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Archive for October, 2011

PocketBible 2.0.2 Available on the App Store

Posted on: October 21st, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 14 Comments

We’ve just been notified that our latest update to PocketBible (version 2.0.2) has been approved by Apple. It should become available in the App Store over the next 24 hours.

This update mostly affects people at either end of the range of supported iOS versions. For those of you still running some version of iOS less than 3.2 (primarily those of you with first-generation iPod touch devices running 3.1.3) you’ll finally get to see what PocketBible 2 looks like. Both the initial release and the 2.0.1 update had problems that prevented them from running on those devices. We had been relying on our development tools to tell us if we were using features of iOS that were not present on those older devices. Unfortunately, it turns out they are very silent on that issue. We’ve learned our lesson and have “downgraded” an old iPhone to 3.0 for testing. (Previously we were limited to running 3.2 in the iPhone emulator.) As a result we’ve been able to identify the issues that were preventing PocketBible from running on 3.0 and 3.1 devices.

On the other end of the iOS version spectrum we ran into an interesting bug in iOS 5. When we put verses on the pasteboard (that’s “clipboard” everywhere else but in Apple Land), we always store both a plain-text version and an HTML version. This allows applications that understand HTML to paste nicely formatted text, including superscripted verse numbers, words of Christ in red, and bold headings. Simpler applications expecting only plain text have the option of requesting just the plain text from the pasteboard.

When an application pastes data from the pasteboard, it specifies what format it wants. Unfortunately, in iOS 5, when an application asks for the traditional “utf8-plain-text” that has worked in all iOS versions since the beginning of time (OK, since iOS 2), the operating system will not give it the “utf8-plain-text” version of the pasteboard text, but instead will substitute something else — in our case, the HTML text that is also there. Since the pasting application neither expects nor understand HTML, it treats it as plain text and pastes it, tags and all, into your document.

To get around this, we have to add a third form of the text to the pasteboard, which is identified simply as “text”. This version is identical to the more correct “utf8-plain-text” that has worked on previous iOS versions. Doing this tricks iOS 5 into supplying plain text to apps that request it, so that pasted verses no longer include HTML tags.

On the subject of iOS 5, it introduced some new fonts and some new ways of identifying old fonts. Since iOS makes it very difficult to determine if a font provides the bold, italic, and bold/italic versions that PocketBible requires, we use a somewhat fragile technique to try to make that determination by looking at the names of the fonts. This didn’t work exactly right in iOS 5. The result was that Helvetica Neue was displayed as condensed and bold, and both Optima and Hoefler Text were missing from the list of available fonts. This has been fixed and the code reinforced so that hopefully it will do a better job identifying fonts in the future.

Some of you have had the unfortunate experience of selecting two or three verse and when you ask PocketBible to highlight the selected verses, it highlights the rest of your Bible. This happens when the end of your selection is right on the little gap between paragraphs. This is fixed in version 2.0.2 so that your entire Bible isn’t highlighted when you only want to highlight a couple verses.

Finally, probably because of the load that PocketBible 2 has put on our servers, many of you ended up with corrupted book files. Since PocketBible can’t read the file (the were corrupted during download) it can only identify the book by its 8-character alphanumeric file name. So you would see a message that “0065001d.lbk” was damaged, but there was no way to know what book that was so that you could re-download it. This message came up every time you ran PocketBible. The new version deletes damaged books automatically so that you won’t be nagged by warning messages.

For all the complaining we do about the App Store approval process, this update was approved in about 24 hours. Hard to complain about that!

PocketBible 2.0.1 Approved by Apple

Posted on: October 12th, 2011 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

We’ve just been notified that PocketBible for iOS version 2.0.1 has been approved. This is essentially an update that tries to squash the inevitable little bugs that show up in any x.0.0 version.

Some of you were completely unable to run PocketBible at all. Turns out if you weren’t running a relatively recent version of the operating system, PocketBible would display its splash screen then immediately exit. This has been fixed. We were all somewhat surprised we hadn’t found that problem before releasing the program, since it was trivial to reproduce once we set our minds to it. We get used to our programming tools warning us when we try to do something that’s not available in older versions of the OS and don’t always test for compatibility as thoroughly as we could.

Some of you were surprised to hear Heather or Ryan or one of our other voices start reading the Bible to you when you hung up after a phone call. Turns out if you paused PocketBible’s synthesized voice instead of stopping it, then any interruption would restart the reading. That was an easy fix once I figured out what was going on. Sorry if it caught you at an inopportune time.

This brings up an interesting point: You probably didn’t realize that the “mute” switch on your iPad or iPhone is only a “suggestion” to the device. You might think you’re turning off the sound, but you’re not. Apple treats the iPod app and other apps that play “foreground” sound (such as PocketBible) as immune from the effects of the mute switch. They believe you only intend to mute background sounds from games, key clicks, and that kind of thing when you flip the mute switch. Hmmm.

A couple of you reported that you only had two panes/tabs on your iPhone after upgrading to the Advanced Feature Set, instead of the advertised five panes/tabs. It could be fixed by exiting the program and re-launching. We were able to find the problem and fix it so you won’t have to do that in the future.

While printing out one of my own sermon notes I discovered the Autostudy CSS settings for ordered and unordered lists were overriding my list types. So my nice outline with roman numerals and upper/lower case letters was displayed with all arabic numerals. I made a change to the default CSS so this won’t happen.

Some of you were able to crash the program while doing a “Paste to Email” or “Paste to Text” operation. When we looked at the code, it looked like it should always crash, yet it never crashed for us and it didn’t crash for many of you. So this is one of those cases where we’re not sure why it ever worked at all. Nevertheless, it’s fixed in 2.0.1.

Finally, we got a nice note from Apple saying they were concerned about the effect our Bibles and books would have on the amount of data backed up to their new iCloud service. Data that can be re-downloaded from our server, they said, should not be stored in a directory that is automatically backed up. We see it the other way. We think you’d like to have your entire PocketBible library restored when restoring from a backup set, without having to separately log into our server (and any other server for any other program you might have with ebooks or other downloadable data). We read the developer documentation as “suggesting” that we don’t do that, so after considering the suggestion we decided to leave it the way it was.

However, Apple seemed really concerned about the few dollars this might cost them in additional hard drive space for iCloud, and given that they’ve gone through some tough times lately we decided to help them out. Version 2.0.1 automatically moves your books to a folder that does not get backed up to iCloud. So if you ever have to restore a backup, you’ll have to log into your account on our server and re-download your books. Just don’t everyone do it at the same time. :-)

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