20 November 2011 by 131.246.227.142 (Talk)

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The Offline Reader Expedition is a Wikitravel Expedition to make it possible to download and use Wikitravel articles off-line (while not connected to the Internet.)

Solutions so far

  • The free Android app My Tourist Guide lets you easily download pages from Wikitravel and also has a "text to speach" feature.
  • The open-source OxygenGuide offline reader works on Androids, Kindles, laptops, and other devices.
  • The iPhone/iPod Touch apps Offline Wikitravel ($7.99) and MapsWithMe (free) provide complete snapshots of Wikitravel, the latter also includes offline maps.
  • The (free) Android/iOS app iTravelFree lets you download any number of Wikitravel pages to your device for later offline access. It also provides the ability to download an OpenStreetMap map, and supports offline Wikitravel editing, among other features. The paid version lets you download a complete offline snapshot of Wikitravel and up to five OpenStreetMaps to your device.
  • Triposo [1], free Android/iOS app allows to download guides for offline use. Guides are machine-generated compilations from Wikitravel, World66, Wikipedia, Open Street Maps, TouristEye, Dmoz, Chefmoz and photos from Flickr.
  • A plucker (.pdb) continent-by-continent offline eBook download is available at: tripsteps.com/ebook

Rationale

Wikitravel has two main target media: online use over the World Wide Web, and offline use in hardcopy (paper) form. It's possible, however, to have electronic files that you can read on a computer or a PDA even when you aren't connected to the Internet (shocking!). This could be very useful for some travellers (although there are plenty of us who can't or don't want to use a portable computer or PDA). Being able to navigate through a number of articles with a hand-held device could make it a lot easier to get around.

Needed

Database dump containing content from all pages.

See also http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Data_dumps

Since there are no database dumps available yet you might try to use httrack to download all pages.

An unofficial dump (Mar 2010, 39MB) in raw XML format, as output by MediaWiki, can be used with several of the products listed below.

There is also a dump available on the website www.allebone.org, as well as the source code used to retrieve the dumps.

Goals

  • To define one or more target formats for off-line reading
  • To define the desired user interface for obtaining and using Wikitravel articles

Target formats

There are a few main off-line readers for PDAs. Most define their own file format, although some can read plain text files and HTML files.

  • Palm Doc No particular reader. These are native plain-text files for Palm devices -- no images or hyperlinks.
  • AvantGo http://www.avantgo.com/ Proprietary software. Does images and hyperlinks, widely supported by Web content providers.
  • TomeRaider http://www.tomeraider.com/ Shareware program. There's already been some work to make Wikipedia available in TomeRaider format, but it's the entire database and adds up to close to one gigabyte of data. WikiTravel will be a much smaller database, though. There are 2 different versions of the Wikipedia database available - with images and without.
  • Plucker http://www.plkr.org/ Free Software. This has some nice features, including better support of images. It also has software included for generating new Plucker pages, which might be useful for Wikitravel.
  • HWiki http://www.hexlet.com/Products/hwiki.html Proprietary Software. This is PalmOS version of Wiki browser/editor. It understands TWiki flavor of Wiki syntax.
  • DICT http://www.dict.org/links.html together with Wik2dict. Several free (as in speech) servers and clients available. Plain text, no images, though includes links.
  • Encyclopodia http://encyclopodia.sourceforge.net/en/ Free software. Encyclopodia is a Linux-based package which runs on 1st through 4th generation Apple iPods. Its source-tree includes a tool to convert Mediawiki dumps offline for easy parsing on the iPod.
  • Raw XML As outputted by MediaWiki. Can be converted to a number of formats, imported to a local MediaWiki install, or used directly (as done by Wikifilter. http://wikifilter.sourceforge.net/)
  • Wiki2Touch http://code.google.com/p/wiki2touch/ Free application for Jailbroken iPod touches and iPhones. Takes an xml.bz2 dump of wiki databases and turns it into it own format not much larger than the original file. Works exceptionally well.
  • WikiTaxi is an offline reader, viewer, and browser for MediaWiki wikis. WikiTaxi works extremely well on huge Wikipedias (English, German, Japanese, etc) *.xml.bz database dumps. Multi-language support makes sure it works with WikiTravel also. For Windows. Freeware.

Of these, Plucker seems like the nicest one. It's being actively worked on, and it is Free Software, and that means that you can use it without charge, that you can give it away to others, and that you can even modify the program (or pay others to do it for you) to customize it or add the features you want. [Plucker hasn't been updated in over four years; Last update was in 2007]

Raw XML dumps of the database would likely be the technically simplest option for Wikitravel to release its data. These dumps are large, highly-compressible, single files which are, among other things suitable for distribution via BitTorrent. Interested parties could convert these to their desired format for use or redistribution.

User interface

There are several levels of UI we can provide.

  • Download a single article. The user would be able to download a single article in Plucker format. The link for Plucker download would be next to the "Printable version" link.
  • Download a group of articles. Most travellers won't be going to just one place. It'd be nice if they could add articles to a "shopping cart" of some kind, and then download all the articles in their "cart" at once.
  • Update articles offline. Of course, the dream scenario is that Wikitravellers could download articles to their local computer or PDA, edit the articles on the road, and then upload the edited versions when they get back to an Internet connection. This is probably a little pie-in-the-sky, but it sure would make sure we had up-to-date info.

Variants

Actions

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