Subscribe to Updates

Click here to subscribe to new posts by email. We use Google FeedBurner to send these notifications.

Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

PocketBible 1.4.7 at App Store

Posted on: February 13th, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 33 Comments

Apple just approved this latest update to PocketBible for the iPhone/iPad. iPad users can now hide the Toolbox when in landscape orientation! (Yes, we do pay attention to your requests.) :-)

Follow up (2/16/2011): For the Android users who have been posting sometimes nasty comments implying that we’re wasting time on useless features for iPad while they sit on their thrones making demands of how we (specifically I, Craig) should be spending our time, let me first say I’ve deleted your comments. As far as the time involved, let me explain how this works. As we get bug reports, we fix the problems in the code. We may not stop and do a release immediately because often the bugs are cosmetic or more of an annoyance than a real problem. We don’t want to take the time to jump through the App Store hoops and have everyone download a new version of the app just to discover there’s no real changes for most people. Instead, we accumulate a few of those changes until we run into one that is particularly bad.

That’s what happened this time. One whole feature of searching was unavailable on the iPad due to a recent iOS update from Apple. The actual fix to that problem was done by Jeff between chemo/radiation treatments. And since we were going to be doing an update anyway, I pulled out the suggestion list to see if there was anything I could do relatively quickly to add a new feature. The ability to hide the Toolbox in landscape mode on the iPad involved changing about four lines of code and had very little risk. I also looked at one other feature but it was taking too much time so I just left it on the list for later.

We know that we have customers waiting for an Android version of PocketBible. There’s no need to reply to every single Facebook post and every single blog post with snarky comments about how you wish we were announcing the Android product instead. Believe it or not, it doesn’t make it go faster nor does it change our priorities, which are already heavily tilted toward Android.

PocketBible for iPhone/iPad 1.4.6 Available

Posted on: December 21st, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

That was quick.

On Monday morning I uploaded version 1.4.6 to the App Store. On Tuesday night it was approved. Nice.

This version has just a few little bug fixes:

  • Fixed a bug in which the program would crash during synchronization of notes containing certain Unicode characters
  • Sped up wildcard searches (ones with asterisks on the end of the word to match all endings)
  • Fixed a bug in the Toolbox caused by iOS 4.2, in which list selection wasn’t retained
  • Fixed a long-standing and never-reported error in mapping verses from Daniel in the New American Bible to Daniel in the New Revised Standard Version.
  • Did a lot of work under the hood that (hopefully) you can’t see to set us up for some cool new features in version 2.

The wildcard search enhancement is interesting in that it is a direct result of porting the code to Java for Android. As I was going through the code it occurred to me there was a simple and faster way to do it. I implemented it the new way in Java then went back and updated the C++ code for PocketBible so it would have the same enhancement. This particular update also made it into an update of PocketBible for Windows back in October. Just one more way that Android is making the world a better place, I guess. :-)

Don’t get too excited about the mention of version 2. We haven’t said much about it yet and won’t be saying much for a while. I only mention the changes in case we happen to have broken something in the process. That will be our excuse. :-)

What we’ve done is completely re-written the way PocketBible keeps track of what Bibles and books are installed, and how it categorizes those books. For example, we weren’t differentiating between a “Bible” and a “Strong’s-numbered Bible”, nor between a “Dictionary” and a “Strong’s Dictionary”. We are now.

That particular change was needed for these new features I alluded to, but it also will come in handy for Android. I was going to have to do the same thing in the Java code. This way I don’t have to design it; I can just translate Jeff’s work. Thanks, Jeff!

In an unrelated bit of news, look for a new website design coming from us soon. We’re hoping to make it easier to find your way around; easier to buy books; and easier to work with your download account. We’re also making the site easier for us to maintain by reducing the overall number of hand-coded pages from a couple thousand down to a couple dozen. The rest are generated by scripts that run against a database. If you have an iPhone you’ve seen it already but don’t know it; the same technology underlies the “PocketBible Bookstore” that is built into PocketBible for iPhone.

PocketBible 1.4.3 Available on App Store

Posted on: July 25th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 22 Comments

The first of four new PocketBible products is available on the App Store. “PocketBible FREE” was approved earlier this evening.

We’re still waiting for approval on the Life Application Study Bible Collection, the NIV Study Bible Collection, and the NIV Reference Collection. These are primarily targeted at new users of PocketBible, but depending on the state of your PocketBible Library, you might find them to be valuable as an existing customer.

The new version features a built-in link to the PocketBible Bookstore. The approval snuck up on me this evening and I’m not quite done with all the tweaks to the product catalog. If you find a problem with any of the product pages, send me an email at craigr@laridian.com. Please don’t post them here.

Note that when you purchase a book from the built-in bookstore, we’ll eventually be able to tell PocketBible to automatically download it when you go to Add/Remove Books. That feature requires some more work on the server, which I hoped to get done this weekend but it’s looking less and less likely. Soon.

This version should also fix any lingering task-switching problems for iPhone 4 owners.


Now on the App Store: PocketBible 1.4.2

Posted on: July 12th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 31 Comments

We’ve updated PocketBible to fix an annoying little problem on iPhone 4 in which what we call the “launch options” screen is displayed when you re-start PocketBible after the OS has dumped it from memory while it was idle. While we were in there, we added a couple little features:

iPhone and iPad Features

  • Added an option to enable/disable the use of colored buttons in the Bk/Ch/Vs verse selection forms to indicate sections of the Bible. Some people really hated what one of you called the “funky button colors” so we gave you the option to use a very un-funky gray for all the buttons.
  • Added an option to set margins and line leading for single- and multiple-pane screen configurations. Some people wanted to see more text on the screen in the single-pane mode. This lets you do that. While we were at it we gave you the option of setting margins and leading in the multiple-pane view, too.
  • Fixed a bug in which the temporary highlighting of the linked-to verse could disappear after synchronization with our server, removing or updating books, or coming out of the suspended state (iOS 4).

iPhone-only Features

  • Added “Split Screen” to Context menu. It’s a little more convenient there than going to Menu, Settings, Open Panes, and choosing “2″.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the launch options form to sometimes be displayed when coming out of the “suspended” state.

The next update won’t have any new features in it per se, but gives us the ability to sell our “collections” on the App Store and sets us up for in-app purchasing of books.

PocketBible and PrayerPartner Updates Submitted to App Store

Posted on: June 25th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

Today we submitted PocketBible 1.4.1 and PrayerPartner 1.1.0 to the App Store.

PrayerPartner has been updated for iOS 4. This is primarily related to making PrayerPartner aware of and compatible with multitasking. However, we are also taking advantage of a new feature of iOS 4 – a programmatic interface to the text messaging composition form. PrayerPartner has previously helped you send emails regarding requests on your prayer list. Now it can also help you send text messages.

We also took this opportunity to add some email and text messaging capability to PocketBible. While I ran into some problems that prevented me from including these features in our 1.4.0 update, those issues have been resolved. PocketBible now allows you to send Bible verses via email or text messaging to people in your contact list.

Note that the text messaging features are only available with iOS 4, and your device must be capable of sending text messages.

As always, we expect the approval process to take 2 to 10 days. When the updates are approved, iTunes will notify you that the updates are available.

App Store Updates: PocketBible 1.4.0 and RomansRoad 1.0.3

Posted on: June 24th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 21 Comments

This posting has been edited to reflect the fact that PocketBible 1.4.0 and RomansRoad 1.0.3 are now available on the App Store. Comments prior to the afternoon of 24 June were posted before the apps became available for download.

Both PocketBible and RomansRoad have been updated to account for new features in what Apple calls iOS 4 — version 4.0 of the iPhone OS.

What this boils down to is that the app saves its state when it is notified that the user wants to switch to another app, then restores its state when the OS notifies it that the user has switched back to it. These hoops would be completely unnecessary if Apple implemented “multitasking” the same way Windows, Windows Mobile, and even the Mac OS implements it. That is, your app doesn’t have to do anything special to run at the same time as other apps on those platforms. Leave it to Apple to reinvent the wheel — and the axle, differential, drive shaft, and engine. :-)

The new version of PocketBible also implements several changes related to notes, highlights, bookmarks, and synchronization with the server:

  • When saving notes we used to convert “special characters” like emdash, left- and right-double-quotes, bullets, etc. into HTML character entities. This is unnecessary and can be confusing the next time you open the note.
  • When synchronizing notes with the server, we’re doing a more consistent job of handling those special characters.
  • Previous versions made sure all the Toolbox panes were kept up-to-date even when they were not the active pane. As a result you could spend a lot of time waiting for a list that you never look at to be updated. The new version only updates panes when they are active or become active. This should speed up launching and updating the screen after synchronizing with the server.
  • We sped up synchronization of large data sets by making some changes on the server but also by changing the algorithm that iterates over the notes on your device. This also sped up searching of notes.
  • We gave you the ability to change the length of time the program will wait for a response from the server when synchronizing your data. This mostly affects users with a large number of notes, highlights and/or bookmarks (say, greater than 1000 of any of these).
  • We optimized the case where you’re not really searching your notes but just asking for a list of all the notes in a particular Bible. This affects how quickly the Find Notes pane in the Toolbox can be updated.
  • A previous version of PocketBible broke the rotation lock function on the iPhone. It is fixed in this version.

We still have a couple features we’re working on that take advantage of some iOS 4 features. If we can get those to work, they’ll be in 1.4.1.

Final Update on Synchronization Progress

Posted on: June 9th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 22 Comments

Good JobToday we uploaded version 1.012 of PocketBible for Windows, and version 1.002 of the iPocketBible.com Server Synchronization Provider (formerly known as the iPhone Sync Provider). These updates address three issues:

  1. Notes containing certain special characters could become corrupted in the synchronization process as those special characters were passed from platform to platform, each of which may have treated them differently.
  2. Because of differences in the way the PC and our server implemented the synchronization algorithm, “old” data from the PC could be deleted when syncing with existing data from an iPhone.
  3. Since we were making changes, we also changed the way the PC keeps track of the date/time of the last sync. The new method eliminates rare problems caused by differences in the system time between the server and your PC.

To get the latest version of PocketBible for Windows, simply log into your download account, download it, and install it.

To get the latest iPocketBible.com Server Sync Provider to replace your old iPhone Sync Provider, go to the PocketBible for Windows site (http://www.laridian.com/pc) and select “Synchronization Providers” from the Products menu at the top of the page. Follow the instructions near the bottom of the page to download and install the iPocketBible.com Sync Provider.

The previous version of PocketBible should refuse to work with the new sync provider, and the new sync provider will refuse to work with the old version of PocketBible. So if you don’t get them installed correctly the program will tell you.

An important new feature added to PocketBible for Windows is the ability to reset your sync history. This forces PocketBible to treat the next sync as if it is the first. If you ever have to restore your PocketBible for Windows user data database, you’ll want to reset the sync history or you risk confusing the sync algorithm. When it sees that you have old data in your database that is no longer on the server, it will delete the data you just restored from your backup (thinking that you deleted it from the server). If you reset your sync history, it may find duplicates and ask you about them, but it won’t delete anything.

iPhone/iPad Users: There will be an update to the iPhone/iPad version of PocketBible to make some adjustments to the way certain special characters are handled. We currently are planning to roll this into our “iPhone 4″ update, which will be uploaded to Apple just as soon as we can.

Thanks for your patience while we worked on these updates.


PocketBible for iPad Approved for the App Store

Posted on: May 17th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 65 Comments

We just got an email from Apple saying PocketBible for iPhone/iPad is approved for the App Store. It could take 24 hours for it to become visible to you. The rest of this posting is a repeat of the announcement we made when we uploaded this new version.

Features are described here.

Video preview here: www.youtube.com/user/laridianinc.

This version adds new features to the iPhone/iPod touch and has native support for the iPad. Current users of PocketBible will see this new version as an update in the App Store app just like any other update.

If you have notes, bookmarks, etc. in MyBible for Palm OS, PocketBible for Windows Mobile, PocketBible for Windows, or iPocketBible.com you’ll be able to move these notes to your iPhone or iPad with this new version. If you have Palm OS or Windows Mobile you first need to synchronize this data with PocketBible for Windows (desktop). Then synchronize from there to iPocketBible.com. Details are here. PocketBible for iPhone/iPad syncs with iPocketBible.com so you need to get your data there to start with, then when you sync with PocketBible for iPhone/iPad it will get your notes, bookmarks, etc. from your other device(s).


Search results are displayed in the Toolbox at the bottom of the screen. Your entire library is searched, usually in a fraction of a second. Library results are on the left; results for the selected book are in the list on the right.

Split the screen into as many as five panes (three shown here) to reference commentaries and other reference books.

Here I’ve changed the font and expanded the Toolbox to give me more room to type my notes. The notes viewer supports HTML so I can create this outline using nested ordered lists. Bible text can be pasted in HTML. Here I’ve made verse numbers bold and made the text small. Any unambiguous references (such as “Col 1:3-8″ at the top) are automatically linked.

When the iPad is rotated, the Toolbox moves to the side (either right or left).

The new calculator-style verse selection method is shown here. Select the book from a drop-down list, then key in the chapter and verse on the keypad.

The Bk/Ch/Vs (“3-tap”) verse selector sports larger buttons on the iPad and is ten buttons wide to make it easier to find chapter and verse numbers.

PocketBible is great for daily devotional reading. Here Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening is shown on the left and the Bible on the right. The Reading Progress window show what you’ve already read (in green) and what you need to read (in red). I’ve hidden the Toolbox to maximize space for reading the text.

PocketBible 1.3.0 for iPad/iPhone Released to Beta Testers

Posted on: May 2nd, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 30 Comments

We took step one of getting our iPad version of PocketBible released by handing it off to our beta testers this afternoon. We have one known issue we’re still working on, plus whatever our testers find in the next few days.

Our intention (as always) is to have a very brief beta. You never know what you’re going to run into, but the code has been working well for us in-house and we’re hoping the beta testers have the same experience.

As I’ve mentioned before, Apple limits the number of devices we can install to outside the App Store. We have 46 beta testers, many of whom have multiple devices. 14 of them have iPads. That doesn’t include our own employees and company-owned devices. Between all of those we’re right on the edge of not being able to add new devices to our list. With iPhone 4 coming in June we didn’t think it was a good idea to add any beta testers at this point. So you didn’t miss the announcement — there wasn’t one.

While we’ve been promoting this as an iPad version, the fact is that it’s a “universal binary” that runs on both the iPhone and iPad. Many of the new or improved features are also going to be available on the iPhone (and of course, iPod touch). Here’s the feature list in no particular order:

BOTH iPHONE and iPAD

  • User data synchronization with iPocketBible.com server
  • User data backup/restore to iPocketBible.com server
  • Screen brightness setting (Dim the screen for reading at night independent of the backlight setting)
  • Multiple panes (Two for iPhone, five for iPad. View multiple books simultaneously, or multiple passages in the same book)
  • Decreased page-loading time (thus launch time)
  • Splash screen now covers window drawing, then fades (OK, not exactly a feature, but it’s cool)
  • Gradiated title bars
  • Calculator-style go-to for Bibles (Select the book, then use numeric pad to enter chapter and verse)
  • Notes list now shows excerpt of note instead of excerpt of verse
  • Improved error messages when nothing is found as the result of a search. Try to tell you how to fix it.
  • Updated help

iPAD

  • Control panel (Keeps search results and lists of notes, highlights and bookmarks available all the time.)
    • Library search (All searches search your entire library, not just the active book)
    • Notes search (Search your notes using Boolean operators, just like you search the Bible)
    • Book notes (Add notes to non-Bibles)
    • Edit note while using program (Makes it easier to copy/paste verses into your notes)
    • View search results, lists of highlights/bookmarks while using program
    • Lock panes so they don’t sync to content movement (Handy while writing notes or following cross-references out of a search)
  • Additional margin and leading in single-book view (Makes for a pleasant reading experience)
  • Bk/Ch/Vs go-to has bigger buttons for iPad; laid out 10 buttons wide
  • Removed “lock rotation” setting. iPad has a hardware switch for this.
  • New title bar style

 

I’ll post more screen shots and videos this week. Your patience will pay off in the end. :-)

You Might Need a Magnifying Glass…

Posted on: April 21st, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 27 Comments

I think I’ve mentioned before that the “iPad Version” of PocketBible is going to be what Apple calls a universal app. It’s not really iPad-specific. It will run on either an iPhone or an iPad. It decides at run-time which user interface to present and which features to enable. This differs from our Windows Mobile apps, which decide at install time which configuration to install (generally, a “PDA” version or a “smartphone” version).

We’ve been doing our development work on the iPad because that’s where the new features are. Yesterday Jeff installed to his iPhone just to see how we were doing. Everything worked fine, but we ran into a couple places where we forgot to do the “iPad Test” and as a result the iPad user interface was running on the iPhone. The result was the smaller of the two screen shots below.

Five panes on the iPad. Nice. Five panes on the iPhone with the font size set to 8 points. Ouch!

What’s cool is that it works fine. The tiny navigation overlays even pop up in each pane when you tap them in the center. It’s tough to hit the links, but then at 8 points, they’re tough to hit even with a full screen of text.

This points out a couple interesting facts about this project. First is that there are several features we created for the iPad that will “accidentally” start working on the iPhone, either in the next release or very soon after. For example, we’ll make it so you can open two panes (either two views into the same book or two books). And as I mentioned in connection with the video posted last week, some speed improvements that we made while developing for the iPad will affect the iPhone as well.

The other interesting thing is somewhat related. We share a lot of code between the iPhone, Palm OS, Windows, and Windows Mobile. So today when I was working on showing you a list of all your user-created notes, it was trivial to add the ability to search your notes because that’s a feature we added in PocketBible for Windows Mobile a couple years ago and it’s just been sitting in the shared code, waiting for a user interface on the iPad to expose it. (There won’t be any UI for it on the iPhone in the next release, but it could show up any time.)

The code that does note searching displays its results as a list of Bible verses. That is, if you have a note on John 3:16 that says “God loves me” and you do a search for “me” in your notes, you’ll see the text of John 3:16 in the results instead of seeing your note. So while I was in that code this morning I changed it to display the text of your note. In that case, the advantage goes the other direction — next time we build PocketBible for Windows or Windows Mobile it will automatically start showing the text of the note instead of the Bible in the search results.

I’m really liking the note-taking process on the iPad. With the new control panel, the entire application is still available while you’re writing a note. So just tap the “lock” button so your note editor stops synchronizing with the Bible text as it moves, and you can perform searches, follow cross-references, and copy passages without losing your place in your note. Leave that “lock” function active and you can follow a series of links from a note without having to go back to the noted verse and recalling the note. Again, this is an iPad-only feature in this case, since the iPhone is so much smaller. But it’s cool.

I don’t want to sound like an Apple zealot or iPad fanboy, but I’m starting to think the iPad is the platform for mobile Bible study. I know, I know — you’d like to make that decision for yourself. We’re getting close. It will be worth the wait.

©2014 Laridian