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Revision 152 - (show annotations)
Tue Nov 11 18:58:55 2003 UTC (15 years, 11 months ago) by frodo
File size: 5202 byte(s)
(Frodo) Many build updates:
  * Automake 1.6 and 1.7 support
  * Autoconf 2.5x support
  * ImageMagick 5.4.x and 5.5.x support
  * Format documentation will now be installed

1 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 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, Sheet, TextEd, Sketch, MBM, Clipart and Record files, as well as a
24 few other less important formats. I want this information to be available
25 to everyone, in order to write better file conversion utilities for popular
26 (non-)Windows programs.
27
28 All documentation is written in Psion 5 Word. Fortunately, the utilities
29 in this package can translate it to HTML and other formats.
30
31 Unlike all other files in this package, the *.psi files in the directory
32 formats/psion are completely public domain. I ask anybody who reproduces
33 them, or uses their information in other programs, kindly to attribute
34 them to me.
35
36 The documentation files are not installed on a `make install'; you can
37 find them in the subdirectories of the formats directory.
38
39
40 THE LIBRARY
41 ===========
42
43 libpsiconv is a library of routines that you can link against your own
44 application. It allows you to read Psion 5 files. Note that it comes
45 under the GNU General Public License; that means that you can only link
46 it to programs which are also covered by that license. You can contact
47 me if you need other license terms.
48
49 The following formats can be read at this moment:
50 Word Word processor files
51 TextEd OPL editor files
52 Sketch Picture files
53 MBM Alternate picture format; several pictures can be combined in it
54 ClipArt Internal picture format; several pictures can be combined in it
55
56 The parser is quite good at the moment. Page layout codes are not yet
57 read, but almost everything that is described in the documents in the
58 format directory is supported by it; but it can not yet cope with
59 inserted objects (ie. documents in some other format).
60
61 Documentation is scarce; please examine the source code or the example
62 psiconv program. Some things may also be found in the doc subdirectory.
63
64
65 THE PROGRAM
66 ===========
67
68 Psiconv is a command-line converter that reads Psiconv files and outputs
69 more commonly used formats. It is linked against libpsiconv, and can
70 handle anything that it can.
71
72 Please enter `psiconv --help' if you want to know about its syntax.
73
74 The current HTML3 target is not very ideal. HTML is just not made to
75 represent detailed layout considerations: it is a document description
76 language. Still, the output is quite readable already. Of course, headers
77 and footers are not displayed, because there is no notion of pages in
78 HTML. Tabs are also difficult; they are not supported yet. This can be
79 solved using tables, but it is quite hard to do it correctly. Some other
80 things are just approximated too.
81
82 The HTML4 target uses style sheets. You need a not-too-old browser for
83 this to display correctly. Generally, the output of this generator is
84 of higher quality than the normal HTML generator's.
85
86 A plain TEXT target just grabs all text, without any futher conversions.
87
88 The RTF target is not finished yet; in fact, it is no usable at all
89 right now.
90
91 All ImageMagick graphic output formats are supported; depending on how
92 you compiled ImageMagick, this is betwee 20 and 50 different formats.
93 Your favorite one should be somewhere in there...
94
95 I would very much like to add other targets, like (La)TeX, RTF (Rich Text
96 Format) and XML (for AbiWord). If other people want to work on this, please
97 let me know! Of course, you could also write your own conversion applications
98 just using my data format description. Native import/export filters for
99 some word processors would be very welcome!
100
101 Psiconv is licensed under the GPL. Please read the included file COPYING
102 for exact licensing information. Please contact me if you need some other
103 licensing terms.
104
105
106 NEWS AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS
107 ============================
108
109 Starting with version 0.2, psiconv should keep all namespaces unpoluted.
110 Starting with version 0.4, the conversion routines are linked into a
111 (static or shared) library. Version 0.5 has autoconf and libtool support,
112 and should run on many more platforms. Version 0.6 has support for
113 graphics.
114
115 High on the TODO list are input routines for Record files.
116 Sheet files will be next. I am running into some trouble understanding
117 Data and Agenda files, but with a little luck, I'll figure it out after
118 all. This is more long-term though.
119 On the output side, I hope RTF will soon be done. This will allow most
120 office tools to read the Psion files.
121
122
123 INSTALLATION
124 ============
125
126 Please read the file INSTALL for installation instructions.

frodo@frodo.looijaard.name
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