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handling multiple ABC files on Palm OS devices

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:16 pm
by mbraner
I've recently discovered that old PDAs running the Palm OS can be bought very cheap now, and can be used for various interesting purposes. One use that is of interest to me is to carry around a library of ABC files to music jams and such, so as to be able to look up a tune as needed.

But the software listed on the ABCnotation Software page mentions only 3 programs for the Palm OS, and all of them are very limited in what they do, particularly in the way they accept input data. None of them allow the simple usage I was looking for: to be able to copy a bunch of ABC file as-is from the desktop computer to the handheld device (actually to a memory card that can be plugged into the handheld device), and then have software on the device that can search through multiple ABC files at once, for an arbitrary bit of text, and, when found, view that ABC file. Ideally it would also display it as sheet music and/or play it as sound, but simply searching the library was my main goal, and viewing the ABC notation itself is sufficient for me to decipher the first measure or two and be reminded of the tune.

After a longish search I found one program that will do that. It is called iSilo. It is shareware, but also has a free (unregistered, post-trial) mode which skips some of its features but maintains the features needed for this ABC-related use. It runs on Palm OS versions 4 and up, and there are also versions for many other systems and devices. Even though there is nothing in its design that is ABC-specific, it is useful, and may be as close as we now have to what I'd like to have. I have no affiliation with the developers.

I also like the SiED text editor, that can open (and edit!) text files (including ABC files) on a flash memory card in a Palm device, but it does not seem to have the ability to search mutliple files. It may also be possible to copy and paste ABC bits found and viewed in iSilo to a format and location where one of the PalmOS viewing/playing prorgams can access it, but thus far it seems too akward to me. And also note that the ability to copy text to the clipboard is not accessible in the free mode of iSilo.

Re: handling multiple ABC files on Palm OS devices

Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:58 am
by cwalshaw
Thanks - I've now added a link to this thread on the software page.


Re: handling multiple ABC files on Palm OS devices

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:39 pm
by mbraner
I should also mention the CardTxt editor, which has many nice features, including full-screen display on rectangular (320x480) devices (such as the Palm TX), in both portrait and landscape modes. It is nice for looking at the ABC files. But it does NOT have the ability to search multiple files. I've also looked at a number of file managers, and none seemed to do that. Thus I'm still left with iSilo as the only program that allows searching multiple ABC files, displaying a list of found matches, and then a one-click transition into viewing a file from that list. In text-file view mode it even allows "dragging" the displayed text with the stylus, similar to the dragging one can do in Adobe Acrobat Reader - much nicer than using the scroll bar. And it too can do landscape mode. What it misses is: no editing of files, only viewing. And, in the freeware mode, one cannot copy the text for pasting into other applications - that feature is only available in the paid mode.