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Old 12-14-2005, 01:54 PM   #1
Laurens
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Cool Sunrise XP alpha 1 released

I'm pleased to announce the first alpha of Sunrise XP.

Sunrise XP is a reworking of Sunrise. I'm no longer pursuing a commercial venture for this product and am releasing it as freeware.

Highlights
  • Completely rewritten. Smaller, faster and no Java required!
  • Streamlined interface.
  • HotSync conduit
Requirements
  • Windows XP / 2000 / 2003.
  • Pentium II or better
  • 128Mb RAM for common websites. 256Mb for larger documents.
  • HotSync Manager 4 or 6. (Should also work without HotSync installed, but does not work with older HotSync versions.)
This is a bare-bones release, with a small, but useful feature set. The purpose is to gather user feedback. It is not suitable as a replacement for Sunrise 0.42 yet, primarily because it has no support for RSS/Atom feeds, but it should be good enough for converting your favourite web sites.

Of particular note is the reduced memory usage compared to the Java version. You should be able to convert large documents without running into the dreaded "out of memory" error.

That all said, it's still alpha quality, so expect some issues, possibly major, show-stopping ones.

Features not yet available in this alpha:
  • RSS/Atom feed conversion.
  • URL rewriting.
  • Automatic updates through Windows Task Scheduler.
  • Plain text conversion.
  • Wizards for setting up SXLs and documents.
  • Basic CSS support. (Fonts, colors, visibility.)
  • Firefox extension.
  • SDL import for migrating settings from Sunrise to Sunrise XP. (See post below for an intermediate solution.)
  • Help documentation.
These features will be made available throughout the next few months with a stream of monthly alpha and beta releases. (The next alpha is due in the first week of January.) The final 2.0 release will be in late Spring at the earliest. I'm following a strict roadmap for this product and have to make the best of the little time I can spend on it, so don't be disappointed if your feature requests are rejected. I might even get round to finishing work on the PPC version of my viewer (which uses its own format) and release a cut-down version of that as freeware eventually, but this is not a real goal at present since I'm preoccupied with other work.

Update:
Alexander was gracious enough to let me host the file on MobileRead. I also fixed a bug in the generation of URL info for large documents. This release is marked "alpha 1a".

Download:
sunrisexp-2.0-alpha-1a-setup.exe (780Kb)
No longer available. Download alpha 2 instead.

Last edited by Laurens; 01-10-2006 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Updated download link
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:57 PM   #2
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Arrow Getting Started

Since this alpha has no wizard to help you out, you'll have set up things manually.

When you start Sunrise XP for the first time, you'll be presented with a blank SXL.
  1. The first thing you'll want to do is edit the default properties for new documents. Select "Edit->Default Properties"
  2. Change the Image settings to your liking.
  3. Add a Destination for your handheld.

The simplest way to add new documents is to copy/paste URLs from the clipboard.

Here are some sites to get you going:
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:58 PM   #3
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Lightbulb Hints and tips

Some things that might not be obvious immediately:

You can toggle the columns in the main window by right-clicking on the column header and change their layout by dragging them around. Alternatively, select "View -> Choose Details".

You can configure the SXLs to be updated at HotSync through the conduit configuration screen, which can be accessed through the conduit list in HotSync Manager. It should be obvious how this works.
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:59 PM   #4
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Talking Odds and ends

Sunrise XP shares the download cache and cookie store with Internet Explorer. You can manage the cache and cookies through "Internet Options" in Control Panel. To access login-based sites, log in to the site through Internet Explorer, making sure the cookies are saved, then switch to Sunrise XP and check "Send cookies..." on the Advanced tab of the Document Properties. (This is disabled by default.) You don't have to use IE as your main browser, only for obtaining login cookies. The advantage of the IE integration is that cookies are updated automatically, just as if you visited the site through the browser. (The cookies.txt support in Sunrise was read-only, leading to expired logins if you hadn't visited a site through the browser for some time.)

Support for non-Western language encodings (Central-European, Cyrillic, Chinese, Japanese) has not been tested. Actually I cannot test it since I can't read any language in these encodings. Windows-1252 encoding (the default Palm character set) does work. Shift_JIS and Big5 might also work since the Tidy HTML parser is supposed to support these as well. Other encodings like KOI8-R and Windows-1250 might not work. The document output encoding is based on the language you select for the document.

Plucker document support is equal to Sunrise. I did rewrite the entire Plucker creation engine in C++, but chose not to support newer Plucker features, like tables, because I didn't feel it would be worth the effort.
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Old 12-14-2005, 02:07 PM   #5
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Smile Screenshots

Some screenshots:
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 12-14-2005, 04:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurens
Sunrise XP is a reworking of Sunrise. I'm no longer pursuing a commercial venture for this product and am releasing it as freeware.
You rock!
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Old 12-14-2005, 04:25 PM   #7
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SDL to SXL conversion

You can use the attached XSL stylesheet to convert your existing Sunrise SDL to Sunrise XP's SXL format.

Use the msxsl.exe command-line utility to invoke this stylesheet.

Example:
Code:
msxsl mysites.sdl sdl-to-sxl.xsl -o mysites.sxl
This functionality will be integrated in the main application in the future.
Attached Files
File Type: zip sdl-to-xsl.zip (1.1 KB, 378 views)
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Old 12-15-2005, 07:11 PM   #8
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If I can be so bold as to request a feature. Short term, it would be nice if Sunrise could merely download a file and save it to the specified directory/filename (i.e., with no conversion) on a regular basis (scheduled).

The point being it would be really great to have one program that handled all of my news formats. I'm personally not using podcasts b/c I'm too busy to remember to download them on a regular basis, and I've so far refused to install dedicated software to download files on a schedule.

Thanks, I'll be installing the Alpha here soon. My needs are pretty basic, but I've always been a huge fan of your software.

On a side note, I'm working on a (command-line for now) ebook converter that I should be wrapping up in a few days. I'm able to convert between TXT/PML/HTML/Mobipocket (basically HTML) format now. I'd love to discuss your HTML conversion scheme b/c I've found that it's a real bear to do manually.
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Old 12-16-2005, 01:24 AM   #9
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Big Thanks. Will try this later and give feedback...

Last edited by gadgetguru; 12-16-2005 at 01:24 AM. Reason: typo error
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Old 12-16-2005, 04:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdb139
If I can be so bold as to request a feature. Short term, it would be nice if Sunrise could merely download a file and save it to the specified directory/filename (i.e., with no conversion) on a regular basis (scheduled).
Sorry, I'll have to deny this request. This functionality falls outside the scope of the application.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdb139
The point being it would be really great to have one program that handled all of my news formats. I'm personally not using podcasts b/c I'm too busy to remember to download them on a regular basis, and I've so far refused to install dedicated software to download files on a schedule.
I understand, but I want to avoid creating a "Swiss army knife" application. It's fun to implement all sorts of cool features, but maintaining them can be a real burden.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdb139
On a side note, I'm working on a (command-line for now) ebook converter that I should be wrapping up in a few days. I'm able to convert between TXT/PML/HTML/Mobipocket (basically HTML) format now. I'd love to discuss your HTML conversion scheme b/c I've found that it's a real bear to do manually.
TidyLib works really well for me. (Assuming you're using C/C++. There are bindings for other languages available.) Dealing with "HTML soup" manually can be a real pain.
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Old 12-20-2005, 08:00 PM   #11
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I like the program, it works exactly as described. a rare thing these days it seems.
I do have a question though. What do I use to read the file that Sunrise XP outputs?
I have eReader, which I use for my usual needs, but it does not recognize the file I created.
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Old 12-20-2005, 08:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurens
Sunrise XP is a reworking of Sunrise. I'm no longer pursuing a commercial venture for this product and am releasing it as freeware.
So what happened to change your mind on this? For a long time I had already "virtually budgeted" $15 or whatever for your next product, based on Sunrise.

It's a shame because I was looking forward to a new reader for the PPC. There are only a few readers available for the platform today, and none of them are perfect. And none of them provide all the features I had using Vade Mecum with Sunrise. Most are exclusively RSS readers, and of the ones that can cache online content for offline reading, that merely consists of pulling the files down as-is without any conversion or compression. No, I don't consider Avantgo to be a competitor, their "conversion" is mediocre at best, and the client is nothing but a web brower with a few extra menu items. And nothing even tries to match the scripting features in Sunrise.

Maybe we could convince you to reconsider?
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Old 12-21-2005, 04:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tentoes
I like the program, it works exactly as described. a rare thing these days it seems.
I do have a question though. What do I use to read the file that Sunrise XP outputs?
Plucker: http://www.plkr.org/
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Old 12-21-2005, 04:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halr9000
So what happened to change your mind on this? For a long time I had already "virtually budgeted" $15 or whatever for your next product, based on Sunrise.
I came to the conclusion that it's not worth the effort, considering the generally low price of handheld software, weak dollar and rising commissions from Handango/PalmGear. I'm working on something entirely different instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by halr9000
It's a shame because I was looking forward to a new reader for the PPC. There are only a few readers available for the platform today, and none of them are perfect. And none of them provide all the features I had using Vade Mecum with Sunrise.
Well, iSilo is very good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by halr9000
Maybe we could convince you to reconsider?
I might (note: might) eventually get round to finishing work on the PPC version of my viewer and release that as freeware. It will not be as good and full-featured as I had originally intended, since it's no longer a commercial effort, but it will still be useful and definitely better than the Sunrise/Vade Mecum combo.
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Old 12-22-2005, 12:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurens

I settled on that, but it seems to be fine as a stand alone. infact the file I made with Sunrise crashes it, resizes my Tungsten T screen to 25x25 pixels and gives an exeption error. then Lockes it up.
I'm assuming its a configuration issue I haven't figured out yet I do that a lot.

But Plucker works fine, and I an reading away
Thank you
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