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DOC File Module

The DOC file format is the standard way of storing text files on a handheld. You will need a DOC reader in order to see any DOC file you have loaded onto your device. There are several ones listed below. To create DOC files, there are many programs already out there that will work for you. Additionally, you can use Twister, which just uses PHP and this PHP-PDB library to create DOC files from plain text files, web pages, and files from Project Gutenberg.

Including into your program

include '';
include 'modules/';

Creating a new database

DOC files already have a specified type and creator ID. The only thing that is left for you to specify is the name of the document you wish to create.

$DB = new PalmDoc("Name Of Document");
  // Typical usage to create a compressed DOC file

$DB = new PalmDoc("Uncompressed DOC", false);
  // This is how you create an uncompressed DOC file

$pdb = new PalmDoc();
  // Special:  If you want to create an instance of the class
  // and then use ReadFile() to load the database information

Writing the database

This is the same as the base class. See the API for more information.

If the $pdb was set to be a compressed file, the contents will be transparently compressed. Also, you can further manipulate the text normally after writing -- it will just be recompressed every time you write the database if the contents were changed.

Loading the database

This is the same as the base class. See the API for more information.

Category Support and Record Attributes

DOC files do not support categories nor record attributes.

Adding Bookmarks

In DOC files, there are two ways to make bookmarks -- stored and embedded. Stored bookmarks are where additional records are added to the output file. These are nicer to use, and most DOC readers support them. Embedded bookmarks are embedded in the text and require the DOC reader to scan the entire DOC file the first time you read it. They use a unique character at the beginning of a line to mark that line as a bookmark. Then, to signify which character is the "bookmark" character, you include it at the end of the DOC file in angle brackets.

Make sure to just pick one type of bookmarks to use! In the tests that I have performed, it appears that if the bookmark reader can handle both types of bookmarks, it will only search for embedded bookmarks if there are no stored bookmarks.

If you decide to use embedded bookmarks, be very careful of the bookmark character that you pick, because some doc readers don't check to see if that character is at the beginning of a line before blindly adding it to the bookmark list. If you pick a character like an apostrophe or a period, then you are potentially in for a huge surprise.

Stored bookmark names are limited to 15 characters. The maximum length for embedded bookmark names could vary.

Doc Readers and Results of Bookmark Test

This list is not a comprehensive list of DOC readers. If you know of a DOC reader that is not yet on this list, just email me the program name and URL, and I'll test it to see what kinds of bookmarks are supported. You can also see my test here.

Program Stored Embedded Notes
AportisDoc 2.2.3 Yes Yes The one that started it all
CSpotRun 1.1 Yes No Freeware, open source
iSilo 3.05 Yes No Paid version of iSilo
iSilo Free 1.5 No No Free version of iSilo
MiniWrite 1.4 Yes No DOC reader / writer
QED 2.62 Yes Yes DOC reader / writer
ReadThemAll 1.65 No No
RichReader 1.62 Freeware Yes No Free version of RichReader
Smoothy 1.5.0 Yes No
SuperDoc 1.4 Yes Yes
TealDoc 4.51D Yes Yes

Other functions

AddBookmark($name, $position = false)

If $position is specified, adds a bookmark at $position bytes into the file. This is the uncompressed count of bytes, not the number of bytes of compressed text.

If $position is not specified, adds a bookmark at the current position. I strongly recommend using this form.

$name is limited to 15 characters and will automatically be trimmed if it is too long.


Adds the specified text to the end of the doc file. To get newlines, use "\n". This function can add single words, entire lines, paragraphs, or all of the text at once. There is no size nor line limit. It would be wise to have less than a few hundred kilobytes of total text, but that's at your discretion.


Erases all text from the document being generated.


Returns a single string (potentially very large) that contains the entire document's text.


$pdb = new PalmDoc("Doc Test");
$pdb->AddText("This is a test.  This is a test of the PHP-PDB DOC class.\n");
$pdb->AddText("This is only a test.\n");
$pdb->AddText("This DOC will be automatically compressed.");

Another example is the bookmark test that I used in order to find out what bookmark types are supported with each listed DOC reader.