Offline Projects/XOWA

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XOWA is a free, open-source offline Wikipedia app that allows a user to have their own copy of a wiki on their hard-drive -- without any internet connection. It works with the latest versions of over 820 database dumps[1] including wikis like English Wikipedia, French Wiktionary, German Wikisource, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, and more.

Use cases[edit]

The following are known XOWA use cases:

  • Technology enthusiasts who are passionate about Wikipedia: XOWA allows a complete, recent copy of Wikipedia on a computer or device. This concept appeals to people who understand the value of Wikipedia and love the idea of having all of it sitting on their computer. XOWA's primary draw here is that it can build a Wikipedia with just the wikitext dump. Of course, some of XOWA's features are particularly distinguishing and attractive in their own right [2].
  • Users with limited network availability who want a Wikipedia experience:
    • The XOWA desktop app reproduces the look and feel of Wikipedia in a browser. This ranges from offering the same page layout (for example, the sidebar on the left) to having similar JavaScript behavior (for example, sortable tables). As such XOWA could be deployed as a drop-in replacement for Wikipedia
    • XOWA has an HTTP Server mode, so it can function as an isolated server for a group of local users with a web browser
    • XOWA Android has the same look and feel as an older version of the Wikipedia Mobile app (they've since changed that look and feel in mid 2016)
  • MediaWiki users who want an offline version of their wiki: XOWA supports a wide range of MediaWiki functions and extensions. As such, it handles all 820+ known wikis[1] across 250+ languages and 10+ different wiki types. It even handles a read-only Wikidata[3]. It can also be used to offline Wikia wikis, as well as other sites that run on MediaWiki
  • Developers / boutique users who want to do "custom things" with Wikipedia: XOWA stores all its data in SQLite, does on-demand parsing, and makes this all available through API calls. It's also open-source. As such, various customizations are possible:
    • Those who want to generate HTML dumps so they can scrape the HTML for research or analytical purposes
    • Those who want to parse any wikitext to HTML to do editing or have their "personal" version of a wiki
    • Those who want to build an education-friendly version of Wikipedia without "offensive" content

English Wikipedia thumbnail databases[edit]

XOWA releases image databases to http://archive.org which containe thumbnails for a given wiki.


Notes[edit]

  1. a b See http://dumps.wikimedia.org/backup-index.html for a full list
  2. Some of XOWA's notable features:
    • Up-to date: XOWA imports directly from the dumps at https://dumps.wikimedia.org/backup-index.html . As these dumps are generated on a bi-weekly basis, XOWA allows you to have a recent version of Wikipedia that can be only 2 weeks old.
    • Complete: XOWA generates every page in Wikipedia, including pages in the Wikipedia namespace ("Did you know" articles), Portal namespace, Category namespace, as well as Template / Module ones. Literally, it provides all of the text content of Wikipedia (and the images as well).
    • Look and feel: XOWA reproduces as much of the look and feel of Wikipedia as possible. A visual comparison is available at http://xowa.org/screenshots.html#Comparison
    • Integrates with other wikis: XOWA navigates seamlessly between the offline wikis. If you're in English Wikipedia, and click on a link for English Wiktionary it will open up the page in your offline English Wiktionary automatically (and if you don't have an offline version, it will open up the online version in a web browser)
  3. See http://xowa.org/screenshots.html#Wikidata