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Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category

PocketBible for Mac OS X is Now Available

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 6 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.56.40 PMWe’re pleased to announce that version 1.0 of PocketBible for Mac OS X is now available for download at the Laridian website! You can find out more about PocketBible and hundreds of Bibles and reference books available now for Mac here.

Easier Searching

The Mac version of PocketBible implements an improved search algorithm we first introduced in PocketBible for Android a few weeks ago. Rather than asking you to learn the language of Boolean algebra and regular expressions in order to be able to formulate a search specification, PocketBible allows you to simply tell it what you’re looking for, like ”faith comes by hearing”. PocketBible performs about a dozen parallel searches to find not only every verse in which the phrase you’re searching for occurs, but also verses in which words that sound like or have the same root word as the words you’re looking for appear in the same order or close to the same order as you entered them. The result is that PocketBible for Mac OS X is more likely to find the verse you’re looking for than were previous versions. So a search for “faith comes by hearing” finds Romans 10:7 in the KJV even though in that verse, “comes” is “cometh”.

PocketBible for Mac also takes advantages of capabilities of our electronic books that we have never exposed before. For example, you can search a commentary not just for its discussion of a passage, but for everywhere the passage is mentioned.

Download Free

PocketBible for Mac requires OS X 10.7 and is available as a free download. Installation is easy: open the downloaded disk image and drag the PocketBible icon to the Applications folder (just like any number of Mac apps you download from the Web). PocketBible will prompt you to create an account or log into your existing account to gain access to dozens of free Bibles and reference books, or in the case that you are already a Laridian Bible software user on another platform, access to Bibles and books you’ve previously purchased for use in that program. Once you’ve entered your login credentials, you download books directly from the “Cloud Library” feature of the program as opposed to downloading an installation program from our website. Watch instructions below:

Sync your Personal Data

If you have notes, highlights, bookmarks, or devotional reading progress in another version of PocketBible that you have sync’ed to the Laridian Cloud server, you can turn on automatic synchronization in PocketBible for Mac and have access to all your user-created data on that platform as well.

Customize the Screen Layout

PocketBible allows you to customize the screen layout, arranging books into any number of tiled panes. You can open any number of books in each pane. Panes can be resized, and books can be moved from one pane to another by simply dragging the tab corresponding to the book into the tab bar of the target pane.

There’s More to Come!

As good as PocketBible is, we’re not done with it yet! We’ll be implementing a number of advanced features that will be available for a nominal price. These include multiple tabbed layouts, the ability to rename your highlight colors, journal notes (notes that are not connected to a Bible verse), and an expanded Autostudy feature you may have seen in PocketBible for iOS. We’ll have more to say about the Advanced Feature Set in upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, the best way to find out how PocketBible for Mac OS X can enhance your Bible study is to download it today!

What’s in the Pipeline?

Posted on: August 16th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 117 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 1.2.1 was released on 8/5/14 with enhancements to the search feature. Next up is adding devotional tracking features. 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 – Version 1.0 is ready for you to download. We’re now working on what will become the Advanced Feature Set for the Mac version.
  • 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 Ancient Christian Commentary Series (IVP)
  • The Applied New Testament and Old Testament Commentary (Cook)
  • The Open Your Bible Commentary (Kingsley)
  • 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 Update

Posted on: July 12th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 4 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 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!

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!

 

PocketBible for Mac OS X Update – Searching Features

Posted on: February 24th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

Here’s a video update on our progress on PocketBible for Mac OS X.

There’s more information on our Kickstarter Page.

PocketBible for Mac OS X Update

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS X 1-9-14It’s been a while since I updated you on our progress on PocketBible for Mac OS X, so I thought I’d do that here.

For those of you who don’t follow us as closely as we’d like to think you all do, last summer we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of a Mac OS X version of PocketBible. The campaign was successful, so in August we started working on it.

We ran into some problems right away, as iOS 7 took a large percentage of our attention in September and November. And in October. And quite a bit in December. But I think that is behind us.

As you can see, there is some rudimentary functionality in place. I spent a lot of time up-front working on details of the user interface. I’m trying to build a sturdy framework on which to hang functionality. So it may seem like the program doesn’t do much yet, and it doesn’t. But there is a lot going on under the hood.

For example, all the shared C++ code that reads our Laridian Book (LBK) files has been imported into the program and is working great. You’re seeing real Bible text being displayed. And the program is able to access our server to get a list of the books you own (well, currently, it always gets the list of books I own, but once I add some user interface so you can enter your own customer ID and password, it will get your list). It allows you to maintain multiple layouts so that you can configure one for devotional reading, one for sermon prep, one for Greek word studies, etc. without having to open and close books all the time.

PocketBible Mac OS X Cloud Lib 1-9-2014While implementing PocketBible for Windows Phone and Windows Store, we added a capability to download cover art for every book. I’m taking advantage of that in the Mac version to display cover art for every book when you go to download it, and again when you select a book to open. Cover art is downloaded in a “background thread” which just means it doesn’t make you wait while it gets all those image files. It is cached locally so you don’t have to download it every time.

The screen shot on the right shows the “Cloud Library” function where you see a list of all the books you own. Unlike the iOS version of PocketBible, the list is organized by type of book (Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.) to make it easier to navigate. Books you’ve already downloaded are dimmed, or you can check the box to hide them entirely.

The “Open Book” dialog looks very similar, except it only shows you books that you’ve already downloaded from our server and installed on your Mac.

The program will support the “type-n-go” feature of the Windows Desktop version. This allows you to simply type “John 3:16″ to go to that verse, or even type “find jesus” to find everywhere in the Bible “Jesus” is mentioned. I’ve implemented an early form of this feature, which is really handy for testing. That is, I can test my go-to-verse functionality before inventing a fancy book/chapter/verse chooser.

Even though a large percentage of the code is shared with PocketBible for iOS (developing for iOS and for Mac uses the same Xcode programming environment, Cocoa class library, and Objective-C/C++ programming languages), a lot of the design of the text display system will actually be ported from the Java code in our Android version. This means we’ll be able to have continuous scrolling of the text, which we chose not to support in the iOS version.

Remember that we carefully construct our screen shots to hide all the bugs. Don’t assume since you’re looking at Bible text that the program is done. We think we’re still on schedule but there’s a lot left to do. I just thought I’d bring you up to date.

If you’re a Kickstarter contributor but you have not been notified yet about your reward(s), please contact support@laridian.com and tell us about it. We think we’ve fulfilled all the rewards we can (obviously the program itself hasn’t shipped) so if you haven’t heard from us it means we must be missing you on our list.

PocketBible for Mac OS Successfully Funded!

Posted on: July 15th, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 5 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter Project

We Made It!

Well, that was the most fun we’ve had in a long time!

We have been wanting to do a version of PocketBible for Mac OS X for several years. The problem is that we could never find any data to indicate that the market share for Mac was sufficient to justify the time and money we’d have to put into the project. Then earlier this year we had the idea to try Kickstarter to “crowd-fund” the project. This would prove to us that there was, in fact, a market for PocketBible for Mac, and would have the secondary benefit of providing funding for a portion of the project.

The trick was to select a funding goal that was high enough to make the project worthwhile but low enough that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to reach. You can take a guess at what a project like this might cost without me divulging any confidential information by looking at the average salary of a contract Mac programmer for the 10 months or so we think the project is going to take. With salary, taxes, benefits, space, and equipment, a programmer costs about $90K-$100K per year. To make it easy, we’ll use $96K ($8K/month), or $80K over the life of the project. Add our stretch goal of porting BookBuilder for Mac and figure there will be times when there will be a couple people working on the project and it’s pretty easy to get to $100K or more.

We were concerned that $100K might not be a reachable goal. The problem with Kickstarter is if you set a $100K goal and reach $90K, you get $0. So we had to consider what the minimum amount of funding would be that would prove to us there was a market but be reasonably reachable. After adding the cost of rewards and the fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon, we settled in on $28,500. At the same time, we hoped you would take us past that point to help offset more of the costs.

Over the last 40 days or so, we’ve been anxiously watching how you responded to this project. Our initial email garnered about $12K in pledges. The project slowly climbed to just over $20K during the next three weeks as we approached the Fourth of July holiday. We planned on hitting the project hard once the holiday was past and you came through for us in that last week, taking us past $28,500 on July 10.

With five days remaining before our funding deadline, we re-evaluated our goal and considered what it would cost to add BookBuilder Pro to the project. We thought another $5K would be achievable and would take care of a major share of the added cost to do BookBuilder.

At that time it also occurred to us if we had some rewards to benefit our non-Mac-using customers, they might be willing to help out. So we added some rewards to appeal to our current customers on other platforms.

So we set a “stretch goal” of $33,500. A Kickstarter “stretch goal” is an informal term that someone came up with to describe a funding goal beyond the original goal. Normally the project is expanded in some way in response to reaching the stretch goal. It took less than three days for you to get us past that goal.

Over the last couple days of the campaign we picked up those who were motivated not so much by reaching the goal, but by the desire to lock in low prices on the various PocketBible Library collections and add-on books. Many of you also increased your pledges during that time to add add-on rewards.

What Now?

Kickstarter will begin collecting your pledges immediately. If it has problems collecting, it will make repeated attempts to contact you and encourage you to make good on your pledge. They tell us this process takes a couple weeks. We are not involved in the collection process; it is handled by Amazon. Amazon does not release any funds to us nor does Kickstarter give us access to our final backers list until this process is complete.

Once we get our final backers list, we’ll be contacting you to confirm your selection of add-on rewards. We anticipate this will take a couple more weeks, depending on how quickly everyone responds. Once this is complete, we’ll fulfill rewards for add-on books that can be fulfilled without waiting for the completion of the project. (That is, the six add-on rewards consisting of add-on books for non-Mac platforms.) The rest of the rewards will not be fulfilled until the project is complete, of course.

Also at this point (that is, once funding is received) work will begin in earnest on the project. My plan is to post updates through Kickstarter for our backers on a regular basis, sharing progress with you as often as I can. I’ll also be sharing updates here on the blog, though not as often.

When Will We See Alpha and Beta Test Versions of PocketBible for Mac?

“Alpha” versions of the program are not feature-complete and are used for the purpose of evaluating user interface concepts and testing some functionality of the program. “Beta” versions are feature-complete (or very close to feature-complete) and are intended for more practical testing of all of the features of the program.

At this point I can’t say when those versions will be released, but I can say that distribution of alpha- and beta-test versions of PocketBible for Mac OS will be limited to our Kickstarter backers. As a result, I’ll be making those announcements through Kickstarter in the form of private project updates.

Thanks!

So… we have a lot of work ahead of us. On behalf of everyone here at Laridian I want to thank you for proving there is a market for PocketBible for Mac, being willing to put your money on the line to fund this project, and for having faith in us to complete it successfully. We are grateful for those of you who have contacted us to encourage us and let us know you’re praying for us. We hope to be found worthy of your trust.

PocketBible for Mac OS Stretch Goals and New Add-On Rewards

Posted on: July 10th, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 5 Comments

I was surprised to see that we reached our $28,500 funding goal for PocketBible for Mac OS on the morning of July 10! Thank you so much for your support!

We still have five days left before the Kickstarter project stops accepting pledges, so here’s what we’d like to do: We are announcing a “stretch goal” of $33,500. If we reach that funding level, we’ll include BookBuilder Pro for Mac in the project. And to help us get there, we’re adding some rewards to attract our non-Mac users (and Mac users) to pledge.

BookBuilder Pro is the tool we use in-house to create add-on reference books and Bibles for PocketBible. Right now it’s a Windows-only product. In our effort to make Mac a “first-class” platform for our company, we’d like to be able to offer all the same products we have for Windows on the Mac platform. If you’ll take us to $33,500 we’ll make sure that happens.

We also want to offer some new rewards, most of which would be attractive to all PocketBible users, not just those of you with Macs. We’re adding the following rewards:

  • John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible: $20 ($29.99 value, http://LPB.cc/JGEEB)
  • Barne’s Notes on the Bible: $35 ($49.99 value, http://LPB.cc/BNB)
  • John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible: $17 ($24.99 value, not yet completed so no product page to link to)
  • Darby’s Synopsis of the Books of the Bible: $10 ($14.99 value, http://LPB.cc/SYNBB)
  • Laridian Book of Classic Hymns: $9 ($12.99 value, http://LPB.cc/LBCH)
  • Laridian English Dictionary: $9 ($12.99 value, http://LPB.cc/LED)

We will fulfill these rewards as soon as the Kickstarter campaign is complete. They tell us it takes a couple weeks after the campaign closes before we’ll have a final list of backers. The rewards above will be fulfilled as soon as possible after we have that list.

Note that all of the books above are included in the five “PocketBible Library” collections offered as rewards already. So: If you have not pledged yet, you can choose one of these new rewards. If you’ve already pledged something less than $50 for the $50 reward, you can modify your pledge (increasing it if necessary) and choose one of these rewards. Or if you’re at the $25 level you can add to your pledge and at the end of the campaign we’ll contact you and you can tell us to use the excess in your pledge to get one of these rewards.

If we reach our stretch goal, we’ll give you the chance to add BookBuilder Pro, a $49.99 value, to your reward package for $35. If you’re interested in BookBuilder Pro, just go to Kickstarter and modify your pledge to add $35. At the end of the campaign we’ll contact you to find out how you want to allocate the extra funds. At that time you’ll be able to select BookBuilder Pro as an add-on reward, assuming we reach the stretch goal of $33,500.

In summary here’s what you should be thinking about depending on where you’re at with your pledge:

  • Best Value: The absolute best value in the list of rewards is the Exclusive Kickstarter Edition PocketBible Library. Most of the rewards are worth 3% to 30% more than the minimum pledge. The Kickstarter Edition is $900-$950 worth of products for $500. That’s almost twice the value of your pledge. Think of it this way: Your $300 pledge gets you the Platinum Edition Library and Advanced Feature Set, which you’ll be able to get for about $310 the day after PocketBible for Mac ships. But your $500 pledge gets you the Kickstarter Edition Library, which will cost you over $900 when PocketBible for Mac ships. Without a doubt, it is your best value.
  • Mac Users: Add $35 to your pledge. If we top $33,500 we’ll give you the opportunity to add BookBuilder Pro for Mac to your reward.
  • Mac Users pledging less than $50: Add $9 or more to your pledge. You can either select one of the new add-on book rewards if you haven’t selected a reward already, or you’ll be able to add one of those books to your existing $25 reward. We’ll contact you when the campaign is complete to find out what you want to do.
  • Windows/Non-Mac users: Consider helping your Mac-based brothers and sisters out by pledging as little as $9 and selecting one of the new add-on book rewards. We’ll fulfill these rewards as soon as Kickstarter provides us the final backer list.
  • Everyone: Add anything to your pledge to push us over our new stretch goal of $33,500!

PocketBible for Mac OS: Design Principles

Posted on: July 8th, 2013 by Craig Rairdin 2 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OSWhile it may not be evident from the outside, there are certain philosophies, both of Bible study and software design, that strongly influence each of our Bible study apps regardless of platform. While we’re not at a point where we can give a concrete demonstration of PocketBible for Mac OS, we can talk about how those philosophies will influence our work.

In no particular order:

You should spend most of your time in PocketBible wrestling with the Bible text, not with your Bible software. This means that frequently accessed functionality should be immediately available, and that you shouldn’t have to deal with overlapping windows that obscure the text you’re trying to read. You shouldn’t be thinking about how to arrange things on the screen or how to access basic functions like navigating to a verse or creating a note, but instead be thinking about what you’re reading and how it applies to your life.

While we should consider specific use cases and how they are served by our design, we shouldn’t design around the use cases. We think a lot about all the things you might want to do with your Bible software, like search for a word, compare Bible translations, and view a commentary on a passage. This list of ways that you use our software defines a set of “use cases” (or “user stories”).

Informally, a “use case” or “user story” is a combination of a specific goal (“User must be able to search the text for a given word or phrase”) and a description of the steps or interactions with the program necessary to meet that goal. Programmers use these use cases as part of validating that their solution meets the user’s requirements.

Some Bible software companies make the mistake of creating new user interface elements for every use case. In these programs, when you’re in “search mode” the program looks and behaves differently than it does while just browsing through the text. When you want to compare two translations of the Bible, the second one pops up in a window that may obscure a portion of what you’re reading, and which doesn’t have all the functionality you have in your “main” Bible. And the only way to view a commentary might be to split your Bible window to show a commentary beneath it, with no consideration given to how you might open a second commentary or that you might not want to lose space for Bible text when viewing a commentary. And while you might consider “commentaries” and “dictionaries” to be just “reference books” and expect them to work similarly, the program might display dictionaries in the form of pop-up windows when activated for a particular word, covering other text and behaving differently than commentaries, devotionals and other reference books.

We will try to create a flexible user interface where, for example, search results, bookmark lists, lists of notes, and other “lists of verses” share a common user interface component or pattern, and where opening a Bible to compare to the current one is no different than opening a dictionary, commentary, devotional, or any other book. There’s less to learn and there are fewer surprises.

PocketBible for Mac OS should not necessarily look like PocketBible for Windows, PocketBible for Android, or even PocketBible for iOS. While it should share a lot of design, algorithms, and even code with those platforms, it should look and feel like a Mac app, not a Windows app ported to the Mac or even an iOS app ported to the Mac. We like to take the best features of all our previous apps and combine them with fixes to the mistakes we made in previous apps and wrap them in a user interface that is consistent with the other apps on the target platform.

Mac users should not feel like they are being accommodated, but rather that Laridian considers Mac to be a primary platform for its products, and PocketBible for Mac a flagship product. We confess that we treat certain platforms as second-class citizens. For example, both our BlackBerry and webOS apps were “Bible only” apps, and neither shared the LBK file format used by our other apps. BlackBerry was primarily an enterprise (business) platform, and the future of webOS was always doubtful. This made it difficult to commit the time and money to those platforms that would’ve been necessary to really do them right. Mac OS is different. It is our intention to make it difficult to tell if we’re “Mac people” or “Windows people” because of our level of commitment to both platforms.

PocketBible for Mac OS will focus on the needs of the 99% of Christians who are neither “clergy” nor “Bible scholars”. Most of our customers occupy the pews on Sunday morning and work in secular jobs during the week. While many are Sunday School teachers or Bible study leaders and a few are pastors, most are simply everyday Christians with a love of the Bible. Some have some experience with Greek or Hebrew, but most don’t do their daily devotional reading from the Greek New Testament. PocketBible for Mac OS may include resources like the Greek New Testament and meaty, scholarly commentaries, but its focus will be on concise, accessible works that help the average Christian understand and apply the teachings of the Bible in their daily walk. It’s not that we have a disdain for the original languages, but rather that, as Bible software users and everyday Christians ourselves, we understand there are people out there who understand those languages significantly better than we do, and it’s better, faster, and easier for us to read what they’ve written in English about the Bible than to depend on our own spotty and questionable original language knowledge.

Of course, the 1% of you who dream in Greek will want a different Bible study app. PocketBible may not be for you. We understand that; you’re not our target user.

Given a choice, we will take functionality over complexity; usability over displays of our technical prowess, and simplicity over beauty. We’re not trying to solve every problem in the field of computerized Bible study, but instead we’re trying to provide a tool that can help you solve the most common problems you encounter in your everyday study of the BIble. We’re not trying to flex our programming muscles to win your admiration, but instead give you something you can be expected to use and understand with minimal learning time. We feel that beauty is often only skin-deep; that simplicity and elegance are beautiful in their own way. You may find another girl who looks prettier, but PocketBible is the girl you want to take home to meet your parents and be with forever.

We hope this helps you understand more about how we think about Bible software and from there, maybe infer how that might apply to PocketBible for Mac OS. Of course you’ll be seeing more concrete examples of these principles in practice as we begin to work on PocketBible for Mac OS — assuming, of course, that we reach our funding goal for the project on Kickstarter!

©2014 Laridian