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Anyone tried to view TWiki on a PDA? Here's what I've done...

Also see ReadWriteOfflineWiki, ReadOnlyOfflineWiki, OfflineWiki.

I happen to use a Handspring Visor PDA for most everything I want to carry with me. I don't have wireless access, rather the content gets downloaded for later viewing.

I use AvantGo, a free service that allows you to subscribe to "channels" that have web-like content (such as Yahoo news and weather, CNN, and over a 1000 others). When you syncronize your PDA to your internet enabled desktop computer, a program downloads all of your subscribed channels to your PDA. The PDA contains a basic browser that allows you to view the content offline. Note that AvantGo, the server needs to be accessible from the Internet (i.e. not behind a firewall). For behind-the-firewall service, you have to get an enterprise solution--that's probably how they make some money...

With the AvantGo service, you can specify your own web sites to download, setting parameters like Link depth to follow, follow off-site links, maximum size, etc. I have tried this with a small personal TWiki installation.

Wiki content, in general, is highly suited for today's PDA's. The Wiki's content is mostly textual and uses basic HTML, allowing for a good user experience.

On very important aspect is that AvantGo follows every link (such as the edit, ref-by, revisions, etc). You definitely do not want that to happen -- way too much content! Knowing this up-front, I copied my TWiki content to a new Web and called it PDA. For this web, I created a very simple skin. The skin has nothing on it, save for a link back to WebHome.

Question 1 - Any ideas on how to have a particular user/client access the TWiki through its own skin?

  • My initial thought is to have a "PDA" user that has chosen the PDA skin for viewing. However, can I force that client to login with that specific user name upon viewing the first page? Would that mean I have to force every user to do an initial login? Does Set SKIN = pda work as a user setting?
  • I suppose I could have a regularly scheduled job that copies from the live web that I care about to the PDA web. Maybe I could make that happen on-demand (i.e. when the PDA web is first accessed).

Question 2 - My TWiki had dangling Wiki links, such as TopicIsNotYetCreated?. Of course, the "?" was a hyperlink to the edit page. From there it linked to TextFormattingRules and GoodStyle which link to the TWiki web... which of course has lots of content I don't need on the PDA.

  • For this experiment, I figure that I could hack the TWiki code to not make the ? a hyperlink. Maybe the format for dangling links could be configured on Site, Web, or User level preferences. This would allow a person to easily change what code is emitted for the ?. For this experiment, I'd just have it output a plain, unhyperlinked ? mark.
  • This idea might be good in general. In The WikiWay, Ward suggests that putting the ? before the WikiWord is a better idea.

Of course, the easiest solution for TWiki on a PDA is to have a wireless PDA and a wireless infrastructure (at your work, for example). Then all you need is a browser on your PDA and you're ready to go. T

At some point, I mgiht also try experimenting with ReadWriteTWikiOnPDA.

For now, it seems pretty cool to be able to take a TWiki web with me on the go.

-- MikeBarton - 07 Aug 2001

I guess this could be supported relatively easily by allowing the ?skin=xxx parameter of the view.pl script to be inherited by all the twiki links. That way the AvantGo link could be set with just that switch in the main or changes page. Well, I guess that it would also have to be passed to the search script....

Hey, that means that I could read the twiki content anywhere I go!!!. Too bad it would not solve the edit problem.

-- EdgarBrown - 12 Aug 2001

An access by the AvantGo service is easily identified by the User-Agent HTTP header.

According to the documentation at AvantGo Developers Tips&Tricks this header has the value
Mozilla/3.0 (compatible; AvantGo 3.2)
or similar.

The value of this variable, controlled by a table, could be used to choose between different skins and enable/disable different features like rendering of an unknown WikiWord.

-- HubertWeikert - 12 Aug 2001

I just found this interesting article - http://perso.club-internet.fr/ffaure/groupware.html talks about many collaboration platforms and their accessibility through a PDA.

-- MartinCleaver - 02 Nov 2001

For an OpenSource equivalent to AvantGo, have a look at Plucker, an equivalent for Palm devices, with support for Windows, Linux and OS/2 desktops - see http://www.plkr.org/. Its viewer on the Palm is actually a bit faster than AvantGo, and it does a similar job very nicely. It maintains the definition of which sites you want to grab on your hard disk, and it's immune to any future policy changes by AvantGo (e.g. they already limit you to 2 MB and may start charging in the future, you never know). AvantGo can't be used for intranets without buying expensive software, so Plucker is a good option for TWiki intranets.

I have already synced an unmodified TWiki page or two to Plucker and they are quite usable on the Palm even without special templates - table handling is particularly good, making tables quite readable. I need to do a bit more work on links, I think it requires .html type links (see ReadOnlyOfflineWiki - I've also got a working offline syncing script using wget, should work for any TWiki site with two small mods to the site).

-- RichardDonkin - 13 Jan 2002

This is doable now using the code on Codev & Plugins web. To do this, you need to do this:

And then you've got an offline readable version. I'm using this for website publishing at the moment, and it's working (very) nicely...

It's not a matter of How or when to do this, it's just a matter of documentation & advertising...

-- TWikiGuest - 14 Jan 2002

I'm aware of GenHTMLAddon, but I'm currently running the March 2001 beta of TWiki (it took about a day of effort to do the last upgrade, and I'm reluctant to do the next one until BeijingRelease is out), and this addon doesn't seem to work with that version. Also, using wget it will be possible to do incremental syncing - only pages that get changed are synced, which is important to dialup users - this does require that TWiki generates a modified date in the HTTP headers as discussed in LastModifiedFieldOfHttpHeader.

Using wget etc means there is no need to make changes to the TWiki site, and will work with older TWiki versions as well as newer ones - I used to use twiki2html but this was not updated to work with the March beta, and I'd like to avoid this in future. I will probably use the GenHTMLAddon in the future, to reduce the load on the TWiki site, but right now it's not a problem.

With a couple of simple changes in the view.tmpl file and the view script, it's possible to sync using wget directly from any TWiki site (the key is to do 'ln -s view specview' and then use the specview link for the view links that have the '?skin=print' and '?rev=1.xxx' suffixes). The same applies to Plucker, and of course there's more to syncing than just generating a ZIP file of the archive - Plucker and wget (plus a bit of Perl handle compressing the file into Palm PDA format, and post-editing the HTML files to ensure they work offline in Internet Explorer.

-- RichardDonkin - 14 Jan 2002

Does anyone know of a way to show a SEARCH of only the last revisions? I want a super terse list of just the last change for each topic, formatted as RSS for reading on a PDA.

-- MartinCleaver - 09 Jun 2005

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Topic revision: r11 - 2005-06-09 - MartinCleaver
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