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Archive for April, 2010

RomansRoad eTract Updated for iPad

Posted on: April 30th, 2010 by Craig Rairdin 3 Comments

Our RomansRoad eTract for iPhone has been updated for full iPad compatibility. If you already use RomansRoad on your iPhone or iPad, iTunes will notify you that the update is available.

When the new iPad SDK (software development kit) was released, I used the RomansRoad project as a means to learn and experiment with some of the new features provided on the iPad. Since the RomansRoad is a relatively simple application, it proved to be an ideal platform for learning and experimenting with some of the new capabilities and preparing for our PocketBible update to support the iPad. In fact, the RomansRoad eTract has been iPad compatible since before the iPad launch date, but due to some hiccups with the submission process and the fact that we’ve been so busy making PocketBible for iPhone/iPad so awesome, it’s just now available.

RomansRoad is what’s called a “universal binary”, which means that the same program runs on an iPhone or an iPad, though the features on each may differ. (For instance, on the iPad, a table of contents is shown when the iPad is rotated into a landscape orientation.) Since it is a universal binary, you won’t look for “RomansRoad eTract for iPhone” and “RomansRoad eTract for iPad” on the AppStore. You’ll just look for “RomansRoad eTract.”

Frankly, I find that the RomansRoad eTract is much more visually appealing on an iPhone than on the iPad. However, the truth of the gospel transcends the glitzy appearance (or lack thereof)!

The RomansRoad eTract is available on the Apple AppStore.

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.

New for PocketBible: IVP Pocket Reference Books

Posted on: April 16th, 2010 by Michelle Stramel 6 Comments

IVP Pocket Reference SeriesWe have released the IVP (InterVarsity Press) Pocket Reference books for use with PocketBible for iPhone/iPod Touch, Windows Mobile or Windows PC.

The IVP Pocket Reference Series includes the following 10 individual reference titles:

  • Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion
  • Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies
  • Pocket Dictionary of Church History
  • Pocket Dictionary of Ethics
  • Pocket Dictionary of Liturgy & Worship
  • Pocket Dictionary of New Religious Movements
  • Pocket Dictionary of North American Denominations
  • Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms
  • Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologyetiocs
  • Pocket History of the Church

Each of the titles in this series are designed to be brief, informative, clear and affordable. They provide a quick but thorough reference to topics important to Bible study and Christianity.

The IVP Pocket Reference Series (all 10 books) sells for $39.99. Each book is also available separately for $4.99 to $5.49 each. For more information, click on your desired platform:

iPhone/iPod Touch | Windows Mobile | Windows PC


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 www.youtube.com/user/laridianinc. 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.

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