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Old 03-08-2009, 03:07 AM   #1
Grimulkan
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Image intensive documents and the DR

I've been toying around with various formats and how quickly the DR displays them. I'm mainly concerned with image-only documents, such as comics or image scans of entire books, or documents with large components of non-text items (vector graphics and so on). For text-based documents, we already have a good option as I understand it: FBreader.

I am open to creating a separate "optimized" library, preferably created automatically from my original library of ebooks, for displaying on the DR. I wrote a simple script that spiders the entire folder structure of my library and "flattens" all files it finds (pdf, doc, djvu, cbr and so on) using open source tools into a bunch of DR-optimized jpegs (grayscale, orientation corrected, contrast enhanced, 1280x1024, 160dpi etc). The script also automatically combines the jpegs into a pdf.

Everything is "flattened" into a raster image, but since it is optimized exclusively for the DR this should not be a problem (except in terms of disk space), unless you wanted to zoom in really close. In short: this should be a great way to view stuff on the DR.

Here is what is probably well known:
1. A bunch of images in a folder is opened rapidly by the DR, and the other images in the folder are treated as "pages" in the image viewer. Switching pages is very rapid, even if the page is not the next one in sequential order. Very nice indeed!
2. PDFs are SLOW! A large pdf file (with optimized jpegs embedded onto each page) is still very slow to display when jumping pages in non-sequential order.

The large speed difference between (1) and (2) makes me really want to use (1), but this is really disorganized and does not have some of the nicer features the pdf viewer has, such as remembering which page you were on. I don't remember, can someone tell me if the "scribbles" features are available in the image viewer as well?

Unfortunately, (2) may never get as fast as (1), mainly because of the pdf format itself and the fact that the viewer is not necessarily optimized for display on the DR.

Is there any information on efforts to build a DR-optimized image viewer? An 'evince' port itself may end up being a bit heavy and not necessarily DR-friendly (supporting scribbles, minimizing screen refreshes, optimizing processor usage to conserve battery etc.), but would be nice. Is anyone working on this? Perhaps a CBR viewer?

I think we don't really need support for a zillion formats, as long as there is an automatic tool that spiders your collection and spits out opimized files. It might hurt one's sense of efficiency (Rasterize a djvu!!? The horror!), but the original file is left untouched for archival anyway.

A further question: does anyone know of ANY document format that allows for displaying rasterized graphics with embedded text? PDFs do this, but there is no way to tell a PDF that "page 1 is a 1280x1024 image, so for heaven's sake stop playing with it". CBR files (really, a rar-ed bunch of images) are great for this as each page is just an image, but do not contain features for ocr-ed text in the background for instance (so its pretty much only good for comic books, as the name indicates). Anyone know of a format optimized for displaying a bunch of images with text overlaid?

This would be the PERFECT format for displaying scanned documents (technical books, textbooks, comic books) on a specific eReader. Coupled with a tool that converts any document/CBR into this format, we have the perfect optimizer for the DR (or any ebook reader, technically).

If there is a standard format, maybe I'll start looking to see about porting a viewer for it. If not, maybe I'll think about making up one (and a viewer for it)

If anyone is interested in the conversion script I described at the start of my post, let me know, although there are probably tools out there that do things like this already.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:18 AM   #2
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Well, I can't help with much, but I can say you can write on jpgs.
Wouldn't a "slideshow" function do what you are after, though I suspect it may be sluggish.
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:51 AM   #3
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I'm not very familiar with the formats and viewers you mention, but it might be useful to know that scaling of pages consumes a considerable amount of time on the DR. Images and documents which fit the screen exactly don't need rescaling and thus are rendered more quickly.

Be aware that the viewer accounts for a 3 pixel margin around the screen which is mostly hidden under the bezel. The native full screen size is therefore 1019 (w) x 1274 (h). The toolbar is 38 pix high and the pagebar adds another 30 pix, so when these are visible, the native screen size is 1019 (w) x 1206 (h).
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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Frankly, in the long run, to avoid conversions and giant image folders (my DR1000 has in tens of thousands images by now ), it seems to me the best solution would be to port an image viewer...

Or even better a comic book reader like Comix, a GPL'd Python+GTK application that offers things like reading straight from compressed image folders and 2-page views, which are things requested already by the community. It would be a fantastic complement to FBReader's functionality.
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:55 PM   #5
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My point was essentially this: All eReaders are more like paper than a computer, in that they are ultimate destinations for reading material. Apart from minor things such as (vector) scribbles, you don't really create/modify documents on an eReader or move them to another destination (a computer/printout), and I don't really see this becoming a major use for eReaders in the immediate future. So basically, "device indepentent" formats are overkill for readers. This is what slows things down and what not...

Images are great in that they are not device independent and are more like paper, hence my interest in a viewer for them. What would be even better is a format with image+text, because unlike paper which has been the "ultimate destination" for mankind's document needs so far, eReaders are ultimate destinations that CAN SEARCH TEXT

Quote:
Originally Posted by allovertheglobe View Post
Frankly, in the long run, to avoid conversions and giant image folders (my DR1000 has in tens of thousands images by now ), it seems to me the best solution would be to port an image viewer...

Or even better a comic book reader like Comix...
Yes, I can quickly see my collection becoming a nightmare of folders with huge numbers of images, I'll investigate a CBR viewer port.

What did you mean "to avoid conversions"? Are you averse to the idea of auto-converting documents to an optimal form? This should be no different from "printing" to a paper, the printout is a "conversion" of your original document after all

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gertjan View Post
The native full screen size is therefore 1019 (w) x 1274 (h).
Thanks for the tip, I was wondering why part of my page was clipped in 100% view
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimulkan View Post
<snip>
Yes, I can quickly see my collection becoming a nightmare of folders with huge numbers of images, I'll investigate a CBR viewer port.

What did you mean "to avoid conversions"? Are you averse to the idea of auto-converting documents to an optimal form? This should be no different from "printing" to a paper, the printout is a "conversion" of your original document after all
If you have to create/"print" them, yes, might as well do it right the first time. But in the case of getting pre-formatted digital files (PDFs or images, uncompressed or zip/cbr) it is an extra step that is annoying esp. when dealing with large volumes.

So far the biggest speed issue has always been with PDFs because they don't work on a per-pixel basis and always "scale" to some extent (as I found out with my writepads, just wish the scribble export would work with images and not just PDFs...) Other formats (text in FBReader, images in the built-in viewer) are actually pretty snappy, so I would not be so concerned with pre-formatting them to optimal DR1000 rez (and in the case of UPscaling, it would be pretty useless anyway)

P.S.: I second the thanks to Gertjan.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:37 AM   #7
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After some tinkering around, I found that you could actually explode a CBR (or PDF) file into a bunch of jpegs and then embed those jpegs in an HTML. You could tuck all the images away an in a "_xxx" folder (folders whose names start with an underscore do not appear in the DR browser) and then open the HTML file with FBReader.

This is actually surprisingly fast, although I am yet to attempt this for extremely large documents. The trouble is formatting the HTML file right, as you need to get all the images to the right size etc. HTML viewers are also built slightly differently from PDF viewers and are meant to "flow", but that might be an advantage depending on your taste.

You still need to auto-generate a properly formatted HTML file from a PDFs (or CBRs), and I had a script do that. A hastle yes, but I am merely pointing out a possible alternative, given that a CBR viewer hasn't yet come into existence.

EDIT: I just tried this out with a 15MB (50 odd page) comic, and its breathtakingly snappy with FBReader!

Last edited by Grimulkan; 03-11-2009 at 04:00 AM.
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