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ZIMply is an easy to use, offline reader for Wikipedia - or any other ZIM file - which provides access to them offline through any ordinary browser. ZIMply is written entirely in Python and, as the name implies, relies on ZIM files. Each ZIM file is a bundle containing thousands of articles, images, etc. as found on websites such as Wikipedia. The format is made popular by Kiwix, which is a program to read such files offline on your device. As indicated, ZIMply differs from Kiwix in that it provides access through the browser. It accomplishes this by running its own HTTP server. This furthermore makes it easy to install ZIMply on one device (a server, such as a Raspberry Pi) and access it on others (the clients). To install Python3 on a Raspbian lite distribution it suffices to install the following packages:

sudo apt-get -qq python3 python3-setuptools python3-dev python3-pip

Once you have Python 3 up and running, the easiest way to install ZIMply is through pip:

pip install zimply

When you have both Python 2.* and Python 3.* installed on your system, you may need to replace pip with pip3 depending on your setup. All you need to do then is download a ZIM file from this site and use a command such as: (Be careful! Executing the next command downloads the full English Wikipedia, which is a massive file. Instead, replace the url with your desired ZIM file!)

curl -o wiki.zim

All that's left is for you to create your own Python file to start the server:

from zimply import ZIMServer

That is all there is to it. Using the default settings, you can now access your offline Wiki from http://localhost:9454 - spelling out as :WIKI on a keypad. To access ZIMply from another system, you need to know the IP address of the system that is running ZIMply. You can access it by visiting http://ip_address:9454 where you replace ip_address with the actual IP address.

Note: the first time you run ZIMply, it will take care of creating the index to enable searching. This can take some time. Unless you see error messages, you can assume that it all works as planned and ZIMply will notify you as soon as the index is fully created. The largest ZIM file (the full English Wikipedia) takes about half an hour to index on a core i7 processor, and can take over half a day on a Raspberry Pi Zero. Creating the index is a step that only needs to be done once though, and subsequent restarts of ZIMply will only take a matter of seconds. ZIMply is heavily optimised, and will run comfortably on a Raspberry Pi Zero.

To modify the default settings, simply call ZIMServer with your desired options:

from zimply import ZIMServer
ZIMServer("wiki.zim", index_file="index.idx", template="template.html", ip_address="", port=9454, encoding="utf-8")
# please leave '' to blank("") to serve the ZIM on localhost, or replace it with your real ip_address

Want to tinker with the code yourself? ZIMply depends on gevent (for networking), falcon (for the web service), and mako (for templating). The easiest way to install these dependencies is by using:

sudo pip install gevent falcon mako

As before, when you have both Python 2.* and Python 3.* installed on your system, you may need to replace pip with pip3 depending on your setup.


An easy to use offline reader for ZIM files right in your browser!







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