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Old 10-21-2004, 09:08 PM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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TomeRaider 3 is Final now

Last week we mentioned an available beta of TomeRaider 3. Now you can download the final version of this often underrated e-book reader software.

I don't think much anything has changed from the last beta, so this here is new since TomeRaider 2: Categories/Filters for database queries, image support, accelerated full text searches, better and faster compression, full html support, DRM and encryption.

TomeRaider is optimized for large text files and dictionary lookups. For instance, you could convert the Wikipedia database to a highly optimized, searchable .tr3 file.
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Old 10-22-2004, 03:41 PM   #2
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Did someone already install this release? I'd be curious to hear how it compares to iSilo and Plucker.
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Old 10-23-2004, 10:35 AM   #3
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I've installed it, and like the last beta, was suitably unimpressed.

  1. No HTML support. It can't import HTML, it can't export HTML. You can't drag and drop HTML files onto the GUI, you can't export from a browser to TomeRaider format. Nothing. I keep hearing this rumor that TomeRaider supports HTML, but I can't find that anywhere in the GUI, help files or documentation. The only mention of HTML in the manual, is that "TR3 now supports the HTML language as its main scripting tool." It then goes on to say, "Some aspects of this are platform dependent." In other words, TomeRaider cannot support HTML files. If the language is platform dependent, then it isn't HTML, which is platform-agnostic.
  2. The other part that is a bit confusing, is that it purports to support .txt files. Nothing could be farther from the truth in this regard. You cannot take a normal text file, with a .txt extension, and import it into TomeRaider. You have to convert it to their own custom macro language first, before importing. If you have to convert it to a custom macro language (based on tags, similar to HTML), it no-longer is a .txt file. Do you expect a LaTeX document to be classified as .txt, even thought it is actually human-readible text? No. The same applies with the rest of the world's document formats (.xml, .html, .dtd, and so on). If the document consists of text, but has its own custom "extensions" to that, it should no longer be called a .txt file. Is a .rtf file text, because you can load it in Notepad.exe and read it? No.
  3. It doesn't support a good 90% or more of TomeRaider v2 files. Go ahead, try it. Go to MemoWare and pick up any .tr file from there. I tried about 20 of them before I gave up. Its importer sees the file, and then tries to import it, but fails with an error that it couldn't compile.
  4. It fails to export its own TomeRaider3 Manual (which ships with the product) to .tr (TomeRaider v2) format. I tried this on 5 different clean versions of Microsoft Windows (98se, NT4, 2000, XP and 2003), all patched to current, and it crashes the GUI every time, with no warning, error message, or indication of success or failure. It leaves the output file on disk at 0-bytes.
Until TomeRaider can either support HTML, or support text, or stop crashing inexplicably, it makes no sense to use it. There are far-better readers out there that support actual text, actual HTML, and many other features that TomeRaider is just beginning to support (such as, cough, images).

If I'm going to spend my time marking up an ebook by hand, I'd much rather spend the time marking it up in XML and writing a quick little DTD so that .xml file renders in a browser, than waste that time converting the ebook to some pseudo-HTML format that only ONE reader can support.

At least with the ebook in a common, standards-compliant, extensible format, I can convert it to whatever else I need after the fact (including converting it to TomeRaider's pseudo-HTML "TrText").

This gets 0 stars in my book.
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Old 10-23-2004, 01:20 PM   #4
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What Tome Raider is good at is handle huge databases, while I didn't test this one extensively, It's the only program currently capable of handling the Wikipedia database at a reasonable pace. On the PPC, TR2 handle it and HTML flawlessly. There's still no TR3 version of Wikipedia, so until then, I decided against upgrading (both Palm/PPC).

For Palm, I hope that they had overcome the previous 30MB limit, there was no mention of this on their website.
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