[reader] Wikireader received

Doug Jones dj6mf at frombob.to
Tue Oct 20 01:41:18 CEST 2009

Sean Moss-Pultz wrote:
> Hi Doug
> On Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 11:41 AM, Doug Jones <dj6mf at frombob.to> wrote:
>> I ordered it a few hours after Sean's announcement.
>> It arrived a few minutes ago.
>> It works.
> Awesome! Please share your thoughts after you used it for a bit. I do
> hope you like it as much as we do!
>> However, I was disappointed that it contained no entry for "Wikireader".
> Hopefully you can help add to the existing one. Then it will be in our
> next update :-)
>   -Sean

Okay, you asked for it...

Just in the first ten minutes I thought of lots of things to improve or 
add, like support for equations and SVG files (I think we all know why 
we won't be seeing any other image formats!), and some hardware changes 
that obviously are very far in the future, but there is one thing that 
would be relatively simple to add and potentially quite useful:  support 
for multiple wikis.

Suppose I want to carry around the contents of a wiki that isn't part of 
Wikipedia.  As long as the wiki runs on the same software as Wikipedia, 
or something sufficiently similar, I can use the current tools to suck 
down an XML dump and compress it into a collection of files that can be 
copied to the SD card.

To avoid filename conflicts, I select a filename prefix other than 
"pedia" (presumably this would require only a small modification to the 
tools).  For example, if I select the prefix "mywiki", the tools would 
generate the files mywiki0.dat through mywiki26.dat, mywiki.fnd, 
mywiki.hsh, mywiki.idx, mywiki.pfx, and mywiki.hst  (why is PEDIA.HST in 
caps???).  (Here I am assuming all of the wikipedia content is in the 
pedia* files, maybe that is wrong)

I copy all of those new files onto the SD card.  Now the device must be 
convinced to use them.

We put a new file called something like wikis.cnf on the card, 
containing something like this:



[my other content]
title=My Stuff

Next we modify the reader app to look for this file.  If that file is 
missing, the default behavior occurs, and the device works like it does 
now.  If the file is found, its contents are used to populate a menu 
allowing the user to select between "Wikipedia" and "My Stuff" (or 
whatever other wikis the user has installed).  The app then uses the 
appropriate prefix to find the files for the wiki the user has chosen.

That's all we need!  (Obviously we could devise other ways of setting up 
the top level interface, but this method would probably be simplest to 
implement and would be a good starting point for building more elaborate 
ways of navigating, if anybody really needs anything more.)

This single change would approximately double the (already considerable) 
usefulness of the Wikireader to me.

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