Guide for Opera for Pocket PC by ResearchWizard
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Guide for Opera 8.60 for Windows Mobile, Pocket PC


collected by ResearchWizard

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Change log

11. September 2006 - Version 1: initial version

content

  1. introduction
  2. general
  3. view modes and screen width
  4. transfer bookmarks
  5. customize Opera Mobile
  6. Opera files and main memory
  7. links
  8. off topic: free software for PPC

introduction

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This is my collection of tips and hints towards Opera 8.60 for Windows Mobile, Pocket PC (in the following text called Opera Mobile).

Please provide feedback towards the tips and additional solutions with a post in the >>> forum thread ... <<< For general feedback not related to the tips (smilies, praise, resentment, pagedesign etc) please leave a >>> comment in my blog  <<<

If you have a problem not related to the tips in this guide please search the >>> Forum for Opera Mobile <<< and start your own post if it is a new topic. Or you can provide feedback in this >>> thread for Opera Mobile 8.6 <<<

This presentation is based on a template generated with Opera Show Generator 1.0. I added the content as XHTML using the German (X)HTML-text-editor Scribe! and I tweaked the CSS a little bit. Choose Opera, press F11 and enjoy :-)

The text should be well readable in any browser, but only Opera is capable of all the goodies. Besides projection especially print layout is really nice in Opera. Firefox manages at least the numbering. Don't ask about stupid IE (but it should be no problem to just read the text).

General

General

View modes

Fit to width on Opera Mobile is an automatic mode switching between Small Screen Rendering (SSR, Shift+F11 on Desktop Opera) and Medium Screen Rendering (MSR, Fit to width on Desktop Opera) depending on screen width.

Using Zoom can change the behaviour of fit to width. An explicit media=handheld CSS with the page will probably switch to SSR.

With the setting Fit to width on my iPAQ (QVGA 320*240px) in portrait mode SSR is used (I could force Desktop view with the setting View - Desktop) and switching to landscape mode MSR is used (I could force SSR with the setting View - One Column).

Transfer Bookmarks

Opera Mobile and Desktop Opera use almost the same bookmark format. Import and export work fluently with one visible difference:

(Re-)Importing bookmarks into Desktop Opera will lead to "=" in front of the bookmarks name: "=Opera homepage" instead of "Opera homepage". Opera Mobile makes "==" out of a single "=".

Exporting bookmarks from Desktop Opera and use them in Opera Mobile works without drawbacks. You can export (all or selected, see 3+4 on next slide) bookmarks from Desktop Opera and replace opera6.adr in \Application Data\Opera\

You can try third party tools like the Bookmark Manager or Bookmarkbridge, but there are more difficulties besides "==": no direct file-access via ActiveSync, Opera Mobile has to be closed and there are no entries for icon and last visited.

How to import bookmarks from Pocket IE

  1. Copy [mobile device]\Windows\Favorites to a desktop folder
  2. Import this folder to Desktop Opera (optional: organizing)
  3. Menu: Bookmarks - Manage bookmarks - (select bookmarks) - right click: File - Save selected as
  4. Copy the generated opera6.adr to \Application Data\opera\

The procedure should be pretty similar to import bookmarks from other browsers.

Step by step instructions are in the handout to this slide (not visible in projection mode).

Step by step instructions to transfer bookmarks from PIE

All following steps use Desktop Windows, with access to the mobile device in Windows Explorer with Active Sync:

  1. Windows Explorer: copy the folder with the Favorites from PIE [mobile device]\Windows\Favorites to any place on your Desktop PC (you have to remember it, for example you can copy it to the Desktop)
    Alternative: if you synchronize your Favorites you can skip 1 and instead look for the place they are stored on the desktop (something like c:\documents and settings\[your user name]\favorites\mobile favorites)
  2. Desktop Opera: File - Import and Export - Import Internet Explorer Favorites - (select the folder with the PIE favorites from step 1) - OK
    Info: The bookmarks are imported into a new folder with the name "Internet Explorer Favorites" (the new folder is most probable a subfolder of the folder you have been before, e.g. in bookmark panel) and the number given is number of bookmarks + number of folders including the generated one, so if there is only one bookmark the number is 2 (one bookmark and one generated folder "Internet Explorer Favorites").
  3. Desktop Opera: Open Bookmarks Panel (e.g. Strg+2) OR Manage Bookmarks View (Menu Bookmarks - Manage Bookmarks) select the files in the imported folder "Internet Explorer Favorites" (or select all the bookmarks and folders you like to have for your Opera Mobile). Right click - file - save selected as ... (choose a place to save, keep the name opera6.adr)
    Info: If you right click directly on the folder "Internet Explorer Favorites" this folder will be an useless subfolder on your Opera Mobile (Action - Go to - Bookmarks - ("Internet Explorer Favorites" -) your bookmarks)
    Tip: Before exporting you can organize your bookmarks in Desktop Opera, import additional bookmarks from IE, Netscape/Firefox, Konqueror or another Opera installation (e.g. [mobile device]\application data\opera\opera6.adr from Opera Mobile) the same way or copy additional bookmarks from your Desktop Opera into this bookmark folder).
  4. Windows Explorer: Make a backup of your original opera6.adr on [mobile device]\application data\opera\ and copy the exported opera6.adr into this folder while Opera Mobile is closed

Index of customizations

Customizing your Opera Mobile is similar (but more limited) to customizing Desktop Opera.

Easy: Settings

Edit your startpage

Even without knowledge of HTML you can add your favorite links to your startpage.

Open home.html with an text editor (either on the PPC or copy it to your desktop computer and use e.g. notepad) and replace [link adress] (copy and paste from browser adress bar) and [shown name]. For additional links just duplicate a whole line.

Of course you can change the content and design of the whole page.

Edit the skin

You can change the icons in the skin-file like on Desktop Opera. I haven't managed to change the color for the toolbars. The colors are controlled by Windows Mobile (at least on WM2003SE) and I have no idea why there are colors defined in default skin.ini at all.

To make your own skin see the guide for Desktop Opera. The buttons can be smaller to spare room or bigger for easier use without stylus.

More proof of concept than beautiful you can download my gray-scale_standard_skin.zip. Instructions: download and copy the file to \Application Data\Opera\skin, backup the default standard_skin and rename the new file to standard_skin.zip

Edit input.ini (1) - syntax and buttons

The input.ini of Opera Mobile is similar to keyboard.ini on Desktop Opera. The actions are defined in several sections like [Browser Widget] for actions on the web page and [WinCE Application] for actions on browser level.

For most PocketPCs the most useful buttons are the ones on the D-PAD: Left, Right, Up, Down and Enter. Other keys (1...9, A...Z, Tab, Space etc.) can be accessed with virtual or real (external) keyboard.

All default sections are in the handout to this slide (not visible in projection mode).

Sections in input.ini:

[Browser Widget]
for actions on web pages (page has to have focus)
Examples: Navigate down, Scroll up, Page down, Focus form
[WinCE Application]
for actions with the Opera Mobile browser application
Examples: Cycle to next window, Enter fullscreen, Open url
[Widget Container]
for actions in dialog boxes (dialog has to have focus)
Examples: Focus next radio widget, Focus previous widget
[Form]
for actions in form fields (form has to have focus)
Examples: Focus form
[Button Widget]
for actions on buttons (button has to have focus e.g. by clicking on it)
Examples: Click button
[Radiobutton Widget]
for actions on radio buttons (radio button has to have focus)
Examples: Click button
[Checkbox Widget]
for actions on checkboxes (checkbox has to have focus)
Examples: Check item
[Dropdown Widget]
for actions on dropdown lists (dropdown has to have focus)
Examples: Next item, Click button, Unfocus form
[List Widget]
for actions on lists (list has to have focus)
Examples: Next item, Click button, Unfocus form
[Edit Widget]
for actions on editable input fields (input field has to have focus)
Examples: Next character, Next line, Unfocus form

Edit input.ini (2) - actions on the page

section [Browser Widget]

Explanation of the syntax used here:

This is a normal notation, just for the case you don't know it:

{required}: within the braces "{" and "}" are required arguments for the function. Actually I use this notation only when there is a choice:

{either use this|or this}: the vertical bar "|" seperates two or more possible values. You can choose which one you like. Within braces you have to select one.

[optional] OR [ini-section] within the square brackets "[" and "]" are usually optional arguments. If you don't need it you just can leave it away, even if there are multiple choices (seperated by the vertical bar "|").
However with editing ini files from the Opera browser there is another meaning of the square brackets. They define sections inside the ini-files to build groups of related settings.

Edit input.ini (3) - actions for the browser

section [WinCE Application]

There are a lot of examples from Munk on aximsite (mirror on joshuateoh.com). For further actions (not all work in Opera Mobile) see this this list of commands in a forum post.

Some keyboard-settings do not work although they should, e.g.
[WinCE Application]
+ = Zoom in, 10
Enter = Enter fullscreen | Leave fullscreen

Very similar things do work like:
Z = Zoom in, 10
- = Zoom out, 10
* = Zoom to, 100.

I have no idea whether this is a bug in Opera or a limitation of Win CE (Windows Mobile).

Edit the language file

It is possible to change the language. I had success to change single words of the menu. Yesterday I didn't manage to have a complete German translation - Opera refused to start with it (I merged lng files from Opera8.54 and Opera Mobile via csv>Calc>Base>Calc>csv and translated the remaining entrys). I will search the bug and put a guide here - and of course the German language file.

Silvio Iaccarino posted a German language file (he claims it's quick & dirty).

Advanced preferences - edit opera.ini

Some of the settings in opera.ini for Desktop Opera work in Opera Mobile. See Opera's Settings File Explained (for Desktop Opera9).

Maybe you like the suggestions from Joshua Teoh (Munk) in (1) = (2):

Index of memory topics

The more saving main memory the more tweaking is necessary.

Files (by default installed in main memory)

There is a description of the files used by Opera on opera.com.

Alternative storage devices for (Opera) files

internal memory card (iPAQ file store etc)

external storage cards (SD / CF etc)

Some thoughts about flash memory are in the handout to this slide (not visible in projection mode).

Some thoughts about flash memory

Internal memory - good for exe+dlls

Internal memory like iPAQ file store is very good for opera.exe + dll's, because it couldn't get lost and its not in danger to get a lot of write cycles. Startup time will be slower compared to fast external storage cards and main memory.

Don't use build in Flash memory for cache if you want to browse on a regular basis. At least I wouldn't risk it anymore after my iPAQ main board was exchanged because of a corrupted (read only) iPAQ File Store.

External memory cards - use it for Opera's cache

Already cheap SD cards should be fast enough for most purposes. Backups and other important data is not very save on external storage devices (neither tiny storage cards nor USB-sticks) - as they easily could get lost.

External cards should be good for big cache (big reduces write cycles to the same memory cells). With slow internet connections it should be even faster than with small cache in main memory. Additionally full main memory and especially a lot of files in main memory will slow down your whole PDA - for Opera and for other applications.

With heavy usage of Opera I advice to have big enough cache and of course enough free memory for this (memory is not reserved by Opera Mobile and some applications including Opera and the OS may run into trouble when trying to write on a full memory card).

Opera Mobile with cache on a storage card and fast internet connection may be somewhat slower for surfing (you'll probably not really notice it).

About write cycles reducing live of flash memory

The granted number of write cycles on flash memory is increasing far above the former 10.000. Additionally there is a better memory management, using the least used memory cells for next write operations (I wouldn't rely too much on this, not only because of Murphy's laws. If there is only little free memory left the write cycles have to be on the reduced number of memory cells). Reaching 10.000 write cycles will take a lot of time - storage cards will be (much) bigger, faster and cheaper then (just for the case).

Where to put the Application Data files (besides cache)

The right storage of Application Data stuff depends on individual usage. There are write cycles in history and maybe cookies etc. for every (new) page visited.

On a fast storage card the data gets lost easier. In main memory on WM2003 not backuped data can be at risk due to an empty battery.

My advise

  1. If you have enough main memory it is the easiest to have Opera in the default location. I'd recommend only to move the cache to an external storage card.
  2. If you have really limited main memory and there is no other more appropriate application to uninstall from main memory I'd advice to install Opera to internal (or external) memory card and relocate the cache to an external memory card. If you want to use Opera as default browser (open local files and links from other applications in Opera) you have to edit the registry.

If you don't need to open local files and links from other applications in Opera number 2 is an about equal choice to 1.

Links

There is a very comprehensive description about optimizing storage card speed and another thread about Installing programs on Storage Card that can further guide your decision where you want to have your Opera (and other applications) store its files.

Easy: Cache settings

Reduce cache size

Relocate cache (to external memory card)

On a storage card you should use a cache size much bigger than the default 2000 (2 MB) to reduce write cycles.

Drawbacks of relocating cache: 1) with a big cache the startup time of Opera Mobile may increase. 2) Do not remove the storage card with the cache while Opera Mobile is running as this may or will require a soft reset.

Starting Opera browser with cache relocated to memory card while there is no memory card in the PDA caused no trouble for me.

I couldn't find the place where the files are stored (please give me a note when you discover it).

Install program files on memory-card

It is pretty easy to install Opera Mobile outside main memory but it causes some problems:

Drawback: if you want to use Opera Mobile as standard browser on your PDA you have to fix the wrong registry entrys. Opera will probably need longer time to startup.

HowTo: 1) Download the MSI version and install it with your connected PDA via ActiveSync - just answer the question "install in default location" with selecting your storage card. Or 2) Download the CAB version and install it directly on your PDA with CabInst where you choose a path for installation on your storage card.

Install Opera completly outside Main memory (nearly)

Besides the steps from the former page you can relocate nearly the complete folder Application Data\Opera by manually moving the files and editing the paths in opera.ini

See guide from Werner Ruotsalainen (Menneisyys) to completely relocate Opera Mobile or just move the complete folder \Application Data\Opera except english.lng, input.ini and the (empty) skins subdirectory to a (subfolder on a) storage card and edit the paths in opera.ini from \Application Data\Opera\ to the new path.

Drawback: you have to do this manually with every reinstall or update of Opera Mobile. Opera may be slower.

Fix registry when Opera is installed outside main memory

Opera Mobile installer has a bug: if it is installed outside main memory there are wrong entries in the registry and you can not open local files and links from other applications in Opera (Opera as default browser).

HowTo: 1) Post with a list of the registry entrys or 2) Guide to completely relocate Opera Mobile (same as on previous page) or 3) After setting Opera as standard browser you can use (free) PHM Registry Editor, search for the string "Opera" and replace the paths (and images).

Tip: you can also reassign PIE bookmarks towards Opera by changing the urlfile entries in the registry.

Caution: you can completly mess your PDA (requires Hard Reset).

Because it is supposed to be only a small change in the installer this behaviour should be changed in the next minor update of Opera Mobile.

Free Software for PPC - (I)

Software I use on my iPAQ rx3715 running Windows mobile 2003SE

Hint for the Games Warring States, Viking Saga and Cities: on localized versions the start links are also installed into Windows/Start Menu - you have to move it manually to the proper folder, e.g. German: Windows/Startmenü)

Free Software for PPC - (II) Tools