Zoo for Zotero - A new android app for viewing zotero libraries

Hi all,

I just developed Zoo for Zotero which is an android app for viewing zotero libraries.

Check it out at github.com/mickstar/Zoo-For-Zotero
or play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mickstarify.zooforzotero

Also could someone add it to the mobile apps wiki, thanks
  • Thank you for the app. I added it to the wiki.
  • Wow Michael this is a really good app, really snappy and best experience I've had so far with respect to syncing/updating and working with a large library. Thank you for making it, and making it free.


    1) when I input WebDav settings just now, it seemed to trigger a complete sync of the entire library database. No biggie, but is that by design?

    2) I'd love to see an attachment syncing option. I've got a SD card on my android ereader to be able to take my library with me, but I've never had an app that would reliably download/sync the whole thing and then do quick incremental updates. Is this something you have in mind for future development?
  • Thanks for the comment cjb! Regarding the webdav, there appears to be a bug with syncing where full syncs are happening when they don't need to. I will investigate. as for file syncing, it is not on my radar right now,
  • Wanted to add my thanks as well. Really a great app, easily the most functional and best looking one on Android. Hope two-way PDF sync is added at some point, although I understand that it is a tall order.
  • edited December 6, 2019
    Seems great! When will you add it to the F-droid repository?
  • Found this on the play store just a couple of days ago!

    I hope to find some time to contribute to the project. First thing would be to update the icons used in the app to something more high resolution.

    Thanks for your great work!
  • Thank you for your really good app.
  • Thanks for the support!
    @Oby - PDF annotation is doable but I haven't wrapped my head around how to use the zotero api for uploading PDFs or creating file deltas in android. It is on the todo list though.

    @anders I don't know what the rules are with F-Droid but my app is using firebase (google) analytics so I believe it requires google play libraries on the device. I am also uncertain how many people would be interested in a zotero client on F-Droid given how niche this is.

    Yes, unfortunately the icons are low res, I actually just copied them from the Zotero desktop application.
  • Just wanted to add my thanks! This is a very nice app. I've edited pdfs and it automatically realizes they are changed and offers to upload them, which works very well. It's not a full sync, but is more than enough for now.

  • One more: thanks a lot! Looks great on my e-book reader.
  • I have all my attachamnets on WebDav. Does the app download all of them during the first sync? Or it accesses them on the ad-hoc basis?
  • Attachments are downloaded (to the Downloads folder) on demand, i.e. when you click on them.
  • @michael29 I think F-Droid would be a great distribution channel for this app. I am using it on an e-ink reader (Onyx Boox Note2) that runs Android but without Google approval, and thus no access to the Play Store. Apparently Google won't approve e-ink as a matter of principle. So the only way to get Zoo is to install F-Droid first, then Yalp or Aurora for unauthorized access to the Play Store.

    I doubt that the use of Play Services is a problem for F-Droid, as other apps use it as well.
  • @khinsen, great! Is there a way to download all of the attachments at once? Somehow, I always end up working on the phone where there is no internet, e.g., on the plane. And by the way, the app looks good!
  • @eric_f I can't answer that question, sorry. I am discovering the app as well, just like yourself! For me, on-demand downloading is fine.
  • edited January 11, 2020
    @eric_f I have added the ability to download all attachments to my testing build. Assuming no problems I will push it out to the Play store this week!

    @khinsen I have done further research and fdroid doesn't allow for the proprietary Google analytics library I am using. Publishing to fdroid would require creating a seperate build/repo which I am unwilling to do. I might add the APK to GitHub for sideloading.

    I am surprised the app runs on your e-reader, is the performance alright?

  • @michael29 An APK from GitHub would be fine as well.

    Performance on my e-book reader is good enough. It has about the same processing power as a today's mid-range smartphones. It's the screen that's much slower, so it's mainly scrolling that can become unpleasant, but the device has various screen-refresh modes that can be set per app to adapt to scrolling needs. For Zoo, I have set mode A2 and that is rather nice to use in practice.
  • Hello Michael, I also just wanted to give you kudos for developing the Zoo-tero app. I've tried several Android apps before but yours is by far the best: stable sync, good performance, and --something many other apps couldn't do before -- syncing of notes.
    That's what I've needed all along. Thanks a million for the great work! Keep up the good work!
    For stats: I'm using it on an Android 7 tablet (old Lenovo Yoga), and it's running like a charm.
  • Hello Michael, not being on Github, I chose this forum to ask two requests for implementation:

    (a) When searching for a title/author/tag etc. the seach starts immediately when typing the first letter. Especially on older software (tablets) this means a lot of workload, which sometimes overwhelms the system. Could you program the application in such a way that the search only starts when clicking the magnifyer/search button, ie. when I have typed the whole word?

    (b) When some of the information of an item (book etc.) I've downloaded via Zotero Save is incorrect, there seems to be no way to save changes. For example, I downloaded the info on a book which put the translator as a second author. When in the app I clicked the field "author," I could change it to "translator", but it didn't save that. Only when I make changes in the PC programme they do sync with the app. Notes, though, sync perfectly.

    Again, thanks for the great work and steady improvements!
  • @smilingkafka
    (a). I'm a big fan of the instant searching though and was quite proud when I managed to implement it. I think I will have it operate as you suggest for older devices (android <=7)

    (b). Library editing has not been implemented yet, as an alternative the web library from zotero works quite nice.

    I recently published version 2.3 and with it should come a lot more stability with respect to library syncing. Now I am quite happy with where the app is and I believe it now to be the most advanced zotero app for android. I have plans to implement Trash and sync deleted Items but after that i won't dedicate too much of my time.

    I would like to hear from users regarding their experiences with the two-way webdav attachment syncing as that feature was a pain to implement.
  • Hi Michael - just discovered Zoo for Zotero and it is an impressive app for such a short gestation time!

    Can I clarify what you mean above by "two-way webdav attachment syncing", and the phrase in the PlayStore description: "annotation syncing for attachments"?

    Having downloaded an attached PDF from my WebDAV storage can I annotate it (if so, in what PDF app(s)) and then Zoo uploads that to WebDAV storage, overwiting the original? Or have I misunderstood?

  • @richard.masters
    Yes, for your personal library. Two way as in it allows for uploading changes of attachments to webdav servers.

    You need to use a pdf editor like Xodo, which makes changes to the file. Editors like acrobat apply changes to a copy of the file so that won't work.

    Once you make changes the app should detect them and offer to upload the file.
  • Thanks @michael29

    I can confirm that it works for me with Xodo, although I find Xodo's interface for closing the app and returning to Zoo a bit obscure!

    Is there documentation on the app and recommended PDF editors?

    Also, I notice a proposed enhancement in the github issues forum for linked attachment loading - do you plan to add support for both main attachment storage (in my case via webdav) and linked attachment (in my case via OneDrive)?

    Thanks again - a great addition to Zotero support on Android.
  • @richard.masters
    sorry, there isn't much documentation, though i do see a need in providing some tips to users to better inform them of the quirks. Regarding uploading, you don't need to return to Zoo straight away, the next time you open the app it will offer to upload the PDF. Such a user-flow is necessitated by how Android works.

    Regarding linked attachments, that improvement is just for loading files that can be found on the device, utilising cloud storage is too difficult in a android context. I have found pcloud + webdav as being a decent replacement if you want to sync attachments with a cloud storage.

    lately due to work commitments i don't have much time for the app and i don't expect to update much anytime soon.
  • @michael29
    I'm probably quite rare in using both main storage (PCloud+webdav) and duplicate linked attachments (in OneDrive) - belt and braces! It's an edge case, and understand that implementation is not high priority.

    It is great to have Zoo (as well as ZotEZ2 and ZotDroid) but it's a shame that there isn't a business model where an app can be developed with a long term plan and support. I'm prepared to pay but I guess not enough other people are.
  • I am usng Zotdroid at the moment and I would only change to Zoo for Zotero if it would have an option to download the attachments to a specific folder on my sd card.
    This should not be rocket science and I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who is asking for this ;-)
  • The only thing we need is a program like "FolderSync", thats downloads the attachments from the webdav server to a specific directory on the sd card and a program like "AndroSearch" for indexing and searching

    ....or a Zotero client that can download to the sd-card directly ;-)
  • @michael29 thanks for Zoo! It works really nicely for my tablet (Nexus 7, Android 6.0.1).

    I'm experiencing a strange issue with author order on sync (using WebDAV, Zoo for Zotero version 2.4a).
    The author order on Zotero Standalone and Zotero.org match, but the author order that appears in Zoo seems random.
    Is this a known issue?
  • Unfortunately, my last idea is not possible, because the files are stored as zip files on the webdav, so the are not searchable :-(
  • @rainerstahl
    You can already use zoo to download to a custom directory (sd card included)
    you can also use it to download every attachment available via "Attachment Manager" section. What you describe would not be difficulty to do on your own.

    The sorting algorithm is kind of lame, it just uses alphabetical and counts " " as before "A" which zotero doesn't so there is a mismatch.
Sign In or Register to comment.