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Old 01-12-2020, 02:43 PM   #1
pazos
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[Android] Calibre Sync (CC alternative)

As you might notice CC has a new owner and somewhat uncertain future on Android.

I found Calibre Sync. This is an abandoned project from 2013/2014 which does implement two of the major features of CC: the wireless device client and the opds client.

I tried to contact the developer showing my intent of updating it and releasing it on F-Droid.

Until the developer gives feedback I cannot release a binary, but I updated the project to work with latest android studio tools and latest sdk and is better than I thought.

It has some bugs and some memory leaks, uses some deprecated apis and it is pretty limited presenting information to users. But for a 2013 program it seems really well designed and after bumping some things I got it working ok in android 10 emulator.

Now I'm looking for other people interested in contributing with the project (or another if the copyright holder denies us access to its source). There are a few things that need work.

If you're interested (as helper or developer) please send me a private message and we can talk.

I'm not really a hardcore calibre user nor a hardcore CC user and this has lower priority for me than other hobbies, but I would love to see a opensource alternative reaching stability before CC is turned into a subscription model business.

Last edited by pazos; 01-12-2020 at 02:50 PM. Reason: fix some broken english, sorry :p
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:49 AM   #2
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https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...udios&hl=en_GB
is still sold but is broken for dropbox
maybe Litlcode studios are contactable and open for collobaration

i believe it was a decent app until they failed to upgrade for dropbox new APi.

also, vanished from play store but still in amazon store
Calibre Cloud Pro by Intrepid Logic
same problem - dropbox access is broken, rendering it useless - but those apps will have the content server bit covered, which you need
there is nothing under developer info at amazon though so he may not be easy to find
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:04 AM   #3
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Thanks stumped but these are closed source apps.

About dropbox, it is something that, IMO, has nothing to do with calibre. It is cool if applications use it but I won't.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:11 AM   #4
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yes, I am aware they are closed source, but as they are inactive/broken, the owners may consider sharing ?


i guess CC breaks down in to the librarian function, and the connection functions
for the latter, ideally, there is
connect to content server, or alt. ODPS server,
connect AS wireless device,
connect to ( various) clouds.
different users will have different wishlists/priorities
dunno if some sort of poll would help to assess interests ?
or if there's mileage in having a pair of replacements that can work together - one for library, one for connects ?

the alt apps seem to have chosen only to offer connect to (calibre libraries in) clouds, and little or nothing of the librarian stuff.
AFAIK all the main issues with android are to do with cloud access & support; the actual connect to calibre itself still works well, as does the handing off to various android reader apps, but there's stuff on the horizon about needing target later versions of android, to keep Google Play happy ( detailed in other threads)

Last edited by stumped; 01-13-2020 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:50 PM   #5
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yes, I am aware they are closed source, but as they are inactive/broken, the owners may consider sharing ?


i guess CC breaks down in to the librarian function, and the connection functions
for the latter, ideally, there is
connect to content server, or alt. ODPS server,
connect AS wireless device,
connect to ( various) clouds.
different users will have different wishlists/priorities
dunno if some sort of poll would help to assess interests ?
or if there's mileage in having a pair of replacements that can work together - one for library, one for connects ?

the alt apps seem to have chosen only to offer connect to (calibre libraries in) clouds, and little or nothing of the librarian stuff.
AFAIK all the main issues with android are to do with cloud access & support; the actual connect to calibre itself still works well, as does the handing off to various android reader apps, but there's stuff on the horizon about needing target later versions of android, to keep Google Play happy ( detailed in other threads)
The google restrictions are there but won't be too much of a trouble from an app distributed in F-droid (which can target lower API levels). Anyways a workaround that still works in the latest api is in https://github.com/pazos/filesResolver.

The integration with closed source document providers is something I, personally, do not care and has nothing to do with calibre itself.

I'm aware that CC works great in its core functionality. My only concern is that the new developer adds a subscription model and flags legacy versions to not pass google license verifications.

What I will do will be a barebones implementation of core functions of CC. If others want to extend it to support other things then amazing, if not at least we can have an alternative on F-droid.

I didn't receive anwser to the license question yet. I hope I will in the future, but I'm not in a hurry. Did play a bit with the code and I think a major refactor is needed:

- use a 3rd party library like retrofit or okhttp to communicate with the smart app driver instead of custom code.

- implement a metadata view, instead of opening the book directly when selected.

- fix memory leaks in the AsyncDownloader class, probably by firing a general purpose service to do aync downloads from the opds server.

And a bunch of things more.

In the meanwhile I'm still using CC. But having an alternative is a good thing. And while KOReader does the 3 things we're talking about (wireless client, opds client and dropbox client) is not its purpose, and an app tailored for these tasks will be easier to use and accesible to a broader audience.
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:41 PM   #6
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I don't have the technical skills to help directly, but I hope you succeed, and I would be very willing to help with any user testing.

I would not pay a subscription free for what is basically a convenience. All my reading devices will connect via usb to my calibre pc if all else fails. I like the simplicity of an app that can fetch stuff wirelessly, it not enough to pay a monthly fee for it.
In fact, having been tipped off about it, moon reader will get stuff into my tablets wirelessly for free via odps, if my library pc is running
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:23 PM   #7
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It isn't suitable for Android use (because Go), but I created a wireless client UNCaGED that can be used for inspiration.

The calibre wireless device uses a custom protocol built upon TCP. It's basically JSON over TCP, with a bit of 'packet' framing. The format is basically:
123[0,{"some": "json"}], where 123 is the size of the following payload in bytes, 0 is an opcode, and the rest is JSON. Technically, the opcode and json object is also a JSON array...

Everything is text, including the payload size, which is a bit of a PITA to decode.

So, you have to roll your own communications code I'm afraid. No HTTP to be seen unfortunately.

EDIT: It's also a relatively chatty protocol. Lots of ACKS, but not for everything. Keep-alive messages etc.
EDIT2: Wireshark is your friend. It really helped me figure out the proper order of things.

Last edited by sherman; 01-19-2020 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:36 PM   #8
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It isn't suitable for Android use (because Go), but I created a wireless client UNCaGED that can be used for inspiration.

The calibre wireless device uses a custom protocol built upon TCP. It's basically JSON over TCP, with a bit of 'packet' framing. The format is basically:
123[0,{"some": "json"}], where 123 is the size of the following payload in bytes, 0 is an opcode, and the rest is JSON. Technically, the opcode and json object is also a JSON array...

Everything is text, including the payload size, which is a bit of a PITA to decode.

So, you have to roll your own communications code I'm afraid. No HTTP to be seen unfortunately.

EDIT: It's also a relatively chatty protocol. Lots of ACKS, but not for everything. Keep-alive messages etc.
EDIT2: Wireshark is your friend. It really helped me figure out the proper order of things.
Hi sherman, thanks for the feedback. I was aware of your UNCaGED project.


While is not impossible to use that in android is probably more work than repurposing https://github.com/sengjea/calibre-s...reService.java

The code there is old and some methods need to be updated (for example the way to get free space on the device is broken in modern android versions) but the protocol seem to work fine on my tests. My proposal would be using that as a base and, eventually, reduce boilerplate by using one of these wonderful square libraries, like https://github.com/square/moshi.

Anyways, if you want to port your UNCaGED project to android I would be happy to help. I have some experience in JNI/native apps, learned while trying to figure out how NativeActivity worked in the context of koreader.
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Old 01-20-2020, 04:25 PM   #9
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Anyways, if you want to port your UNCaGED project to android I would be happy to help. I have some experience in JNI/native apps, learned while trying to figure out how NativeActivity worked in the context of koreader.
I'm afraid I have very little (ok... none) experience developing mobile apps, so I'm probably not going to be of much assistance I'm afraid.

Also, my Java is very rusty. I had to use it for a class once, but I haven't used it since.
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