Extract PDF (or text) from Palm PDB-file?

Discussion in 'Applications/Utilities (Palm OS)' started by Tobago, Feb 14, 2010.

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  1. Tobago

    Tobago Mobile Enthusiast

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    I have a problem with some PDB-files, which are 'Tagged PDFs',
    created with Adobe Reader for Palm OS. Those I cannot convert to any other format.

    Does somebody know/has an idea how I can extract the PDF (or just the text!)
    from the PDB again (then to convert into a common format)?

    Having a rather large library of those 'PDF-PDBs', so being unable to import/convert them is quite problematic.

    I want to get away from the PDF-format to a common,
    open ebook-format and reader, but this currently stops for me the proceeding.

    Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    Welcome to Brighthand, Tobago!

    My condolences on your past decision to let your data fall into the clutches of a proprietary format. After about 3 times using adobe reader, I abandoned it once I realized some "magical transformation" occurred during hotsync. What were pdf files on my desktop became pdf.pdb files on my device. Adobe stopped supporting Adobe Reader for Palm OS back at version 3.something when the rest of their products were already moved on to at least version 5 and are now at version 9 or more.

    I wish I could offer you a way out. I know some databases were created by prepending some mandatory palm file structure text and you could get your file back by opening a binary editor and stripping off the pdb specific stuff at the beginning. I'm fairly certain pdf is not recoverable by binary editing the pdb and simply removing some "extra stuff' at the beginning or end of the file.

    Do you still have the original pdf files on your desktop? If so, these can be converted to other formats. If you purchased ebooks in acrobat format, they should be readable in other readers besides adobe reader for palm OS, but you probably have to go download them as pdf instead of adobe reader (pdb) format.

    hope this helps...
     
  3. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    Try Calibre: Calibre-ebook.com

    No guarantees, but I know it can convert to and from PDBs and PDFs...so it's worth a shot. And it's free.

    Also, the creator is pretty good about responding, especially at the mobileread.com forums...so if it doesn't work, try starting a thread there. He or someone else knowledgeable may have a solution for you.
     
  4. Mi An

    Mi An Untethered

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    It's definitely worth a shot, but the calibre format is really ereader pdbs that are PML inside. My suspicion is that whatever is inside those pdf-pdbs, it probably isn't PML.

    I second the suggestion that you request help on the mobileread forums. Even if the calibre creator and contributors can't help, there may well be other users who have faced the same conundrum and can point you in the right direction on freeing your data.
     
  5. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    PalmPDF will read these. It can also export text.
     
  6. Tobago

    Tobago Mobile Enthusiast

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    Hi Jeff, sorry for my late reply.

    By that time, almost 14 years ago, there were no universal open formats which supported PDF-like features and were "richer than RTF".

    So back then it was not a bad decision to go with PDF, as it was and still is an industry-standard.

    As time passed, ePub and other good formats emerged, but I had the PDF-PDBs and this was no problem till I wanted to convert them to another format. For most original PDFs I did not keep them, since I had them on my Palm, I thought! :(

    Thank you for your kind words and the binary editing hint!
    It got me started...


    I played with the PDF-PDBs and had some corresponding original 'non-palmed' PDFs to compare to.
    The AdobeReader for PalmOS converter adds a stub to the original PDF-file and wraps it into a PDB-file.

    This is for text-only PDFs, if there are images, overlarge fonts in it,
    they are replaced with a lower size/resolution version, according to
    the chosen colour-depth and size in Adobe Reader for PalmOS-Converter.

    It's easy to get a PDF back, all it takes is finding first hex-values sequence
    25 50 44 46 2D ('%PDF-') in the file, stripping everything before it and
    finding the PDF-End-marker: hex: 25 25 45 4F 46 ('%%EOF') and remove
    everything after it.

    So you're right, one cannot recover the original PDF if there are big/coloured images in it, but the recovered PDF is close enough (for me)! :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  7. Tobago

    Tobago Mobile Enthusiast

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    I already use calibre, it's the best in my opinion, but currently does not support PDF-PDBs. Only PalmDoc, ztxt, and eReader PDBs are supported.

    Actually I first posted in the calibre-Support forum and then here, meanwhile I got a reply:

    MobileRead: Problems with converting Palm PDB-PDF files to other formats/show in calibre-viewer

    Thank you all for your support!
    Now there's a solution for once-trapped PDF-PDBs. :newpalm:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  8. Tobago

    Tobago Mobile Enthusiast

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    bump to insert link
     
  9. Tobago

    Tobago Mobile Enthusiast

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    last one I promise
     
  10. Tobago

    Tobago Mobile Enthusiast

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    Yes, PalmPDF is a good app, but requires PalmOS 5. My Palm m500 runs on PalmOS4, I use PalmFiction for most formats now and it is a great reader, for "unfinished" software.
     
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