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Old 12-04-2018, 08:31 AM   #1
mtjj
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Equivalent of Calibre Companion for Windows

So, I understand that Calibre Companion will never be ported to Windows. My question is to those (few?) of you with Windows tablets, what do you use instead?

Basically I want something that allows me to connect to Calibre Content Server when I'm at home, browse by category / name / author, etc. download locally, disconnect, browse the books I have locally stored when I'm not online and choose what to read.

I haven't found any windows e-reader app / program that can connect to the content server, so I'm limited to the web interface, which is..... limited.... shall we say. And I've tried a few different reader apps / programs but most seem to be basic readers only without maintaining a local library that I can browse.

If I really have to, I will use calibre itself on my windows tablet and use one of the (not recommended) sync solutions people have hacked together, but I prefer not to do this because the UI is really not optimized for tablet usage (and I don't ask it to be). I'd also prefer not to have my entire library on the tablet, I just want a few chosen books each time I travel.

Basically I'm looking for something that does exactly what CC does on Android - does anything like this exist for windows?
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:46 AM   #2
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you can use the calibre content server with any modern browser, it has thta capability built in
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:24 AM   #3
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I use a Surface Pro 4 and have the full version of Calibre installed. My library is on a flash drive that I back up constantly. I use the native Calibre eBook Viewer to read with too.
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtjj View Post
Basically I'm looking for something that does exactly what CC does on Android - does anything like this exist for windows?
Have you tried running CC under one of the Android Emulators, here's a list of them ==>> 16 Best Android Emulators for Windows 10. I've used BlueStacks and LeapDroid but not for CC. IMO LeapDroid was the best windows emulator, but Google have assassinated it

You might also want to have a look at the this optional plugin ==>> CalibreSpy

BR
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I use a Surface Pro 4 and have the full version of Calibre installed. My library is on a flash drive that I back up constantly. I use the native Calibre eBook Viewer to read with too.
Apache
I use a similar approach except:
1. I've been using a smaller 8" Windows table (Dell Venue 8 Pro) and now I'm using a 10" Surface Go.
2. I use Freda as my ereader.

I normally export from calibre (Save to Disk...) to a folder that I reserve for the purpose and then access the exported ebook from Freda. Freda has a method of connecting to calibre's Content Server, but I've not used it. Freda is a free download from the Windows Store so you should take a look at it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
you can use the calibre content server with any modern browser, it has thta capability built in
Yes, but unfortunately the browser experience isn't as good as that through calibre companion. Three big callouts:
- I can sort by author's name, but not drill down by letter. So if I know I want an author whose name begins with "S", I have to page through page after page to get to S. (Or type the author's name in the search, which is easy if it's Wilbur Smith, a pain if it's Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)
- I can't drill down by other metadata fields such as series
- I can't see which books I have already downloaded. This is a big one for me.

This isn't a criticism, by the way, I'm not expecting the browser experience to be the same. I think the preferred flow is that the user would use a third party tool rather than the browser?
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtjj View Post
Yes, but unfortunately the browser experience isn't as good as that through calibre companion. Three big callouts:
- I can sort by author's name, but not drill down by letter. So if I know I want an author whose name begins with "S", I have to page through page after page to get to S. (Or type the author's name in the search, which is easy if it's Wilbur Smith, a pain if it's Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)
- I can't drill down by other metadata fields such as series
- I can't see which books I have already downloaded. This is a big one for me.

This isn't a criticism, by the way, I'm not expecting the browser experience to be the same. I think the preferred flow is that the user would use a third party tool rather than the browser?
The last (downloaded ebooks) is not doable but the first two should be (via advanced search).
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BetterRed View Post
Have you tried running CC under one of the Android Emulators, here's a list of them ==>> ...

You might also want to have a look at the this optional plugin ==>> CalibreSpy

BR
Thanks, I've been trying to avoid emulators, but I'll check out calibrespy

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwig View Post

Freda is a free download from the Windows Store so you should take a look at it.
Freda I haven't tried (I tried alfareader, lucidor, fb reader, and a few beginning with "B"). I'll check it out!
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:28 PM   #9
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I recently downloaded Freda and have been trying it out. I do like it and it has a great many options for customizing my reading experience. In some ways I do like being able to stay in Cailbre and read my books, but I am seriously considering changing to Freda for reading.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtjj View Post
Yes, but unfortunately the browser experience isn't as good as that through calibre companion. Three big callouts:
- I can sort by author's name, but not drill down by letter. So if I know I want an author whose name begins with "S", I have to page through page after page to get to S. (Or type the author's name in the search, which is easy if it's Wilbur Smith, a pain if it's Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)
- I can't drill down by other metadata fields such as series
- I can't see which books I have already downloaded. This is a big one for me.

This isn't a criticism, by the way, I'm not expecting the browser experience to be the same. I think the preferred flow is that the user would use a third party tool rather than the browser?
This is a bit confusing at first

In the content server Click Search: click Authors: Click the LETTER, not the arrow
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:16 AM   #11
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the browser has the full equivalent of the tag browser in calibre, as theducks pointed out.

While the browser is never going to be as nice as calibre itself, it should be fairly similar to dedicated touchscreen apps.
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Old 12-05-2018, 05:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwig View Post
I use a similar approach except:
1. I've been using a smaller 8" Windows table (Dell Venue 8 Pro) and now I'm using a 10" Surface Go.
2. I use Freda as my ereader.

I normally export from calibre (Save to Disk...) to a folder that I reserve for the purpose and then access the exported ebook from Freda. Freda has a method of connecting to calibre's Content Server, but I've not used it. Freda is a free download from the Windows Store so you should take a look at it.
(Disclaimer: I am the developer of Freda, so don't expect me to give disinterested advice!)
Instructions for connecting to Content Server using Freda are here: http://www.turnipsoft.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=7

You've alternatively got the option of telling Calibre to use Freda as its reader application (while keeping Calibre for searching, navigating and tagging your book collection) - you do that by (1) telling Windows that Freda is the default app for opening books of type EPUB (and MOBI and FB2 if you use those as well) (2) telling Calibre that, for EPUB (MOBI, FB2) books it should use the system's default reader instead of the Calibre in-built reader. I'll record a HOW-TO video and link to it from http://www.turnipsoft.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=2 just as soon as I'm sitting at a suitable machine.

By the way, though Freda does have features for tagging, sorting and filtering your library, I would still recommend that, for serious library-management, you use Calibre. Calibre has a better UI for managing category tags, and will cope well with large libraries (which Freda does not).

Freda is available for Android tablets and phones (on Google Play Store), and for Windows PCs, tablets (and phones if you can find any) on the Windows Store.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by theducks View Post
This is a bit confusing at first

In the content server Click Search: click Authors: Click the LETTER, not the arrow
Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
the browser has the full equivalent of the tag browser in calibre, as theducks pointed out.

While the browser is never going to be as nice as calibre itself, it should be fairly similar to dedicated touchscreen apps.
My mistake! I seem to have missed this functionality
It's still not the right tool for browsing what I've downloaded locally though as well as what's on the server.
(Also, it seems a bit odd that once I click through to an author, hitting back or clearing the search doesn't return me to the screen I was on, instead it returns me to the home page. I need to click search again to be taken back to the search page I was on. But that's not super important.)

Quote:
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(Disclaimer: I am the developer of Freda, so don't expect me to give disinterested advice!)
Instructions for connecting to Content Server using Freda are here: http://www.turnipsoft.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=7
...
I installed Freda and got it connected just by clicking on the calibre button and filling in the fields - well done. Seriously, I tried 4-5 other windows reader apps that claimed to be able to connect either specifically to calibre or generally to OPDS servers and none of them worked, yours is the first I've managed to get connecting, flawlessly.

Freda is pretty good, there is (of course) just one small problem, it seems that it can't handle PDFs? It seems to display them when I browse the files on calibre content server, but gives an error when I try to download or view them? If Freda does everything except this, it's still good, but unfortunately I need PDF support, one way or another. I might end up having to find another program just for this, which is a pain.....
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:59 AM   #14
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Use the X in the top corner, not back. Or the breadcrumbs bar.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Freda is pretty good, there is (of course) just one small problem, it seems that it can't handle PDFs?
That is true, sadly. The problem is that reading PDFs is complex, and the only good code library for doing it is open source (GPL). Because Freda is not an open source application, I cannot use that library. The alternative code libraries are either very expensive, or rather flaky. Actually, I did try using one of the latter, but I subsequently abandoned it, because it did too messy a job of decoding PDF documents (words broken up or spliced together oddly, tables laid out at random, images appearing in the wrong places or not at all, page numbers and headers popping up where you did not want to see them ... ).

But if you want to read a PDF book that is already in your Calibre library, you could consider using Calibre's conversion feature, to convert it into EPUB. That will give decent results (certainly much better than Freda's attempts at presenting PDF content, back when Freda used to attempt to display PDF content).
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