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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:


  • User data synchronization with server
  • User data backup/restore to 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


  • 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. :-)

PocketBible for iPad Preview

Posted on: April 15th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 42 Comments

I’ve uploaded a video preview of PocketBible for iPad to YouTube at Because the video resolution isn’t as good as the iPad screen resolution, I’ve reproduced some representative screen shots below. Click on the screen shot to see the full-resolution image.

Nearly full-page casual reading mode with increased line leading and margins. Tool bar and title bar can be removed if you really, really have to see one more line of text.

Control panel provides quick access to search results, highlights, bookmarks, notes, and eventually more features. Control panel follows home button as iPad is rotated and can be removed in portrait mode.

PocketBible for iPad quickly searches your entire library at one time and displays number of hits per book. Select a book to see list of results; select a result to see it in context in the book. Control panel shown expanded.

View a list of all your highlights, or all highlights in a particular color in your entire library. Similarly, you can see a list of all bookmarks or all bookmarks in a particular category.

Easily choose a different font and size. Dim the display for reading at night.

Split the screen to show two Bibles side-by-side. Bibles track each other — as you move through one, the other moves to the same verse.

Open a commentary beside a Bible and the two are synchronized. As you view a verse in the Bible, the commentary follows along.

Split the screen into up to five windows.

We reserve the right to make changes to the user interface (UI) and to functionality before we ship. In fact, there are a few things still in flux and at least one major feature that hasn’t been plugged into the new UI yet. So expect changes from what you see here.

We’re especially excited about the flexibility the control panel gives us for new features and for giving you instant access to search results and bookmarks. We also have enjoyed just reading the Bible in full-screen mode.

While the iPad is faster than the iPhone, we’ve also made changes to the code that have really sped up the display of text, making scrolling by verses and even chapters significantly more useful. The nice thing is that the iPhone and iPad code is the same at this level so the improvements will spill over to the iPhone.

Having said that, it should be obvious that not all the features of PocketBible for iPad will find their way to the iPhone. We’ll probably add split-screen, but not more than two windows.

One thing we’re concerned about is app approval times on the App Store. We submitted Romans Road for release on the April 3 iPad release date. We followed Apple’s instructions for making sure our app was available on April 3, but then we never heard anything further from them so we’re not sure what the status of that app is. We’ve heard the same thing from other developers.

We don’t have a schedule for releasing this version of PocketBible yet. As you can see it’s very nearly complete but there are some big features that need to be plugged in.

iPad Update

Posted on: March 27th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 26 Comments

With the WiFi iPads shipping for delivery in less than a week, I thought we should update you on our status.

Today (March 27) is the last day to submit apps to the App Store and be guaranteed they’ll be available on the iPad App Store on its official release date (April 3). For a while that was our goal, but as time went on we realized it would be in everyone’s best interest if we had a chance to see what PocketBible looked like on the actual hardware. The emulator we run on our Macs is good, but it’s not the real hardware. We’re concerned about performance and simple things like the usability of the user interface, given that we can’t really tell how big our buttons are or what it’s going to “feel” like on a real device until we have one in our hands.

So, we won’t release a product to the App Store until we have a chance to see it running on real hardware. So that means sometime after April 3.

The great thing about the iPad is that it runs our iPhone code pretty much as-is. The bad thing is that it runs our iPhone code as-is. The experience of running an iPhone app on the iPad will be less than optimum, but it at least will give the iPad a couple hundred thousand apps on day one. Ideally, every iPhone developer will be customizing their apps for the iPad, and that’s what we’ve been doing.

While the iPad is a mobile device, it has the screen real estate of a desktop or laptop device (1024 x 768). That means while we’re using our iPhone code as a base, we have to think like we’re developing for the desktop. Not a desktop computer with a mouse and a real keyboard, though, but a desktop computer you operate with your fingers and type on a pop-up keyboard. So the interface is an interesting intersection of desktop and mobile paradigms.

So what will be new or different on the iPad? First, You’ll have plenty of space on the screen for some controls to be present all the time, just like on your desktop where menus and toolbars are generally always there. This makes it easier and more intuitive to get around.

Second, the bigger screen means there’s room to split the screen and show you more than one book at a time if you want.

Third, we’ve taken advantage of this opportunity to add a frequently requested feature: The ability to search your entire library at one time. The larger screen means there’s room to give you both a search results browser and a library browser at the same time. We think this is going to be a great addition to the program.

Finally, you can expect changes to how you open books and navigate within books. It should take fewer touches to find your way around your library.

We’ll post some more details as we get closer to releasing the product. With the actual release of the iPad itself coming up, we just wanted to give you some advance notice of what’s coming. We think you’re going to like it.

It’s iPad Ordering Day!

Posted on: March 12th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

Apple started taking orders this morning (March 12) at 7:30AM CST for the new iPad. The WiFi version ships in time to arrive at your home on April 3, while the WiFi+3G version ships in late April.

You can place your order at The 16GB WiFi version is $499. 32GB is $599 and 64GB is $699. Add $130 to each of those prices if you want 3G. You’ll have to pay for a 3G data plan separately, of course.

As we’ve said before, we don’t talk about what may or may not be under development. But you can expect some new iPad-specific features in PocketBible that we think will make it an even more compelling application than it is on the iPhone and rival what we offer in PocketBible for Windows. We’ll get more details out as we get closer to a ship date.

And don’t worry about migrating your notes, highlights, bookmarks, and reading progress to the iPad. Before it arrives, we’ll have an update that will allow you to synchronize or backup your data to our server, then synchronize or restore it to PocketBible on your new iPad. Of course this feature will also let you move any user-created data you had on your old Palm or Windows Mobile phone to your iPhone assuming you have PocketBible for Windows running on your desktop or laptop. You’ll sync your Palm or WinMob phone to PocketBIble for Windows, then sync PocketBible for Windows with our server. Then sync your iPhone with the server and you’re done.

So if you want to be the first on your block to own an iPad, get your order placed as soon as you can. By the way, you can ignore the temptation to pay for expedited shipping. Your new iPad will be shipped in time to arrive on April 3 and the shipping is free. The 2-3 shipping option applies only to the accessories you order with your iPad, which will ship later.

RomansRoad eTract Available for iPhone

Posted on: January 21st, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 10 Comments

A few weeks ago (around the turn of the year), I answered a technical support query about whether any of our eTracts for the Pocket PC had been published for the iPhone. They haven’t been, so it was an easy question to answer. However, that question planted a seed, which sprouted and leads to today’s announcement: our RomansRoad eTract is now available for the iPhone.

RomansRoad eTract is a Scripture-based discussion guide to help you share your Christian faith. Based upon the familiar “Romans Road” series of verses from the book of Romans, this witnessing tool uses a unique question and answer format to provide a framework to help you share your faith. As each new key verse is presented, probing questions and explanatory answers are also provided to help you both explain the Scripture and answer common questions that arise.

For example, Romans 3:23 states that all have sinned. Upon presenting this key verse, the RomansRoad eTract provides the following questions:

  • What is sin?
  • Who has sinned?
  • Does that include you and me?
  • Not convinced that you are a sinner?

Answers to these questions are provided using everyday language.

This format — presentation of a key verse with concise, clear commentary in a question and answer format — provides a framework allowing you to share your faith while personalizing your discussion. Since it is discussion-based, you are able to listen and respond to the questions you receive, and be sensitive to God’s leading.

An individual page or all pages can be emailed, facilitating both further consideration and follow-up at a later date.

If you find the RomansRoad eTract a helpful resource in sharing your faith, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment on this article and/or post a review on the App Store with your experiences.

Find It On the App Store

The RomansRoad eTract is available on the App Store for 99 cents. Click here to go to the iTunes App Store now.

The RomansRoad eTract is fully stand-alone. It does not require PocketBible nor any other Laridian product. So, even if you use some one else’s Bible software on your iPhone (though you should try PocketBible, it’s free!), you can still use the RomansRoad eTract.

Some More of the Backstory

I first wrote and published this eTract for use on the Pocket PC. Since then, the text has been revised and expanded several times. I’d estimate that this is really the fourth or fifth edition of the text. I’ve published previous editions in paper format as well.

Last week, I posted the RomansRoad eTract icon on our facebook “fan page” and invited guesses about the program. Several were close, and a few were exactly right!

If you follow me on Twitter, this is what I have been referring to as my “#newsecretiphoneproject”.

Screen Shots

Sample Screen



PrayerPartner for iPhone

Posted on: December 15th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 24 Comments

PrayerPartner for the iPhone is now available on the Apple App Store. Search for “PrayerPartner” in the App Store, or try this link.

For only $1.99 (you may have paid more for a cup of coffee today), PrayerPartner helps you manage an important spiritual discipline: prayer.

PrayerPartner helps you by maintaining lists of prayer requests, keeping track of which ones have been answered, which ones you’d like to pray for today, and which ones have already been prayed for today. Each request can be categorized, associated with a contact from your Contacts Address Book, and scheduled to be prayed for daily, on certain days of the week, or certain days of the month. Customizable email templates let you quickly mail a personal note of encouragement to a request’s contact. Plus, use the dated journal to record your thoughts as you pray.

Not Excited Yet? Keep Reading

Many of our PocketBible beta testers jumped on board to help with final testing of PrayerPartner. One common comment from them went something like… well, let’s hear from a few directly.

“PrayerPartner has given me the push I need to stay on top of other people’s requests. How many times do people specifically ask for prayer, and we somehow forget to ever petition the Lord on their behalf? This app is helping me make sure that I take their requests seriously, and it makes it easier to follow up with them when their prayers are answered.”
— Lawson C.

“I have found PrayerPartner to be indispensable. I did not know I had a need for an app like this until I started using it, and now it is on my home screen with the applications I use all the time.”
— Paul W.

“I didn’t know how valuable PrayerPartner would be until I started using it. Now I use PrayerPartner every day!”
— Mike O.

It’s interesting that a common theme developed: “I wasn’t really interested in a prayer-related program, but I found that it’s been good for me.”

Sort of like eating vegetables and flossing, I guess. :-)

Seriously, though, I’ve found this to be true for me as well. Now that I’m through developing and testing, I’ve been adding my requests. Here’s what I’ve added so far.

  • a daily praise, different for every day of the month
  • a daily prayer for my children, a different topic every day of the month
  • some friends to be prayed for weekly (some on Monday, some on Tuesday, etc.); I make notes of special needs or stresses so that I can remember to pray for them
  • prayer for our pastor, church and its ministries

Like our beta testers, I’m finding that PrayerPartner is helping me be both more focused and disciplined.

Screen Shots

PrayerPartner Home Screen

Adding or Editing a Request

Picking a Category

Viewing the Full Request

Still To Come?

If PrayerPartner proves successful, we have ideas that would allow sharing requests with others, even (potentially) PrayerPartner users on other platforms.

Coming Soon: PrayerPartner for the iPhone

Posted on: December 9th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 10 Comments

PrayerPartner for the iPhone has completed beta testing and been submitted to the Apple App Store. We expect it to be available in the App Store “soon”.

PrayerPartner helps you manage an important spiritual discipline: prayer.

PrayerPartner helps you by maintaining lists of prayer requests, keeping track of which ones have been answered, which ones you’d like to pray for today, and which ones have already been prayed for today. Each request can be categorized, associated with a contact from your Contacts Address Book, and scheduled to be prayed for daily, on certain days of the week, or certain days of the month. Customizable email templates let you quickly mail a personal note of encouragement to a request’s contact. Plus, use the dated journal to record your thoughts as you pray.

When approved for sale in the App Store, PrayerPartner will be available with an introductory price of $1.99.

Jeff’s #secretiphoneproject

Posted on: November 17th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin No Comments

Yesterday, I posted an article inviting interested persons to apply to be a beta tester on my #secretiphoneproject. I also tweeted, inviting our Twitter followers to come to the blog and read about it.

I have enough applications, so the article has been removed and the application process is closed.

Thanks to all who expressed interest. If you applied and haven’t heard back from me yet, you will soon.

Laridian’s Palm Pre Plans

Posted on: October 19th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 104 Comments

We’re announcing today that we’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bits of God Software to be the exclusive provider of Bibles and other reference materials for an upcoming version of the popular Simple Bible application for the Palm Pre. Once completed, this will give current Laridian customers who have chosen the Palm Pre as their mobile platform access to the Bibles and reference books they already own for other platforms. It will also give new Simple Bible users immediate access to one of the largest collections of Bible-related content for mobile devices. The new program from Bits of God Software, currently referred to as Simple Bible Pro, will allow users to download new Bibles and reference content directly into the program from their account on Laridian’s site.

As we’ve said here before, programming for the Pre is a whole new challenge. Our existing code that runs on Windows Mobile, iPhone, Windows desktop, and Palm OS really gives us no leverage on the Pre. With that in mind we sought a partner, and when it comes to Bible software on the Pre, the guys at Bits of God are the best. We’re pretty excited about partnering with them.

Our current agreement is “an agreement to agree” so there are many details to be worked out yet. We’ve agreed in principle on most of the more difficult points of our relationship, so we don’t anticipate any problems. The important thing is that it looks like current PocketBible and MyBible customers will have a migration path if they choose the Pre, and that Simple Bible Pro will get a jump start over other Bible software on the device by having access to Laridian’s growing library of content.

PocketBible for iPhone Available on the App Store

Posted on: September 15th, 2009 by Craig Rairdin 124 Comments

We’ve been notified by Apple that PocketBible has been approved for sale in the App Store. It was fun hearing that it was available in different countries as each local App Store enabled it for their users around the world.

Now that it’s approved I can tell you what the original problem was. It seems the testers at Apple chose not to register the app and download the 39 free books that are included. As a result, when they went to the “Open Book” dialog to open a new book, they saw that only the “Bibles” and “Other Books” categories were active (the former contains the KJV and the latter the help files). They assumed that meant that PocketBible was a “lite” version that did not include the ability to view commentaries, dictionaries, and devotionals, because those categories were grayed out. If true, that would be a violation of the rules of the App Store. We explained that those categories were grayed out because they hadn’t downloaded any commentaries, dictionaries, or devotionals. That must’ve been sufficient because they later approved the app.

If you can give us some positive reviews at the App Store that would be great. If you can’t think of anything nice to say, send your negative comments to me by email so I can fix the program to your satisfaction.

It’s getting hard to pick out our answers to your questions in the comments below. It might be best to send them to Tech Support. Select the Help Desk link on our site.

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