Build your ZIM file

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The Wikipedia Book Creator is the easiest way to create custom ZIM files from Wikipedia

A few tools allow people to create ZIM files.

Users

MediaWiki Collection Extension

Unfortunately this feature was removed. Please subscribe and show your interest on this ticket if you want to see it back].

You can create on Wikipedia and all other Wikimedia projects, ZIM files of article selections. For example on http://en.wikipedia.org. This is based on the MediaWiki Collection Extension. The Collection extension for MediaWiki provides the ability to select articles and export them in different formats, such as PDF, ODF and ZIM. The main purpose of Collection extension is to create printed books - instead of export you can also choose to have the selected articles printed on demand as a real book.

The Collection extension can be easily added to any MediaWiki installation:

Ask for a custom ZIM file

If you have a deployment project (so, this file is not only for you own personal purpose), you may ask the Kiwix team to create a ZIM file for you. To do that you need to prepare the following information:

  • Text file with the list of article titles (one title per line, with underscores, UTF8)
  • The URL of the wiki you want to snapshot
  • Prepare a welcome page for the ZIM file (on the wiki, and share with us the title of that page)
  • ZIM file metadata:
    • Title
    • Description (only a few words)
    • 48x48 PNG logo

Create a ZIM file from existing HTML contents

See http://www.openzim.org/wiki/Zimwriterfs_instructions for an overview and read the section below on zimwriterfs for some additional context.

Developers

An example approach to create a ZIM file

MWoffliner

MWoffliner is a tool which allows to "dump" a Wikimedia project (Wikipedia, Wiktionary, ...) to a local storage. It should also work for any Mediawiki instance having parsoid installed. It goes through all articles (or a selection if specified) of the project and write HTML/pictures to your local filesystem.

A virtual machine with MWoffliner is provided here. You might have to update the source code to get the last improvements.

More information are available here.

zimwriterfs

zimwriterfs is a console tool to create ZIM files from a localy stored directory containing a "self-sufficient" HTML content (with pictures, javascript, stylesheets). The result will contain all the files of the local directory compressed and merged in the ZIM file. Nothing more, nothing less. For now, zimwriterfs only works on POSIX compatible systems. You simply need to compile it and run it. The software does not need a lot of resources, but if you create a pretty big ZIM files, then it could take a while to complete. Instructions on how to prepare and use zimwriterfs are here zimwriterfs_instructions Go to zimwriterfs source code repository.

A virtual machine with zimwriterfs is provided here.

Zimbalaka

The following descirption is based on the notes published by the original author of Zimbalaka, as they're no longer available on the site they were published on. An archived copy is available on archive.org https://web.archive.org/web/20150531004251/http://www.arunmozhi.in:80/blog/zimbalaka-an-openzim-creator/#content

Zimbalaka, is designed as a web hosted tool which enables #Wikipedia ZIM files to be created based on articles selections.

It accepts two types of inputs: a list of pages or a Wikipedia category. Then Zimbalaka downloads those pages, removes all the clutter such as: sidebars, toolbox, edit links, etc., and provides a cleaned version as a ZIM file for download. It can be opened in Kiwix, etc.

The ZIM is created with a simple welcome page with all the pages as a list of links.

Zimbalaka has multilingual and multi-site support. That is, you can create a ZIM file from pages of any language of the 280+ existing Wikipedias, and also from sites like WikiBooks, Wiktionary, Wikiversity and such. You can even input any custom url like (http://sub.domain.com/), Zimblaka would add (/wiki/Page_title) to it and download the pages.

Pain points

A small pain point is that, Zimbalaka also strips the external references that occur at the end of the Wikipedia articles, as the original author didn’t find these useful content intended to be used in an offline environment.

You cannot add a custom Welcome page in the zim file. Not a very big priority. The current file does its work of listing all the pages.

You cannot include pages from multiple sites as a single zim file. The workaround is to create multiple files or use a tool called zimwriterfs, which has to be compiled from source (this is used by zimbalaka behind the scenes).

Developers

This tool is written using Flask – A simple Python web framework for the backend, Bootstrap as the frontend and uses the zimwriterfs compiled binary as the workhorse. The zimming tasks are run by Celery, which has been automated by supervisord. All the co-ordination and message passing happens via Redis.

Here is the source code.

zimwriterdb

zimwriterdb is part of the openZIM project. This binary uses a pre-filled Postgres Database and create the corresponding ZIM file; the schema for the database is linked on the main zimwriterdb page.

Wiki2html

Wiki2html can be used to prepare static HTML files from a running Mediawiki instance.

zimmer

This package is primarily a tool for creating a ZIM dump from a Mediawiki-based wiki.

The package consists of 2 scripts:

  • wikizimmer.js -- dumps the wiki's articles (name space 0) into a collection of static HTML files.
  • zimmer.js -- builds a ZIM file from a static HTML files collection. Historically, zimmer.js is mostly a drop-in replacement for zimwriterfs with a notable exception: it doesn't support withFullTextIndex option (index format is not documented).

The major point is that wikizimmer.js unlikely to mwoffliner doesn't depend on the Parsoid and Redis and zimmer.js unlikely to zimwriterfs doesn't depend on the zimlib.

The package is relatively easy to install and it can even process some wikis running rather old versions of the Mediawiki engine.

There is also zimmer's counterpart -- unzimmer. It unpacks a ZIM file into a directory, which could be useful for some debugging.

See also