The Kiwix tools are a set of scripts (mostly in Perl) aiming to help creating content usable by Kiwix.
Kiwix is primarily designed as a tool to publish copies of Wikipedia, but every effort is made to ensure it would also be useful for:
- release of [other Wikimedia Foundation projects
- release of other content created on the Mediawiki platform.
As the heart of Kiwix being the HTML rendering engine Gecko, the objective of Kiwix tools is to produce:
- Only then, and from these static files, the tools create a file in the ZIM format (see below)
We call such a coherent set of multimedia content a dump or a corpus. These dumps can take many forms: previous versions of Kiwix used a simple directory layout; Moulinwiki used a file compressed with bzip2 and indexed in an SQLite database.
Today, Kiwix uses the ZIM format: a single file contains the entire dump,allowing fast access, high compression and configurability.
ZIM is an open, standard format created and maintained by the openZIM project, of which Kiwix is a founding member. ZIM is itself based on an older format (Zeno). Zeno was created by the Berlin publishing house Directmedia and served for the German Wikipedia released on CD-ROM. Later, the Zeno format had been abandoned, but we wanted to continue development. The future will tell whether this initiative will be successful, but the goal is to make a standard and thus simplify the problem for each of the storage dumps. It is, anyway, already the best free solution.