GB

Postby GB » Sat Mar 15, 2003 3:59 pm

It would be great to have the ability for Awasu to generate a single HTML file that would include a list of ALL of your unread items in ALL of your channels. The format of the HTML page would be simple: a channel name with the list of unread items in that channel below it, each of which would include the item headline, description and link. (It would look as if you took the existing Channel Summary for each channel in Awasu and pasted them one after another in the same HTML file.) Having this "Master Channel Summary" would offer two very nice features:

1) because this "Master Channel Summary" would be an HTML file, it would be easy for a user to output this page to a stand-alone HTML file and convert it into a format that could be put on a Palm, Pocket PC or other handheld or wireless device. This could easily be done with Plucker (which is open-source) (http://www.plkr.org/) , iSilo (http://www.isilo.com/), or a host of other programs. That way a user could use this "Output unread items to a single HTML file" feature to create an HTML "newspaper" and then sync their handheld and instantly have all of their unread items in Awasu available for reading anywhere. Now that would be exciting! For many people, Awasu could then provide a much more powerful replacement for AvantGo (http://www.avantgo.com), which as you may know, is one of the most popular programs for both the Palm and PocketPC's.

The exported HTML file should just stand alone - it doesn't need to link to Awasu at all. (The user is responsible for going back into Awasu and marking items read, if they read the items in the HTML file- I think that's fine.) In addition, there doesn't have to be any formatting at all in the HTML file (as a matter of fact for handheld devices, minimal formatting would be preferred). In fact you could simply include another customizable channel summary template that could be used to generate the HTML file. (Your idea to have customizable templates is an awesome feature by the way!)


2) The second benefit of creating a single HTML file with the headlines and the links for ALL of your unread items is that you could create a permanent Awasu channel that would remain on the top of the channel list that would provide the ability for a user to view this "master channel summary" inside of Awasu. This would make it super easy for a user to browse and get caught up with all of their newsfeeds since all of the new items would be in one place. (This is why the "Newspaper" feature is included in Newzcrawler and this ability is definitely a benefit of Amphetadesk.)

Anyway, while I'm sure that you have a large feature list, I think that there would be a number of people interested in this type of feature. Thanks again for listening and for developing such a great product!

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Postby support » Sat Mar 15, 2003 10:48 pm

G'day.

My, you are a veritable fount of excellent ideas! I've been tossing around the idea of having a single master summary page for a while now but using it for offline reading is a way cool suggestion! I'll bump it up the to-do list :-) It should be pretty easy to whip together something really basic so you should see it pretty soon although I've got a few ideas for making it really cool.

On a more general note, do you use a PDA? I've always wanted to provide lots of integration between them and Awasu but I can't stand them myself so have no idea how people tend to use them :-) What sort of things would you like to see?

For wireless devices, I've already written something that lets Awasu send stuff out when things happen e.g. when a new item arrives, you can send out an email and the system is easy to extend so that it sends something to your wireless PDA. But I'm looking for ideas that are more specific to handhelds, such as your offline reading summary page.

With respect to your master channel idea, it won't be done as a special feature but just as another plugin. All the necessary architecture is in place for this so I just have to find the time to write it... :-(
Last edited by support on Wed Mar 26, 2003 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

GB

Postby GB » Wed Mar 19, 2003 1:41 am

On a more general note, do you use a PDA? I've always wanted to provide lots of integration between them and Awasu but I can't stand them myself so have no idea how people tend to use them What sort of things would you like to see?


I do use a PDA pretty extensively. I have a Handspring Neo which is a Palm Pilot compatible device. In terms of how PDAs could integrate with Awasu, I think that creating the master channel summary would be about 95% of everything that you could want.

AvantGo is an extremely popular service, but with the master channel summary, Awasu would blow it away both in content available (there are MANY more newsfeeds than there are AvantGo channels) and functionality (having all of the items in one place would make it much easier to read. Not to mention that Awasu doesn't have ads, there's not a limit on the amount of information that you can transfer, and downloading the information and transferring it to the PDA is all done locally, instead of using Avantgo's servers to retrieve the information. In summary, while AvantGo is really great, PDA integration in Awasu would be AWESOME! Again, this could be done with existing tools that I mention above, all that is needed is the master channel summary.

To gain the last 5% of functionality and achieve total nirvana :D, Awasu would have to synchronize all of the items with the Palm. This means that if you marked a news item as read on the PDA, when you synchronize your PDA the fact that you had read that item would be reflected when you open Awasu, and vice versa. Obviously, this is MUCH more difficult and would also require you to create some sort of Awasu application which would actually run on the PDA. (Although that application would really just be an HTML reader that kept track of which items were read.) I really don't think that the effort required to develop this would initially be worth the benefit, but if you get up to Awasu Version 6.0 :o , then this would be something to look at doing.

As I said, I am a pretty avid PDA and AvantGo user, so if you have any more questions about this, I would be happy to help. I also use Plucker and iSilo fairly extensively and I would be happy to even potentially assist you with integrating Awasu with those programs (especially since Plucker is open-source).

Happy to help!

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Postby support » Wed Mar 19, 2003 2:14 am

GB wrote:AvantGo is an extremely popular service, but with the master channel summary, Awasu would blow it away both in content available (there are MANY more newsfeeds than there are AvantGo channels) and functionality (having all of the items in one place would make it much easier to read.


It will be pretty easy to get something basic up and running quickly so I might do that ASAP and come back later to do a more sophisticated implementation.

What I'm thinking is to have a menu option that dumps out all unread items across all channels to a single summary page. It will be stored in a pre-defined file (e.g. C:\Program Files\Awasu\Summaries\MasterSummary.html) which you can then copy over to your PDA. I presume that the PDA will then take care of everything else i.e. browsing to the actual stories themselves.

Later, you will be able to define (multiple) sets of channels instead of always dumping out everything, whether or not you want item titles, descriptions, images, etc. Which template file to use will also be switchable. Maybe the option to split the master summary across multiple pages since it could get quite big.

GB wrote:Not to mention that Awasu doesn't have ads,


It has ads?! Good grief :-(


GB wrote:To gain the last 5% of functionality and achieve total nirvana :D, Awasu would have to synchronize all of the items with the Palm. This means that if you marked a news item as read on the PDA, when you synchronize your PDA the fact that you had read that item would be reflected when you open Awasu, and vice versa. Obviously, this is MUCH more difficult and would also require you to create some sort of Awasu application which would actually run on the PDA. (Although that application would really just be an HTML reader that kept track of which items were read.)


It may not be that difficult. Presumably the PDA has some kind of browser that you use to read the items. If I can get a history of URL's from the browser, I can match URL's from it with those in Awasu and flag items as having being read appropriately. I'm sure there must be some way of extracting this information from the PDA, even if it was just a little app that gets run when the user wants to sync - it just retrieves the PDA's URL history list, packages it up and sends it back to Awasu. There probably won't be any need to have something always running that tracks items as they are read. Regardless of how it it is done, all I need is a text file with a list of URL's in it; everything else would be done by Awasu and is easy.

Send me an email if you are interested in doing some work with this :-)

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Postby support » Wed Mar 19, 2003 3:07 pm

OK, I've just finished writing this.

It actually works quite nicely. You can generate the summary page manually or request that Awasu do it automatically for you at regular intervals (e.g. every 5 minutes) or every time something changes. So whenever you want to sync with your PDA, you won't even have to switch to Awasu to generate the export file. Just grab it from the location you define and it will be already up-to-date.

I'll add something tomorrow to update the item-read flag for items across all channels, read from a text file containing a list of URL's. This will be really easy.

Your turn now... :-)

GB

Postby GB » Thu Mar 20, 2003 12:37 am

Wow! Nice work!

Let me dig around on my Palm and see if Plucker keeps a history list of URL's anywhere. Although I'm not a programmer by trade, I can usually dig around in code when I need to find something, so I'll check out the Plucker source as well. This could be REALLY good...

GB

Postby GB » Thu Mar 20, 2003 12:50 am

For some reason, the Plucker website (http://www.plkr.org/) is down, so I'm not able to get the source code. :( I'll keep trying.

In the meantime is it possible to get a test build of Awasu which has the master summary page in it? I'd love to try transfering it to my Palm to see how it looks.

My e-mail address is: boesel at sidebarsoft dot com

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Postby support » Wed Mar 26, 2003 12:35 am

For the benefit of anyone reading this thread...

...this functionality is now available in the 1.0.2 beta: http://www.awasu.com/goto.php?url=/downloads/1.0.2/


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