Web-clipping software

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Web clipping software are tools to download web site content for reading when not connected to the internet.


[edit] Overview

You use one of these Web clipping programs to extract the web site for reading on a stand alone device. Each tool has its own way of defining what content to grab, but generally one needs to specify a source page, whether or not to clip images, a link depth (how many levels of hyperlinks to be followed from the original page), and optional filters for excluding unwanted content.

Some tools also provide content clipping based on RSS feeds, and even link rewrites. Rewriting links can be useful, for example, to jump directly to the "print friendly" versions of a web page which is much more readable on a mobile device. Some tools also extract and the content to get the relevant text only, such as Mobipocket Web Companion or Upvise Mobile News.

Some tools can follow a link and extract content even if the link is on another site. This is particularly useful to get the full article if the RSS feed only has a synopsis.

[edit] The Process

Typically, a set of clipping rules is defined, and then each day the clipped material is made available for the mobile device. It is generally saved in a compressed format specific to a specific reader. For example, clips from SunriseXP or Plucker extractors are saved in Plucker format, and so they are read with a Plucker-compatible reader program. iSiloX has a similar reader called iSilo which is installed on the device. Some programs have desktop versions of the reader in case you want to read the content from a full Windows or Linux computer.

iSiloX and SunriseXP provide the ability to simply go to the web page in a browser and clip the content directly. This is very convenient if you find content of interest, but want to read about it later on a mobile device. You can also highlight the specific content and just grab that particular part.

Check out Evernote for clipping whole pages, articles, photos for viewing on the web, on your phone, or on your desktop. I use it to synchronize notes between my desktop and laptop! Available as a fully functional free program for storing up to 40 MB per month or you can purchase the premium version for more storage and features.

[edit] extraction

Web clipping extraction can be performed either on :

  • a client PC (iSiloX or Plucker for example). It requires the clipping software to be always running in the background and the PC connected to the Internet
  • on a server (AvantGo or Upvisefor example). It provides more efficient clipping and caching but requires more powerfull server and bandwith infrastructure

[edit] Send the files

Clipped Content can be sent to the mobile device:

  • via a USB cable connected to the client PC where clipping took place. This is the case with most clipping tools
  • wirelessly using Wifi or GPRS / 3G from the server to the mobile device (usually a mobile or smart phone). This is the case for Upvise and AvantGo. The advantage is that the user does not have to connect a cable to his desktop computer each time he wants to get fresh content.

[edit] Software

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