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1 frodo 2 INTRODUCTION
2     ============
3    
4     This package is meant to make the Psion 5 series of PDAs, as well as other
5     small computers running Epoc 32, more usable to non-Windows users. But even
6     they may profit from the data I collected.
7    
8     The package consists of several parts:
9     * Documentation about Psion 5 data formats;
10     * A library which can be linked against application that have to read
11     (and in the future, perhaps write) Psion 5 files;
12     * An example command-line program which reads Psion files and writes
13     more commonly used formats.
14    
15    
16     DATA FORMATS
17     ============
18    
19     As far as I know, and have gathered from the newsgroups, Psion does not want
20     or is not able to release the data formats of the saved files of their
21     internal applications. I am trying to reverse engineer these data formats
22     and to document them for general use. At this moment, I understand their
23     Word, TextEd, Sketch, MBM and Record files. I want this information to
24     be available to everyone, in order to write better file conversion utilities
25     for popular (non-)Windows programs.
26    
27     All documentation is written in Psion 5 Word. Fortunately, the utilities
28     in this package can translate it to HTML and other formats.
29    
30     Unlike all other files in this package, the *.psi files in the directory
31     formats/psion are completely public domain. I ask anybody who reproduces
32     them, or uses their information in other programs, kindly to attribute
33     them to me.
34    
35     The documentation files are not installed on a `make install'; you can
36     find them in the subdirectories of the formats directory.
37    
38    
39     THE LIBRARY
40     ===========
41    
42     libpsiconv is a library of routines that you can link against your own
43     application. It allows you to read Psion 5 files, and helps you output
44     more commonly used files. Note that it comes under the GNU General
45     Public License; that means that you can only link it to programs which
46     are also covered by that license. You can contact me if you need other
47     license terms.
48    
49     Libpsiconv consists of two parts. The parser reads the Psion file into its
50     internal data structures. The generator reads these data structures and
51     generates an output file in some other format. Libpsiconv is written to make
52     it easy to add generators, without having to modify the parser side.
53     Actually, it is a lot easier to write a generator than to modify the parser!
54    
55     The parser is quite good at the moment. Page layout codes are not yet
56     read, but almost everything that is described in the documents in the
57     format directory is supported by it. Of course, it can also not yet
58     cope with inserted objects (ie. documents in some other format) and
59     other as of yet undocumented things.
60    
61     The current HTML target is not very ideal. HTML is just not made to
62     represent detailed layout considerations: it is a document description
63     language. Still, the output is quite readable already. Of course, headers
64     and footers are not displayed, because there is no notion of pages in
65     HTML. Tabs are also difficult; they are not supported yet. This can be
66     solved using tables, but it is quite hard to do it correctly. Some other
67     things are just approximated too.
68    
69     The HTML4 target uses style sheets. You need a not-too-old browser for
70     this to display correctly. Generally, the output of this generator is
71     of higher quality than the normal HTML generator's.
72    
73     A plain TEXT target just grabs all text, without any futher conversions.
74    
75     I would very much like to add other targets, like (La)TeX, RTF (Rich Text
76     Format) and XML (for AbiWord). If other people want to work on this, please
77     let me know! Of course, you could also write your own conversion applications
78     just using my data format description. Native import/export filters for
79     some word processors would be very welcome!
80    
81     Documentation is scarce; please examine the source code or the example
82     psiconv program. Some things may also be found in the doc subdirectory.
83    
84    
85     THE PROGRAM
86     ===========
87    
88     Psiconv is a command-line converter that reads Psiconv files and outputs
89     more commonly used formats. It is linked against libpsiconv, and can
90     handle anything that it can.
91    
92     Please enter `psiconv --help' if you want to know about its syntax.
93    
94     Psiconv is licensed under the GPL. Please read the included file COPYING
95     for exact licensing information. Please contact me if you need some other
96     licensing terms.
97    
98    
99     NEWS AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS
100     ============================
101    
102     Starting with version 0.2, psiconv should keep all namespaces unpoluted.
103     Starting with version 0.4, the conversion routines are linked into a
104     (static or shared) library. Version 0.5 has autoconf and libtool support,
105     and should run on many more platforms.
106    
107     High on the TODO list are input routines for Sketch, MBM and Record files.
108     Sheet files will be next. I am running into some trouble understanding
109     Data and Agenda files, but with a little luck, I'll figure it out after
110     all. This is more long-term though.
111     On the output side, I hope RTF will soon be done. This will allow most
112     office tools to read the Psion files.
113    
114    
115     INSTALLATION
116     ============
117    
118     Please read the file INSTALL for installation instructions.

frodo@frodo.looijaard.name
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