Offline browser? (as in browse local files...)

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by jtara, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    Is there a true "offline" browser for iPad?

    By "offline" I mean that it should be able to load local files. I would like to be able to copy a whole directory tree of HTML pages (with CSS and Javascript) to the iPad (the app would need to have support for copying to the app's sandbox by dragging to iTunes, or better still over WiFi from a file server) and then browse that. I'd be happy if it would just load index.html from the root of the directory tree.

    In other words, just what would happen if you were to point Safari or Firefox on your Mac or PC to a local .html file.

    I'm being a bit cagey here because I have a specific use in mind, I'm a developer, and I might just write the app if it hasn't been done. If it doesn't exist, I would probably customize it for this specific use. I have the need myself, though, so if something already exists that will come close to what I want, I'll probably just use that, and perhaps suggest a variation for my use case to the developer. Perhaps they'd agree that the use case deserves it's own app, and produce a modified version and save me the trouble.

    Atomic Browser has an "offline" mode, but it doesn't do quite what I want. It will allow you to save pages for offline reading. But I want to access a whole "site". I do NOT need to load the site off of the Internet and adjust the URLs, though. It would be pre-packaged as local files, with links that only point within the directory tree.

    Actually, I can see a lot of uses for this besides my own use case - for example, it could be used to display, say, a store catalog for in-store use.

    Yes, I know there are "app generators" that will "turn your web site or RSS feed into an app", but that's not what I want, either. I want to be able to update the files periodically, and have multiple self-contained directory trees that I can choose from.
  2. john33 macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2010
    offline reader would be nice

    Did you ever decide to work on this? I have run across a similar situation. I have a bunch of html files that live in a nested set of directories that come from the Scrapbook addon to Firefox. If I try to open the .html file in one directory it works. Scrapbook can generate a top-level .html file that has relative links to the other directories and their contents, links being of the form ../directory/file.html, and the iPad is unable to open the relative links because of the way the files are stored in the iPad.
  3. ojobson macrumors newbie


    Nov 18, 2009
    I need this.

    We are looking at providing our sales team with iPads to help them to present to customers.. the problem is the expense of having a custom app built - combined with the cost of hardware, it's a large outlay in one step and the app may not be well received, leading to expensive reengineering of the app.

    However, we DO have web developers in house - so the ideal solution would be a site we could load on to the ipad's. We can then tweak the 'site' cheaply and then if feedback is positive and we have learned what customers respond well to, then maybe we might look at spending the money to build an app in order to take advantage of the full ipad interface (pinch etc).

    It needs to be stored locally on the ipad as our sales team are frequently in areas of poor reception and few companies allow visitors on to the corporate iefi networks.

    I would love an app that could render a local site directory and I think a lot of people are probably in a similar situation too.
  4. ojobson macrumors newbie


    Nov 18, 2009
    Did I mention we would be willing to pay for it? I think you could charge up to £20 for a full corporate version of this app as it would still be great value compared to the cost of hiring specialist developers. We have a sales team of ten - and would need some apps for the web developers' ipads - so that's over £200..
  5. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    Ojobson, with the iPhone SDK you can create a web view ( browser window in an app..) that points to a local HTML file.
    You could get your web developers to create the content as an offline website, and just create a very small app (few lines of code, many tutorials found online) that points to a local HTML file of your content/ presentation.

    creating an app that does this should only take someone an hour or 2... And this would be for someone who has no experience, and most of it would be for setting up things.
  6. Lagranger macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2010
    There's an app I use that sounds a lot like what is being discussed -- HTML Runtime.

    The idea is that you wrap your folder of HTML/CSS/etc content in a zip file and transfer it to the app's document area via standard iTunes USB sharing. When the app runs, it uncompresses everything and acts as a local browser for those files.

    I haven't bothered to see if it will do JavaScript, but if it's just using a standard UIWebView (i.e. iOS's native web engine) then it probably does. The app itself is pretty basic and took a while to figure out (I don't think the author's native language is English), but it does what I want at $0.99.

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