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Sun Oct 3 21:10:47 1999 UTC (20 years ago) by frodo
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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 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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