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Revision 36 - (show annotations)
Thu Dec 2 18:05:36 1999 UTC (19 years, 10 months ago) by frodo
File size: 4916 byte(s)
(Frodo) Release 0.6.0. Several minor things found when compiling.

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. Note that it comes
44 under the GNU General Public License; that means that you can only link
45 it to programs which are also covered by that license. You can contact
46 me if you need other license terms.
47
48 The parser is quite good at the moment. Page layout codes are not yet
49 read, but almost everything that is described in the documents in the
50 format directory is supported by it. Of course, it can also not yet
51 cope with inserted objects (ie. documents in some other format) and
52 other as of yet undocumented things.
53
54 Documentation is scarce; please examine the source code or the example
55 psiconv program. Some things may also be found in the doc subdirectory.
56
57
58 THE PROGRAM
59 ===========
60
61 Psiconv is a command-line converter that reads Psiconv files and outputs
62 more commonly used formats. It is linked against libpsiconv, and can
63 handle anything that it can.
64
65 Please enter `psiconv --help' if you want to know about its syntax.
66
67 The current HTML3 target is not very ideal. HTML is just not made to
68 represent detailed layout considerations: it is a document description
69 language. Still, the output is quite readable already. Of course, headers
70 and footers are not displayed, because there is no notion of pages in
71 HTML. Tabs are also difficult; they are not supported yet. This can be
72 solved using tables, but it is quite hard to do it correctly. Some other
73 things are just approximated too.
74
75 The HTML4 target uses style sheets. You need a not-too-old browser for
76 this to display correctly. Generally, the output of this generator is
77 of higher quality than the normal HTML generator's.
78
79 A plain TEXT target just grabs all text, without any futher conversions.
80
81 The RTF target is not finished yet; in fact, it is no usable at all
82 right now.
83
84 All ImageMagick graphic output formats are supported; depending on how
85 you compiled ImageMagick, this is betwee 20 and 50 different formats.
86 Your favorite one should be somewhere...
87
88 I would very much like to add other targets, like (La)TeX, RTF (Rich Text
89 Format) and XML (for AbiWord). If other people want to work on this, please
90 let me know! Of course, you could also write your own conversion applications
91 just using my data format description. Native import/export filters for
92 some word processors would be very welcome!
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. Version 0.6 has support for
106 graphics.
107
108 High on the TODO list are input routines for Record files.
109 Sheet files will be next. I am running into some trouble understanding
110 Data and Agenda files, but with a little luck, I'll figure it out after
111 all. This is more long-term though.
112 On the output side, I hope RTF will soon be done. This will allow most
113 office tools to read the Psion files.
114
115
116 INSTALLATION
117 ============
118
119 Please read the file INSTALL for installation instructions.

frodo@frodo.looijaard.name
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