SOLUTION: Running tours offline on Android

Q&A about the latest versions
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WingmanMedia
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:28 am

Hi guys,

I have seen a lot of requests for running tours offline and some of the solutions offered require a purchase of a micro USB Flash(or a normal USB flash and a special cable)) and using Firefox only.

I was looking for it as my client suddenly demanded an offline solution. I am trying to offer them 360appmaker but it will cost them as much as their tour. Just in case they reject the custom branded app I have found a simple solution to do it on Android devices.


You will need the app called "KWS -Android websever" https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... s&hl=en_AU

Download it and install the app to your android device, add a path to your pano2VR output folder(Home directory setting in the app settings) and click "start the server" in the app. Then pick up from a server startup screen what your IP address is and a port number and that's what you need to use as URL to access your tour through a browser.

Below is a setup screen where you need to enter a home directory path

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/7ylNt ... 66-h625-rw

And further below is a screen where you can see your IP and your web server port number.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/lT4s_ ... 66-h625-rw
You will see this screen after you click the "Start Sever" button located at the bottom of the app.

For example if it had been your screen then you would have accessed and run the tour using http://192.168.1.10:8080 in a browser

You can change your port in settings to 80 if you want to. Then assuming your IP is 192.168.1.10 your URL will be http://192.168.1.10 or http://192.168.1.10:80

If you are not connected to any network(wifi and mobile data are both off) the app will give "localhost" instead of an IP. In this case use http://localhost:8080 for port 8080
or just
http://localhost or http://localhost:80 if you set your port to 80.

The biggest challenge with this web server app is that it does not let you pick up a home directory by navigating through the file system. You either need to type it or paste it from clipboard.
If you are sure you know a full path to your output folder just type it.
If you do not I guess the best will be to use some file manager app and go to that folder through the file manager app and find a way to copy it to clipboard.

With some file manager apps is not so easy to find how you can copy the path to clipboard.

I am using File Manager app(https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n&hl=en_AU) and that where you need to be creative to find the path and copy it to it.

Here is a screenshot from the app

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/xuMMQ ... 66-h625-rw


Assuming "Documents" is where all your output pano2VR files are located click on the word "Documents" at the top and it will pop up another dialog with all information. That's where you can copy the path to your folder into Clipboard. Not sure what told me that I could see the path that way, probably just a coincidence that I tapped it and found what I was looking for.

A bit of FAQ:

Where can I store my output files on Android?
I am pretty sure anywhere on Android where you can save your output files.

I used DCIM on my phone, created a folder called "tours" in it and transferred all output files in it from my PC.
So in my case I navigated to the "tours" folder in the File manager app until "tours" displayed at the top like "Documents" in the example before. So in order to find a path I clicked on "tours" at the top and copied the path from the popup dialog. Then I pasted the path from clipboard into Home directory settings in the KWS server app.

What browser will it work with?
There shouldn't be any limitations as it is a web sever, just a tiny one that runs on your android device. I have tested at least in Firefox, Chrome and Samsung Internet browser. No problems with either of them.


If I am connected to a local network and KWS gives me a lan ip address does it mean I can access my tour from a device different than where the KWS server is running ?
If there is nothing blocking the port you use for your KWS server locally you will be able to open it even from Ipad as long as the Ipad is on the same LAN as your android with KWS.

Can I use it to test my tour locally for compatibility with different devices?
You can and it may be the least problematic way as you do no need to get any 3rd party hosting involved. Like in a previous question when I mention Ipad you can connect all testing devices to the same wifi including the android device with the KWS server running and then access your tour from any device using the IP and the port number assigned by KWS to its web server.

Can I use another Android app to run a web server on my android device
You can try but I have found that some of them do not work. I have started with the app called "Tiny web server" but for some unknown reason it cannot load pano.xml file. I would suggest to stick to the one that is tested but feel free to test other web server apps.

Can I install a web server on Ipad?
As far as I know you cannot. However I am not good with apple devices. I have checked with my friend who is currently in IT position(I left IT 10 years ago) and he is pretty sure that there are no apps that can run a web server on Ipad.


I have a similar solution for Windows 7/8/10 tablets(non RT) with just a difference that you need to use built in IIS service which includes Microsoft
Even though it may be too much trouble to use it comparing to a desktop package that you can generate in Pano2VR and run on Windows machines.
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1uv3
Posts: 340
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:29 am

Sounds complicated :D

I just turn my tour into a native Android app using a mix of Tony Redheads offline mobile app instructions

https://tonyredhead.com/phonegap-build/ ... rs-android

and my own which allows me to bypass the Phonegap size restrictions. This also allows me to simply send a link to my client where they can then download the APK and add it to there website for download if the wish.

Takes about 15 minutes per app once you have everything in order. It's worth the time though.
Creative expression is the Universe's only way of experiencing every configurative atomic possibility capable within a finite Universe.
WingmanMedia
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:10 am

I agree it is not easy but it is not hard either.

If people can find a path to their output folder and know basics of how web server work it becomes as easy as:


1.transfer output folder to an android device.
2.download the KWS web server app
3.setup a home directory in it with the path to the tour output folder
4.start the server
5.use its IP address in a browser.


I just added a few more bits that it is also a good solution for testing locally.

I do agree though that 360appmaker is much more elegant and cooler thing to offer. It can be used by a person who has no IT experience. But it costs and before I start using it is kind of a black box to me. Not that I am concerned it will be hard & complicated to use and I won't figure it out, it is more like I do not know what to promise to the client until I try it.


Running tours from a micro usb flash drive only in Firefox won't make it easier for this and probably any client. The client BDMs may even have a mix of C-type and micro USB connectors on their tablets so it can even add more problems with each BDM buying the wrong type of a Flash Drive. Not to mention that they still need to copy output files to their flash drives and navigate to index.html.
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1uv3
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:19 am

I tried KWS a while back when I was trying to figure out how to sideload the APK's I create for viewing on the Oculus.

Hit a dead end though because for whatever reason I couldn't get the VR Mode to work while it was being served. Kept getting blocked by the server.....something about the xml file if I remember correctly.
Last edited by 1uv3 on Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
Creative expression is the Universe's only way of experiencing every configurative atomic possibility capable within a finite Universe.
WingmanMedia
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Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:45 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:25 am

1uv3 wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:19 am

Hit a dead end though because for whatever reason I couldn't get the VR Mode to work while it was being served. Kept getting blocked by the server.....something about the xml file if I remember correctly.
I have not tested it in VR mode. It has not been requested by this client for their tour. I may still try it locally in case they want it later and go for this solution.
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1uv3
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:28 am

I have not tested it in VR mode. It has not been requested by this client for their tour. I may still try it locally in case they want it later and go for this solution.
I'd be curious to see if it works for you.

I don't know anything about the 360appmaker. I was referring to a different method of offline viewing using an actual Pano2vr tour that is converted to an APK using a few Phonegap files to build an Android Studio project which is then converted to a licensed APK which can be uploaded to the Google Play store :D
Creative expression is the Universe's only way of experiencing every configurative atomic possibility capable within a finite Universe.
WingmanMedia
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:45 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:35 am

1uv3 wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:19 am
I don't know anything about the 360appmaker. I was referring to a different method of offline viewing using an actual Pano2vr tour that is converted to an APK using a few Phonegap files to build an Android Studio project which is then converted to a licensed APK which can be uploaded to the Google Play store :D
My fault, I read your reply skipping a couple of lines and only realized you were talking about phonegap after I submitted my reply and followed your link.

Here is link to a topic about 360appmaker viewtopic.php?f=20&t=13924&p=58630#p58630
Tony also mentioned about in a few other threads before.

I have downloaded two apps(one for Android and one for IOS) made with he 360appmaker. I like them a lot. If it is not going to find any use for my clients I will use it for myself to build my own app to showcase my work or do some community projects with it.
deedee123
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 10:38 am

Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:45 am

old thread, just a note this works very well, and it is really easy to setup. (it's maybe hard to explain but simple to do)
once you have the root path entered, it;s a matter of starting the server, and open the page.

i had trouble getting the SVG to show up, i got the "pro" version of the app for just over 1 euro (has more options) and added ".svg=image/svg+xml" to a mime text file, save it somewhere on the android device and refer to in the server config screen. that solved it !

all runs fine completely offline.
david
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Hopki
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Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:03 pm

Hi David,
What do you mean exactly:
i got the "pro" version of the app for just over 1 euro
Regards,
Hopki
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deedee123
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 10:38 am

Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:54 am

hi,
i meant i got the pro version of the KWS server app
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... o&hl=en_US

which allows for custom MIME types, which can solve SVG not rendering in android. (at least it solved it for me)
david
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Hopki
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Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:26 am

Hi david,
Ahhh, ok my misunderstanding.
Regards,
Hopki
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