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Plucker: An Alternative to AvantGo Apps
I bought a Palm m125 the other day and was excited to try AvantGo, only to find that they don't support OS X. So I started looking for alternatives and found Plucker, a free offline HTML viewer with conduits for UNIX, Linux, and Windows. There's no GUI for OS X (it's possible that the UNIX/Linux GUI will work if you have XWindows running), but getting the command line tools up and running is fairly straightforward:

To find out how to do this, read on...

  1. Download and install Python, either as a precompiled binary from here or get the source from website and compile it yourself. I compiled it from source with no problems.
  2. Download the 'binary version, with parsers' from the download section of the Plucker website and install the viewer_en.prc and SysZLib.prc files to your Palm.
  3. Using the terminal, cd to the unix directory in the plucker folder, su to root, and run install-plucker:
    $ su
    $ cd .../plucker-1.1.14/unix/
    $ ./install-plucker
    You'll be prompted to answer a bunch of questions about where the Plucker files will be installed--the defaults worked fine for me.
  4. Plucker uses a config file called .pluckerrc. A sample can be found in plucker-1.1.14/parser/defaults. Copy this file to your home directory and rename it .pluckerrc. Then make a new directory in your home directory called .plucker and copy the file called home.html to it:
    (if you're still root, exit)
    $ cp .../plucker/parser/defaults/pluckerrc.sample ~/.pluckerrc
    $ mkdir .plucker
    $ cp .../plucker/parser/defaults/home.html ~/.plucker
  5. Alright, this is it! Run Plucker by typing
    $ plucker-build -f home .plucker/home.html
    An output file called home.pdb (change the word after -f to whatever you want the doc to be called) will be placed in your .plucker directory. Edit the home.html file to include the sites that you want processed.
As for the lack of a GUI, I don't even miss it. I put together the following shell script that's run by cron every morning at 8:00am, I hotsync at 8:15, and I'm out the door.

plucker-build -f home .plucker/home.html ;
cp ~/.plucker/home.pdb ~/Documents/Palm/Users/MyUserName/Files to Install ;
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Plucker: An Alternative to AvantGo | 13 comments | Create New Account
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iSiloX Alternative
Authored by: james_sorenson on Mar 12, '02 11:33:32PM
I thought I should mention this because competition is good. iSiloX does the same thing as Plucker. They provide both a command-line and Aqua-GUI of their web-converter application for MacOS X. However, it isn't free ($17.50). I considered iSilo worth the registration because the GUI made it a lot easier to customize the size of the graphics for each web-page, and how many links deep to go. Then I used the command-line version to "cron" it each morning. iSilo also supports the use of VFS memory. However, I'm really glad to see a free alternative (even if it is sans-gui). Cool freeware is what's keeping the Palm platform on top. Thanks for the tip! Jim

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iSiloX Alternative
Authored by: Choid on Mar 17, '02 08:38:52PM

I just want to mention that the current CVS version of Plucker supports VFS and I've been using it for a few weeks now.
Note: To build the newest version of Plucker you need PRC-TOOLS which requires a bit of work to get it to compile. I will be making a fink package for it with in the next few months.

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iSiloX Alternative
Authored by: Mserm on Mar 17, '02 09:54:31PM

Maybe I'm an idiot, but I can't run iSiloXC. I've downloaded the beta and the last final version. I tried making it executable and it is reported to be invalid. It will not run alone either. Any obvious problems I'm missing?

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iSiloX Alternative
Authored by: james_sorenson on Mar 21, '02 01:42:12AM

Invalid? Well, you are correct that it needs to be made executable. Could you post the exact error? It could be the xml file that it finds invalid. Also, you will want to put it somewhere in your path.

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Plucker and AvantGo?
Authored by: bluehz on Mar 13, '02 12:07:23PM

This is really nice. I have never used AvantGo - but always wondered what it was all about. I d/l and installed Plucker, signed up at AvantGo, and all is well - almost. I have the sample home.html converted and installed on my PDA and it works great. What I am wondering is how do I integrate Plucker with AvantGo? As I said I am a newbie at AvantGo so this may be a stupid question - but here is an example. I needed a map from MapQuest, clicked the Download to PDA btn and it takes me to AvantGo, I sign in, it does some stuff ( iam not really sure what) but I don't really ever see anything d/l, etc to enable transferring to the PDA. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thx for the tip!!!

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Authored by: bhines on Mar 16, '02 06:30:02AM

You might consider making a fink package for plucker.

Anything you port to OSX, put it in fink. Making pkgs is easy.

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Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 18, '02 03:56:01PM

The downside to using fink to install Python et. al. is that the compatible graphics packages (netpbm and imagemagick) don't work with Plucker and the Python build doesn't include the Imaging Library. i don't know why, but it looks like you still have to fool around with makefiles and try building PIL yourself or skip fink entirely and get a distro of Python that includes PIL.
FYI: I've tried the fink unstable tree as well, with no luck...

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Authored by: buc99 on Mar 20, '02 08:35:59AM


It is just as easy to run the install script as it would be to build a fink package. Besides that, the fink package would put everything in the stupid /sw directory. People really need to drop the fink crutch and build unix programs and install them in the correct directories.

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Another way to build plucker
Authored by: buc99 on Mar 20, '02 11:38:19AM

Another way to build plucker is to backout of the unix directory after following step3:
$ ../
$ ./configure
$ make
$ make install

This will install the .plucker directory in your user directory and make the .pluckerrc file based upon the questions you answered when you ran the install script.

This way you do not need to point to the directory that has the home.html file you can instead just run:

$ plucker-build -f news

and a news.pdb file will be created in your .plucker directory.

This works fine in version 1.1.13. So I assume that it will work fine in 1.1.14. I don't use 1.1.14 because I was having trouble with it and my m505.

If you have the netcomics module working then you can try this script I just wrote below:

plucker-build -f news ;
cp ~/.plucker/news.pdb ~/Documents/Palm/Users/SA/Files to Install ;
cp ~/.plucker/home.html ~/.plucker/home.html.bck ;
pluck-comics -dh dilbert ;
pluck-comics -h committed ;
pluck-comics -h getfuzzy ;
pluck-comics -h momma ;
pluck-comics -h motley ;
pluck-comics -h pickles ;
pluck-comics -h offsides ;
pluck-comics -h strangebrew ;
pluck-comics -h babyblue ;
pluck-comics -h zits ;
pluck-comics -h calvinandhobbes ;
pluck-comics -h warped ;
cp ~/netcomics/index.html ~/.plucker/home.html ;
plucker-build -f comics ;
cp ~/.plucker/comics.pdb ~/Documents/Palm/Users/SA/Files to Install ;
cp ~/.plucker/home.html.bck ~/.plucker/home.html ;

This will make a news.pdb file and a comics.pdb file. I'm not 100% sure the comics part will work yet but give it a try. And if anyone else out there can write a better script, please do so. My scripting ability is very limited.


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Authored by: macmedics_josh on Mar 29, '02 05:17:56PM

` build plucker, it warns me about lack of graphics support, but as far as I can tell, I have downloaded all the required stuff, (jpeg librarys etc... ) I guess i nead an idiots guide to fully installing plucker, including the support files.

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Another way to build plucker
Authored by: andyda on Sep 03, '02 12:07:32PM

Process listed by jambiscuit works OK on 10.1.5, but I can't get it to work on 10.2.

I've read elsewhere that Plucker requires "some coaxing" to get it to work in 10.2.

Has anybody got it to work in 10.2?

What did you do?



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Another way to build plucker
Authored by: andyda on Sep 13, '02 03:07:03PM

Update to my post about getting Plucker to work with 10.2.

You can use the install process outlined in the original post, and it works.

You don't need to install Python, becuase it's already in 102.

There is a problem with the way plucker interacts with 10.2 because plucker is installed in /usr/local/bin and this is no longer in the normal path under 10.2. The way I added this was to creatre a .tcshrc file in my home directory (thanks to folks in comp.sys.mac.system) with the line:

setenv PATH /usr/local/bin:$PATH

I had a problem because I was using BBEdit and fo rsome reason (even though I set it to) it was not writing the file in UNIX format. Once I got the UNIX line endings fixed it worked just fine.

Now the only problem I have is that I don't have graphics support.



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Thanks for posting out the 10.2 stuff
Authored by: DAC on Oct 14, '02 05:51:00PM

I was pulling my hair out trying to get this to work under 10.2, and this really helped me out. My problem was that I had first tried an install following the first set of instructions, and something got messed up due to the path issue. Later install attempts did not work because some "bad" file that was created was living through the re-install.

Haveing these easy to follow instructons with a report of success was a huge help.


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