I'm hoping this forum is a proper place for this message. My apologies
if it is not.
XOWA is a new open-source offline Wikipedia app which I wrote in my
spare time over the past 20 months. You can view screenshots here (
http://sourceforge.net/projects/xowa ) or here (
http://imgur.com/a/OydBK/layout/blog ). Its notable features are:
* It is a full-fledged offline HTML reader for English Wikipedia (or
any other Wikimedia Foundation wiki)
* It works directly against the data-dump files (such as those at
* It downloads images from Wikimedia on demand (or locally from a
Wikimedia image tarball at
* It can edit offline articles (to update content, correct vandalism
or just to experiment)
* It navigates between offline wikis (Click on "Look up this word in
Wiktionary" and it will open your offline version of Wiktionary)
I'm posting here because I'm looking for feedback. So far, I have a
few good users, and one exceptional user from German Wikipedia
(Schnark: who added MathJax and sortable/collapsible tables). I'm
currently looking for others who will try offline images, test English
Wikipedia, or review wikis in other languages.
The most recent version of XOWA is contained in one zip file. It takes
one click and about 3 minutes to download Simple Wikipedia for offline
use. XOWA also has a page that lists 596 other wikis that can be set
up with one click. English Wikipedia is the largest and it will take
between 4 and 5 hours, but most of that time is to download and unzip
the 9 GB .bz2 file.
If you're interested and have some time, please give XOWA a try. I
post Windows-specific instructions below. XOWA also works on Linux
(and possibly Mac OS X), so if you want to run on that OS, the
instructions are similar except you will need to run "java -jar
xowa_linux.jar" or "java -d32 -DstartOnFirstThread -jar
If you have questions or comments or problems, please post and I will reply.
Thanks for your attention.
* 1 GB free space: XOWA (5 MB) + XUL Runner (32 MB) + Simple Wikipedia
(500 MB) + ImageMagick/Inkscape (400 MB)
* Windows XP or higher
* Java 1.6 or Java 1.7. If Java is not installed on your machine, you
can get it from http://www.java.com/en/download
* Download xowa_app_windows_v0.2.2.0.zip from
* Unzip the file to C:\xowa. When you are done, you should have a file
called C:\xowa\xowa.exe as well as many other files and directories
* Double-click C:\xowa\xowa.exe. The app should launch and the XOWA
Main Page should load.
* Click the link for "Set up Simple Wikipedia". Wait about 3 minutes
for the wiki to download and install. When it is finished, it will
open Simple Wikipedia
* Browse Simple Wikipedia. When you are done, click on the Main Page
link under XOWA in the left hand navigation bar.
* Click the link for "Set up images (Windows)". Wait about 3 minutes
for the image programs to install.
* Click on Page history on the left hand nav
* Select Main_Page for simple.wikipedia.org. Images will now download
automatically for any page you visit. Here are some example pages to
visit (you can copy and paste these into the address bar):
architecture", "simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn (planet)"
* If you want to try other wikis, click on "list of data dumps" on the
XOWA Main Page
We have a name collision between our project openZIM and an other
project called Zim-wiki:
* Zim-wiki (http://zim-wiki.org/), a local wiki solution
* openZIM (http://www.openzim.org), a file format to store offline web
Zim-wiki is a little bit older than openZIM, so it seems to be "our
fault". Although this problem is not new, this starts to be a real
problem. For example for Debian which currently tries to package our
I would propose the name the package like "libopenzim", but this is more
a workaround than a real solution.
You have maybe more ideas about how to fix this issue?
I have made a small start, writing some hack code to open a ZIM file and
it gets to the point of needing to uncompress a cluster. A start has
been made on the needed XZ decompress code but it's not done yet.
If practical then this could provide a portable offline reader that
could suit any device with a modern web browser, and provide a reader
for Android tablets, and Firefox OS, etc. Perhaps even node.js servers.
If someone has already tried this and found the performance to be too
poor then please let me know?
Btw: has adding thumbnail image support to the ZIM file format been
considered? This would be very handy for a ZIM file selector in a
tablet or phone UI.
We have reached a new peak in our audience last month!
We delivered 70.000 copies of Kiwix from our Website:
* 40.000 "nacked" tarballs
* 30.000 bundles (with a Wikipedia ZIM file)
A few Wikipedia communities put notices and this really helped to advert
Wikipedia Offline. We also received thousands of user feedbacks telling
us and thanking us for helping them having an encyclopedia although they
do not (always) have access to internet.
If you have ideas to help us spreading Wikipedia offline, feel free to
implement them. Your help is really welcome.