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Old 05-29-2013, 10:05 AM   #1
TaoDao
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E-ink optimized browser

Hi everyone,
I have the Aura HD. It works very well for me, but that's not what this thread is about.

The thing is, I like e-readers I like the internet I like to browse the internet on my e-reader But, you see, the experimental browser on the Kobo has one big problem (aside from being very basic feature-wise), and it's scrolling. Scrolling is a terrible way to move across content on an e-reader because of the screen refresh rates and the black-white flicker.

Honestly, I believe e-readers have a potential to be some of the best web-browsing devices around, especially for sober reference sites such as Wikipedia. E-reader web browsing could be infinitely better with the simplest tweak: break the web page into screen sized pages that we can flip through like a book.

I wonder if a QT application that does this is available, or that any developer would take an interest in creating one, or customizing an existing browser.

This sounds so simple that I find it hard to believe that I should be the first to bring it up. But I've done searches and came up with nothing. I guess the problem is that it is hard to describe in a few search terms. My apologies if the topic has been discussed extensively.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:18 AM   #2
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My Sony T1 works for very basic web browsing and it has pinch zoom. It is better if web site is set up for browsing from phone or tablet. Highlight a word for definition and one of the options in tree that pops up is Wikipedia. My Kobo touch web browser is unusable with latest firmware but was sort of usable with the prior firmware.

Kobo doesn't seem interested in developing a better web browser so it would have to be open source browser per your inquiry.

This topic should be moved to Kobo Developer's Corner.

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=247

Last edited by filmo; 05-29-2013 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
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Well, in all fairness, the browser is an extra. But I wouldn't begrudge that pinch to zoom function if they managed to integrate it across the whole offering, or at least browser and PDF reading. Preferably with a zoom lock option.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechniSol View Post
Well, in all fairness, the browser is an extra. But I wouldn't begrudge that pinch to zoom function if they managed to integrate it across the whole offering, or at least browser and PDF reading. Preferably with a zoom lock option.
+1
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Old 05-30-2013, 04:37 AM   #5
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EDIT: I don't know if QtWeb runs on an ARM machine... check Arora:
http://packages.debian.org/stable/arora

You can try QtWeb:
http://qtweb.net/

Last edited by Lucas Malor; 05-30-2013 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:19 AM   #6
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With all due respect, I think you are missing the point

The idea is to have a browser where you can flip through the pages instead of scrolling through them.

Questions:
  1. Do you think that this tweak alone would make browsing on an e-reader viable?
  2. Have you seen it being discussed before? If yes, do you have a link?
  3. Do you think there are any major technical hurdles to modify an existing open source browser and put it on the Kobo?
  4. If you feel up to it, are you motivated to do it?

Thanks for your interest
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:55 AM   #7
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Ok, I had not understood what you were asking. Since Arora is based on webkit, I think it can support Google Chrome extensions, and there's one that allow you to turn pages instead of scrolling them:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/d...igoaecbmbnmfkc

Answers:

1. I hope.
2. Nope.
3. Yes. Reinventing the wheel is more hard
3. Well, no ^^ I'm very busy. I think a3nm could be interested, he's finding a way to read wikipedia offline, on a SD card: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=214340

Last edited by Lucas Malor; 05-30-2013 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:05 PM   #8
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the kobo aura hd is capable of reading html files side-loaded onto the device. and with this method of loading html files, it works like a book where you flip pages. you don't need to scroll down. so the tweak would be to download the web page as a file and open it as if it was a book instead of using the experimental browser? or use the experimental browser to download the page as normal, and the tweak would be to save it as a file, then re-open the file as you would a book?
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:02 PM   #9
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No offense intended, but don't you see a boundary problem in deciding how/where to automatically divide pages based on a variety of assorted layouts? I simply do not see this as a universally desirable solution say with three columns pages and a two part divide, etc. I suppose one could hope for intelligent code based on intervening white spaces, etc. but that's a lot more complicated than a user controlled zoom level.

The idea of allowing the user to pick the zoom level, lock it and either scroll or then jump to the next section based on the size the user picks makes much more sense to me. I agree the scrolling is a bit silly with e-ink, but depending on page layout and screen size it does offer the most user control.

Personally, I'd rather see someone work on the zoom, zoom lock, and landscape mode. Frankly, I'd like to see landscape as a feature in the regular readers available on Kobos. It would be especially helpful for maximizing text size on single column layout pages without having to scroll horizontally.
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:56 PM   #10
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There are web browsers out there that have a "reader mode", which uses heuristics to decide which part of the website is the "main text". Safari has it, Firefox has an addon (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/reader/) and I'm guessing some other browsers have it.
Once "main text" has been identified, simply showing it (as plaintext) could be the way to go...

I agree it would be a great feature
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:24 AM   #11
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Sorry, it just seems a hopelessly overly complex method to solve a very simple problem. I'll decide what the most important part of a page is to me, thank you.
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Old 05-31-2013, 05:14 AM   #12
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I can see that this would be better for some web sites than others. Forums could be a challenge. While some sort of mechanism to determine the main text of a web page could be useful, I could also see a renderer that just zooms a web page to fit the width of the e-reader, then crops so that each element fits on the page. It could be messy for fancier pages with sidebars and such, but I could see it working well for Wikipedia, Google, forums...
We could also start from the mobile version of a web page, if such exists.
I'm also thinking of text based browsers such as Lynx, and algorithms such as Greasemonkey.
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Old 05-31-2013, 05:57 AM   #13
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sorry, double post
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:43 AM   #14
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What I want from an e-ink web browser would be:
1. Page up/down buttons or gesture
2. Readability built-in
3. Ads remover

I really like the way Klip.me retry the content of a page, it handles forum posts nicely and doesn't use a middle-server for this task. Too bad there is no public api for this service, just a bookmarklet to use with their service.
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Old 05-31-2013, 02:33 PM   #15
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@sysKin: your link is very interesting, but you can simply use the mobile version:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
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