Creating apps out of website dumps?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Yixian, May 30, 2010.

  1. Yixian macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    Location:
    Europe
    #1
    Hey guys,

    I was wondering if anyone knows of a way to take the content of a website and turn it into an app? Basically what I mean is, doing what apps like AllofWiki Offline do for wikipedia (downloading a dump of the entire English wikipedia and allowing you to navigate it offline) for other wesbties.

    I'm a medical student and I would love to be able to turn some of the resources I use online every day into a database app I can use offline, rather than just instapapering each individual page.

    Is there an app for that? Or is it doable for an amateur via the SDK?
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    1) Check what you are doing is legal. Wikipedia is OK: their licensing allows for that sort of use. My SELOC Tech Wiki app is similar: the licensing of the content allows it and I have explicit agreement from SELOC for that app. You content may be different: redistributing it via an app may well be copyright infringement.

    2) Yes, its certainly do-able by an amateur. Whilst I am a professional developer my app-store stuff is purely a hobby. The basic approach I took was to scrape the site in question into a series of HTML files (with a quite a bit of processing to view correctly on the iPhone and make my life easy when intercepting links to push new view controllers) and some plist files. Once your scraper is working (my first one was 286 lines of perl, I am working on a new, much cleverer one in Cocoa) then you move on to the app. Mine just uses table views for navigation, webviews for the content and image views for the image viewer. All fairly basic. The complexity is in the customised UI to get the colours I want but that's clearly not really required.
     
  3. Jinkst macrumors 6502

    Jinkst

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Location:
    London via Sydney
    #3
    Take a look at the "Offline Pages" app. Might be what you're looking for.
     
  4. Yixian thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    Location:
    Europe
    #4
    I offline pages but I was thinking of something more like a standalone app that let's me brwose/search a database dump of a website.

    Robbieduncan, thanks for the explanation, that sounds a bit too advanced for me though, and you're right about legality although I was only planning on using it for myself.
     

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