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PocketBible for Mac Update

Posted on: July 12th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 2 Comments

Very random screen shot

It’s been a while since I updated you on our progress on PocketBible for Mac OS X. I’ve been doing more frequent updates for our Kickstarter backers but not as many general posts here. So below is a video update that demonstrates most of the features of PocketBible for Mac. The video is rather long but it covers a lot of ground.

Even though I say in the video that I’m going to show you “everything that’s implemented”, I don’t. But I do show a lot of features. In particular, here are a few things I didn’t demonstrate:

  • You can change the screen layout to choose from a variety of predefined configurations of panes instead of creating/closing panes one at a time.
  • I’ve demonstrated searching before so I don’t show all those features. However, since you last saw it I added the ability to limit searches to predefined ranges of verses, like “New Testament”, “Pentateuch”, etc.
  • You can find everywhere that a verse is cross-referenced in a book by doing a search for the reference.
  • If you enter “John 3:16″ in the Find field (that is, not the Go To field) while a Bible is active, the program will treat it as a “go to” operation and take you to that verse. Similarly, searching for a word in a dictionary will instantly go to the entry for that word if there is one.
  • I didn’t demonstrate how you create bookmark categories or create a bookmark in a category, but you can do that.
  • I didn’t show how you set “preferred books” that get used in certain situations where the program has to choose which of your Bibles to open.
  • The Help button opens the PocketBible User Guide in the active pane.

I think that’s about it. There are a few Advanced Feature Set features already coded, but I have those disabled unless you actually own the Advanced Feature Set, and of course nobody owns the Advanced Feature Set yet except me. I’ll start implementing and exposing more of those during the beta period.

We’re currently in beta with a limited number of testers. I’ll be opening the beta up to more testers once we get past the unavoidable initial rounds of bugs. No need to “apply” or to tell me you want to be a beta testers — I’ll post a call for testers here when I’m ready.

PocketBible for Android v1.2.0

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 13 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.2.0 has been released to the Google Play Store. If you downloaded the app from Google Play, you should be automatically updated. If you are using a Kindle Fire (or other non-Google Play device), you can download the latest version by browsing to http://lpb.cc/android while on your device.

The major new feature in this version is the ability to add notes to Bible verses. If you have previously taken notes with other versions of PocketBible, these can now be synchronized to your Android OS device. Your data must first be synced from the other devices to the Laridian Cloud. Version 1.2.0 also includes a fix for an SD card storage issue which popped up in the latest version of Android (4.4+ – kitkat).

You can see the new note-taking feature in action here:

What’s in the Pipeline?

Posted on: June 9th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 111 Comments

We often get asked about what we are working on. While you can be sure we are always working, and that our work probably involves some version of PocketBible, we understand you may be interested in a more detailed explanation of what is going on behind the scenes. It is in that spirit that we are going to try something new with an occasional post on what’s in the pipeline for apps and books.

You’ll notice we don’t talk about release dates. We’ve been in this business for a long time and have learned that our best-laid plans often go awry. In fact, in the software business, that’s the rule rather than the exception. So we don’t spit into that wind nor tilt at those windmills. We’re pursuing the goals you see below at our best pace and will release new books and updates to our apps as soon as they’re ready.

Apps

  • PocketBible for Android – Version 1.2.0 was released on 6/9/14. Next up is enhancing the search feature to match what we’re doing on PocketBible for Mac OS X. And after that devotional tracking. Follow us on Google+ for the most up to date info.
  • PocketBible 3.1 for iOS – version 3.1.0 was uploaded to the App Store on 3/28/14. Next major update will probably coincide with whatever Apple breaks in iOS 8. We also want to look at features we’ve added to PocketBible for Mac OS X and see what could be ported to iOS.
  • PocketBible for Mac OS X – If you’re a backer of the Kickstarter project that funded this work, you will get more frequent updates through Kickstarter. Otherwise there will be updates here on the blog from time to time. The program is currently coming together nicely and we anticipate a beta release to our Kickstarter backers soon.
  • PocketBible for Windows Phone – Send us your suggestions for enhancements.
  • PocketBible for Windows Store – Version 2.2.0.318 was released to the Windows Store late in 2013. This update supports Windows 8.1 and adds new advanced features including the ability to listen to any type book and add notes directly from the notes pane.

Books

Here’s what our editorial team has in the queue for you (not in any particular order):

  • Additional volumes of the Cornerstone Commentaries (Tyndale)
  • Additional volumes of the Ancient Christian Commentary Series (IVP)
  • Framework for Christian Faith (Generation Word)
  • Wesley Study Bible (Abingdon)

Disclaimers: All this is subject to change in priority, feasibility, copyright licensing, etc. That means we reserve the right to never release these features or books. We are sharing with you the current plan which is written in sand, not stone. Also, just because something is not on this list doesn’t mean we are not considering it. Finally, we are open to your requests, suggestions and comments!

PocketBible for Mac OS X Status Update

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter ProjectPocketBible for Mac OS X is moving right along. Last month I published a simplified version of my to-do list so I thought I’d update that list and let you know how it’s going.

If you’re a Kickstarter backer of this project, you’ve been getting regular video updates from me. One went out last night. If you’re not getting these updates, check your settings at Kickstarter or just go visit the the Kickstarter page and log into your account there to view all the updates. For those who didn’t get in on the funding of the project, I’ve posted a few updates here on the blog and made some comments in the comment sections of other blog articles as people have asked. We’ve been more open about this project than we have any other project in the 26 years I’ve been writing Bible software. If you want to know what’s going on and can’t find it here, just ask.

On May 1 I was projecting “mid-June” for being done with the basic feature set (not the Advanced Features). I’ve slid about a week since then. Here’s an update on that to-do list I published last month:

  • Autosync – (Automatically sync changes to notes, highlights, and bookmarks to/from the Laridian Cloud.) This is done and working.
  • Pane management – (Provide a way to open and close panes.) This is done but I’m still seeing some flakey behavior from time to time.
  • Button icons – I’ve made a user interface change that has cut down on the number of new button images I need to create.
  • Note editing/searching - I need to spend a couple more hours on the note editor. Note searching is done and supports most of the key features of book searching (that is, results sorted by relevancy, sounds-like searches, and root-word searches).
  • History – (Implement back/forward.) Haven’t started this yet. Hope to lift the design from iOS.
  • Search – I am currently working on a couple of special features of the search pane. For example if you search the Bible for “John 3:16″ the program now shows you John 3:16 instead of searching your Bible for the text “JOHN 3:16″. And when you do a Bible verse search in any book, you’ll see a list of places in the book where there is a link to the verse.
  • Devotionals – I believe devotionals are done.
  • Highlights – Highlights are done, including renaming highlight colors if you own the Advanced Feature Set.
  • Preferred Books – Provide user interface to choose preferred books.
  • Remove some features that actually belong to the Advanced Feature Set. The program now automatically adjusts to the presence or absence of the Advanced Feature Set; I just need to make sure I’m turning on/off all the appropriate features.
  • Fix a few bugs I’ve been living with but you won’t want to. I keep finding more of these. :-)

The plan is still to make the free version of the program available first, then implement the Advanced Feature Set. Right now, the list of Advanced Features Set features looks something like this:

  • Autostudy – Word study, verse study, and I’m hoping to add a new study called “Today”, which will pull today’s Bible and devotional reading into one convenient document.
  • Saved Layouts – The ability to create different “desktops” or “layouts” for different study configurations.
  • Open All Books – Open all installed books into a predefined layout.
  • Journal Notes – Notes that are not attached to a verse, just like the Journal features on PocketBible for iOS.
  • Named Highlight Colors – The ability to rename highlight colors to something meaningful instead of just “yellow” and “pink” etc.  This is already done.

I think that brings you up-to-date. I’ll post a video update to the blog sometime soon that demonstrates more of the features that the Kickstarter backers have seen but I haven’t shown publicly.

As always, thanks for your support during this process. And if you like what we’re doing here, give us a High 5!

New for PocketBible: Francis Chan Titles

Posted on: May 22nd, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

Here are four new PocketBible titles from pastor, church planter and author, Francis Chan:

Francis Chan was the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and is the founder of Eternity Bible College. He is known for his passionate, biblical, and honest style in preaching and writing. You can learn more about Francis at his website, crazylove.org.

Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell, and Multiply are available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile and MyBible for Palm OS. List price is $9.99 each or they can be purchased together in the Francis Chan Bundle for $29.99.

New for PocketBible: Studies to Help You Grow in Your Faith

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Here are 5 new PocketBible titles that provide hundreds of individual studies to help you grow in your understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith:

Originally published as part of the award-winning CLC Bible Companion, these titles are useful for self-study and for guiding others in the basics of the Christian faith. The studies are such that they could be used as a daily devotional where you learn particular aspects of the faith over time. Bible references are easy to look up in PocketBible. You will also find them a source of ready-to-use material for teaching in home groups, bible studies or preaching in church.

The The Bible Book by Book, Discovering God’s Way, Essential Truths of Christianity, Knowing Jesus, and Living the Christian Life are available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile and MyBible for Palm OS. List price is $7.99 each or they can be purchased together in the Grow in Faith Bundle for $29.99.

PocketBible for Mac OS X Status Review

Posted on: May 1st, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 3 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter ProjectAs you know, last June we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of PocketBible for Mac OS X. As part of that campaign, we had to estimate a ship date for the product. If you know anything about software development you know that ship dates are impossible to accurately predict for complex projects, and companies that make it a hard-and-fast requirement to ship on a particular date end up issuing a series of “point releases” to fix the problems that management wouldn’t allow the programmers to fix before the ship date. So it could be argued that even products that hit their ship dates don’t hit their ship dates.

But Kickstarter required us to name an estimated ship date. I chose May 2014 based on the roughly 9 months it took our Windows Phone / Windows 8 developer to port PocketBible to that platform. I figured I had a head start over that project, since I had the iOS version of PocketBible to lift code from. (iOS and Mac both use the same language, the same development environment, and a very similar API.) I knew I’d have to take time out for iOS 7 (turned out to be more than I thought), so I’d probably consume most of that head start with that.

The Kickstarter campaign was successful and development started in August 2013. I ended up spending a lot of the rest of 2013 on iOS 7, so full-time development on the Mac didn’t really start until January.

Since most of you aren’t software professionals, I know that there is an assumption out there that when we said “May 2014″ that we knew what we were talking about. And furthermore, I know that many of you think “May” means “May 1″ (which is today). That’s OK; you don’t speak the language of programmers and don’t understand our idioms. With that in mind I thought I’d make May 1 be a major project evaluation date. The idea is that this is the day that I honestly evaluate our progress and choose features to cut or simplify in order to do my best to meet the goal of delivering this product by the end of the month.

I’ve been posting progress updates as I go along, so you have a good idea what I have done. What’s less clear is what is remaining to be done. That list looks roughly like this:

  • Autosync – Just need to add some user interface to turn this on and set the frequency. The underlying code is already there to actually do the synchronization.
  • Pane management – Provide a way to open and close panes. This is mostly user interface. The underlying code is already there.
  • Button icons – I have graphics for the majority of buttons, but not all.
  • Notes – Implement a note editor and the ability to show a list of your notes. The latter is easy. The former I hope to lift from Android. Also implement note searching.
  • History – Implement back/forward . Hope to lift this from iOS.
  • Search – The bulk of this is done. I have a small number of special cases to deal with, for example if you search the Bible for John 3:16 it should show you John 3:16, not search for the text “JOHN 3:16″ in your Bible.
  • Devotionals – Finish the devotional go-to pane and the features of the Today menu. This includes setting a start date, catching up when you get behind, and providing a user interface to marking the day’s reading as complete.
  • Highlights – Finish the highlight pane. I can highlight verses and show lists of highlighted verses but there are a few more little features (such as deleting all highlights in a particular color and renaming the highlight colors for Advanced Features owners) that need to be implemented.
  • Preferred Books – Provide user interface to choose preferred books.
  • Remove some features that actually belong to the advanced feature set. These include being able to create multiple saved screen layouts.
  • Fix a few bugs I’ve been living with but you won’t want to.

If all goes extremely well, I can get all of the above done by mid-June. All will not go extremely well. I will most likely delay some of these features, such as searching notes, until after the initial release.

The list above excludes features I intend to implement for the Advanced Feature Set. The plan would be to make the free version of the program available, then implement the Advanced Feature Set. Right now, that list looks something like this:

  • Autostudy – Word study, verse study, and I’m hoping to add a new study called “Today”, which will pull today’s Bible and devotional reading into one convenient document.
  • Saved Layouts – The ability to create different “desktops” or “layouts” for different study configurations.
  • Open All Books – Open all installed books into a predefined layout.
  • Journal Notes – Notes that are not attached to a verse, just like the Journal features on PocketBible for iOS.
  • Named Highlight Colors – This is already done.

If all goes extremely well, these features could be complete by mid-July. All will not go extremely well.

As part of our Kickstarter campaign, we also promised to do a Mac version of BookBuilder. We estimated that would be complete at the end of June. I don’t think it will take long and may attack it over a couple of weekends. I’ll have more to say about that project once I get a chance to look into it.

This sounds like I’m announcing that the program will be late, but I’m actually quite happy with our progress and am optimistic about meeting these dates. I also hope to make some betas available to our Kickstarter supporters before the final version ships, so it’s possible you’ll be using the program relatively soon.

Thanks for your support during this process. If you like what we’re doing here, give us a High 5!

 

A Couple Security-Related Issues

Posted on: April 11th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 6 Comments

HeartbleedJust a couple brief comments  on two unrelated security issues. You’ve probably heard about the Heartbleed vulnerability that affected many websites this week. For some reason, the media didn’t mention that the affected servers are running Linux. (There are issues with certain programs running on other servers, but the primary impact was for those sites running Linux-based servers.) They’re quick to jump on Microsoft when it comes to security flaws in Windows, but I guess Linux doesn’t get the same treatment. Weird.

Anyway, we run Windows servers here and don’t appear to be affected by Heartbleed. This blog is on a Linux box, but there’s nothing valuable here except for my rambling a on various topics, and those are only mildly worth stealing.

Coincidentally, we were working on another security-related issue when we heard about Heartbleed. A few of you have given us grief in the past for sending password reminders in email. While your Laridian password doesn’t expose any personal information of import, except perhaps your mailing address — which is widely available elsewhere — it was still disconcerting to see your password show up in clear text.

So we’ve made some changes now so that we don’t send out passwords but instead send a link to a page where you can reset your password.  This should provide a little more security, especially if you’re in the habit of using the same password everywhere. :-)

New for PocketBible: Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 4 Comments

We’ve had numerous request over the years to publish the Book of Common Prayer. We now have available for use with PocketBible, the 1979 edition of this historical book, used primarily by the Episcopal church in the United States.

The Book of Common Prayer is a resource for communal worship and personal devotion. It includes rites and guides to administration of sacraments as well as a daily office, lectionary and more. Rather than the full Bible text that may be provided in a printed copy of this book, the PocketBible edition of this book links to Bible passages so you can view the text in your preferred Bible translation.

The Book of Common Prayer is available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile. It is also available for use with MyBible for Palm OS. The title lists for $4.99 and can be ordered at the Laridian website.

PocketBible 3.1 Now Available on the App Store

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 19 Comments

PocketBible 3.1 is now available on the App Store. This update adds some new features and fixes to PocketBible Version 3.0.26.

PocketBible 3 is still free, and for existing PocketBible version 3 or version 2 users it should show up as an available update in the App Store. If you are still using PocketBible 1.4.7, we offer step-by-step instructions to move to PocketBible 3.

New Features:

  • Users with the Advanced Feature Set can change the behavior of the touch zones. The most common customization is to use swipe up and down for page changes instead of swiping left and right. Other customizations are possible.
  • Added buttons for paragraphs, bold, italic, underline, ordered lists, unordered lists, and list items to the Note editor on the iPad.
  • Journal titles are now included in searches (Journal feature is part of Advanced Feature Set).

Minor Enhancements:

  • Changed the defaults for “Sync Bible/Commentaries” and “Highlight Linked Passage” to ON.
  • Reduced the height of the expanded Toolbox in “upside down portrait” orientation so there’s more room for the keyboard to pop up without obscuring Bible text.
  • Allow the horizontal rule tag to appear in notes without requiring the user to take responsibility for inserting paragraph tags.
  • Preserve the user’s customer ID and password when resetting program settings to their defaults. This should reduce the occurrence of users inadvertently invalidating their user data and books.
  • Removed the “launch recovery dialog” that is displayed on launch after a program crash. The program will always retry without giving the user the option of deleting all their settings, which can result in invalidation of user-created data and the need to delete and re-install books.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a crash when user has more than about 70-75 books open simultaneously.
  • Fixed a crash in the Note editor on the iPhone when inserting font size or font color tags.
  • Fixed the list of verses at the top of the Note editor so that it gets correctly updated, especially when the Lock button is turned on.
  • Fixed erroneous cursor position after inserting certain HTML tags in the Note editor. Confirmed in iOS 7; could still be incorrect in earlier versions.
  • Fixed a misbehavior of the pop-up “menu” view on the iPad under iOS 7.1 in which it was not getting properly dismissed when subsequent toolbar buttons were pressed.

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