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Old 10-01-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
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[Android App] Calibre Companion content server integration

Edit: Testing has finished. CC version 2.2.1 has been generally released. Note that you must be running calibre 0.9.0 or higher to use the content server integration.

We have finally finished Calibre Companion's content server integration. To avoid unnecessary problems we would like to have a few people test it before we release it for general consumption.

First, I should say what it does. This integration permits you to connect to the calibre content server on the same machine that is running the wireless connection driver. Once connected, you can browse the library using whatever categories you have set up. Search is supported. You can see the calibre metadata for any book. You can download any format of a book, and the book is immediately added to CC's database. If you download a book that you already have, the book is overwritten so you don't end up with two copies. Calibre's metadata is downloaded as well, so CC won't have the problem of bogus internal book metadata and automatic metadata management will work for these books.

Equally important: what it doesn't do: this is not a general OPDS browser. It is intended to connect only to a calibre content server, and in particular the server on the same machine running the wireless driver. We understand that a general OPDS browser would be a good thing, but there are issues.

You must have purchased CC to participate in this test. The apk checks licenses.

If you are interested in testing it, send me a PM containing an email address where I can send a 1.2 MB apk file. Once you receive that file, put it on your device (somehow) and install it. For example, and assuming you have a file manager program, download the APK directly onto the device from the email message then use the file manager to run the installer.

I am not looking for 100s of testers. The first 10 or so who respond will be sent the APK. We hope to finish the test this week. It the results are good, then we will release it as an update this weekend.

What we want back from you:
- Does it blow up anywhere?
- Does it work? Can you browse and download?
- Does it connect? Are there any issues?
- Constructive suggestions for improving help messages.
- Constructive suggestions for improving functionality, keeping in mind that it is not a general OPDS browser.
- Did we break anything in the wireless connection part?
- And anything else you want to say.

The Content Server integration requires calibre 0.9.0 or later.

Please post comments to this thread.

Last edited by chaley; 10-05-2012 at 01:09 PM. Reason: add required version of calibre
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:45 AM   #2
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We have finally finished Calibre Companion's content server integration. To avoid unnecessary problems we would like to have a few people test it before we release it for general consumption….

Please post comments to this thread.
Got it, figured out how to transfer and install it. Used Android File Transfer app to sideload from OS X, because I couldn't get a file manager app on Nexus7 to deal with it. Can anyone recommend a good file manager?

-----

- Does it blow up anywhere? No.

- Does it work? Yes. Can you browse and download? Yes.

- Does it connect? Yes. Are there any issues? No.

- Constructive suggestions for improving help messages. Didn't need any help messages. Straightforward.

- Constructive suggestions for improving functionality, keeping in mind that it is not a general OPDS browser. Saw nothing needing improvement. Works.

- Did we break anything in the wireless connection part? No. I switched and downloaded books alternately through content server connection, and direct connection to library as wireless device. Repeated multiple times, lots of switching between connections. No connection or disconnection problems.

- And anything else you want to say. It is cool. Fast. Easy. And I couldn't make it fail. But I'll keep trying…

-----

Edit: I love Calibre Companion. I wish it were available for all of my devices.

Last edited by unboggling; 10-02-2012 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:44 PM   #3
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Amen. The only disappointment with CC is that it isn't on my Nook Simple Touch:-(

I'd wait until the warranty expired and hack the thing just to get CC, but I bought an extended warranty. Rats!
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unboggling View Post

- Does it blow up anywhere? No.

- Does it work? Yes. Can you browse and download? Yes.

- Does it connect? Yes. Are there any issues? No.

- Constructive suggestions for improving help messages. Didn't need any help messages. Straightforward.

- Constructive suggestions for improving functionality, keeping in mind that it is not a general OPDS browser. Saw nothing needing improvement. Works.

- Did we break anything in the wireless connection part? No. I switched and downloadedu books alternately through content server connection, and direct connection to library as wireless device. Repeated multiple times, lots of switching between connections. No connection or disconnection problems.

- And anything else you want to say. It is cool. Fast. Easy. And I couldn't make it fail. But I'll keep trying…

-----

Edit: I love Calibre Companion. I wish it were available for all of my devices.
I could not have said it better, my experience was exactly the same. Works flawlessly in all regards. I, too, switched back and forth between wireless and CS several times and no issues at all. Love CC. Acer iconia a200, ICS, stock ROM.

Now, as I mentioned in my pm, I'm going to root this puppy and go nuts. I can't imagine there will be any differences but I'll report back either way assumption gapps doesn't give me trouble. :-)
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:32 AM   #5
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Update - I ended up not flashing. Kept using CC last night. I had one force quit when opening a book but I think it was a problem with the reader app and/or filename limitations rather than CC. Still no problems at all getting books from content server or through wireless connect.

I do want to thank you for including manual path entry for folders as my tablet id's the SD card differently and I can't navigate to it from the dir tree but manual path works fine. A couple of my other apps have no such option, annoyingly. And it moves them for me! That was awesome.

Now I need to go sort out my special characters issues.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:10 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your comments, both by email and on this thread.

Between what you have told me and my own continued testing, a few problems in content server integration were found and fixed:
- The generated path for a downloaded book could exceed the windows maximum.
- The generated path could contain illegal characters such as slashes. @CWatkinsNash: could this account for the crash you had?
- Authors in the lists were separated by semicolons instead of the "calibre" ampersands
- cancelling a download could sometimes produce strange behavior.

And not related to the content server integration but found during the tests: some epub book scanning problems:
- series was almost always ignored when generating metadata for a scanned book
- author sort was sometimes ignored when generating metadata.
- bizarre OPFs in epubs might have authors listed twice, which confused scanning.

And finally:
- force metadata management to automatic for wireless device connections (in calibre 0.9.1).

My guess is that the CS integration will be generally released on Friday 5/Oct as CC version 2.3. We will skip 2.2 so that you testers will get the new version automatically from google play. Please don't hesitate to post comments between now and then.

Thank you all again.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:18 PM   #7
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Thank you, CC developers, for an incredibly useful app.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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Yes, Charles, after some more investigation it was illegal characters in the filename. I found out by going into astro file browser and selecting "rename" - the OK button is greyed out until the characters (colon, in my case) were removed. This was causing CC to "lose" the files during some operations, probably causing the force quits. All was fine with files with no illegal characters.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:05 AM   #9
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Amen. The only disappointment with CC is that it isn't on my Nook Simple Touch:-(

I'd wait until the warranty expired and hack the thing just to get CC, but I bought an extended warranty. Rats!
It wont work on Nook simple touch anyway as that is android 2.1 and cc requires at least android 2.3 I think.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:51 PM   #10
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Please post your app somewhere besides Google Play. I'd love to use, be happy to pay for it, but don't have access to Google Play. I'm running Android 2.3, so it should work.

Thanks
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:12 PM   #11
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Please post your app somewhere besides Google Play. I'd love to use, be happy to pay for it, but don't have access to Google Play. I'm running Android 2.3, so it should work.

Thanks
We use google play licensing, so posting the app elsewhere wouldn't be of any benefit to you.

Probably within the next week we will make the app available on the amazon market.

If you cannot access either GP or (eventually) Amazon then unfortunately we have no way to sell you a copy of CC. We are considering whether the benefits of setting up some side channels for selling CC outweigh the considerable risks and the increased support load, but have not come to a conclusion.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:56 AM   #12
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A release with content server integration has been put on Google Play. We ended up labeling it 2.2.1.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:01 AM   #13
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I noticed you only have phone screenshots on Play. I have some CC tablet screenies I can send you if you don't have any. Tablet owners (okay, me, but probably others) like to see at least one tablet screenie on Play just to ensure that an app will run in landscape and look okay.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:02 AM   #14
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I was an early adopter of the original beta but didn't partake in this test though. Up until now everything has worked perfectly.

I just downloaded 2.2.1 and the new Calibre .9.1 for OSX and now when trying to connect wirelessly CC is telling me that another device is connecting to Calibre and that I should disconnect it first. There are no other wireless devices that I have ever used with calibre.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

EDIT: Ok, figured THAT one out. I was charging my android cell phone which is an MTP device on the laptop. While OSX didn't detect it and Calibre didn't connect to it AND it didn't show up as a wireless device (obviously) and DOESN'T have CC installed on it.. CC would NOT connect with it plugged in. This is likely a failure with Calibre and not CC though. Even after unplugging the phone I could not connect until I restarted calibre.

As a note, I had restarted Calibre a few times with the phone plugged in so that wasn't the issue, it was definitely the phone and the new MTP driver. Weird!

Last edited by manxam; 10-05-2012 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:53 PM   #15
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I noticed you only have phone screenshots on Play. I have some CC tablet screenies I can send you if you don't have any. Tablet owners (okay, me, but probably others) like to see at least one tablet screenie on Play just to ensure that an app will run in landscape and look okay.
Thanks for the reminder. We do need to update the screenshots. We have tablets, but thanks for the offer.
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