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Taking web sites offline for demonstration on iPad

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iOS 29 October 2012 - 

This article is the iOS sequel to the initial article about how to prepare an offline version of your web site for the purpose of demonstration or for exhibitions: Taking web sites offline for demonstration. If you didn't read the original article, please take some minutes (5 to 10 maximum) to gain a better understanding on the following. Thanks.

I'm going to describe my steps using a new iPad (3rd generation) running on iOS 6. Originally, I did this procedure on iOS 5 which actually provides the same results. Due to a lack of hardware I'm not able to tell you whether this will work on the iPad mini, any iPhone (3, 4, 4S or 5), or an iPod touch. But probably it will just work as described here...

Put the prepared archive on your iOS device

Well, this is exactly where my headache started... Not only that iOS is more or less completely different to the desktop or Android experience, it is also the situation that you cannot simply transfer a ZIP archive to your device. For example, Safari just tells you that the URL cannot be processed/downloaded. Paff! Transfer via Bluetooth or WiFi? No way!

A quick research on either Google or Bing - you name it - reveals that it is necessary to have a 'reader/viewer' for ZIP files. Well, I guess it's just about having any kind of app which is registered for the mime type used in this case. Alright, following a couple of recommendations from various forums, I ended up with this selection of apps:

But after trying all of them we came to the conclusion that none was really capable to do the job as required by the original specification. The main problem we had was the lack of navigational buttons for Back, Forward, Refresh or Cancel.

Finally, finding Sites-2-Go HD

A second, slightly more intensive search then brought up this app: Sites-2-Go HD - you might also have a look at the Lite version prior to purchase to check the functionality and features. Compared to paid version there are some limitations and restrictions but for small sites still a good choice.

This app is your one-stop-shop to upload and display an offline version of your web site for demonstration purpose. I absolutely like the ease of handling. After all, it just takes you 4 simple steps from start to finish:

  • Start accepting files below 'Stored Sites / Upload'
  • Navigate with a browser on a desktop system to the IP address
  • Upload your ZIP archive onto your iPad
  • Select the Stored Site to launch your offline site

The result speaks for itself (screenshot of Sites-2-Go Lite - some images are left out on purpose):

Offline version shown in Sites-2-Go HD on iOS 6

The small amount of money spent on the full-featured app is well invested, and we are looking forward to supply more customers with this combination.

What do you think about this way? Are there any better solutions to do this?

Parallel universe: Android

Eventually, you might be curious about this episode might be on a new iPad running on iOS 6. If so, please feel free to read this article: Taking web sites offline for demonstration on Galaxy Tablet


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