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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:

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. :-)

30 Responses

  1. Ron Priest says:

    I’m totally stoked! How long do you expect it will take Apple to approve the app once you get it submitted? I’ve been evaluating Logos’ iPad app and and it seems to be lacking many of what I consider standard features that PocketBible has had from it’s conception. PocketBible is far superior IMO!

  2. Apple has been taking anywhere from 4 days to 4 weeks to approve apps. We don’t anticipate it will take long.

  3. Howard Oakes says:

    If you need more testers I have an iPod Touch and and an iPad

  4. 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.

    Probably should’ve mentioned that in the article. :-)

  5. Mickey Little says:

    This is great news. I’ll be following to see when it is submitted to big brother.
    Thanks

  6. Larry says:

    As soon as you release the program I will get the iPad.

    ………….just waiting.

  7. Edward Cook says:

    I just want to commend Craig, Jeff and everyone at Laridian for their efforts to bring PocketBible to the iPad so quickly. It’s going to be such a blessing.

  8. Tony says:

    WOW you bring a smile to my face. Thanks guys.

  9. Tom Law says:

    Craig, Jeff, and to the rest of Laridian,

    Thank you so much for continuing your efforts on making Pocketbible better and better. You are making it easier and more pleasant for us to connect deeper with our Lord.

    Peace,
    -tom

  10. Larry says:

    By the way Craig, I said before that I was interested in parsing and tensing and also in the Greek and the Hebrew. I can get that all with Blue Letter Bible. The problem with BLB, though, is that it is really slow for routine study.

    My point is that with your program and the iPad I won’t need Greek, Hebrew, and parsing, since I don’t use these functions a whole lot. If I do need them, I can use the iPad to get them from the net.

    I am excited that we can search the notes that we place on the iPad. The iPhone won’t allow that, although your updated version may allow that.

    Like everyone else, I am excited to see your initial release.

  11. George says:

    Is there any new products for the BlackBerry????????????????

    Please reply to my e-mail…………..

  12. Jeff Foster says:

    Sounds tremendous! Saving a space on my tsskbar. One request, can you add a sideways reading mode on iPad like iBooks, or a simplified iBooks edition.

    Grace and peace.

    Jeff in Chicago

  13. NRHJohn says:

    Any word? Has the beta been successful? Find a showstopper? Released it to Apple? Anyword of the new videos?

    Sorry, just checking daily and probably asking what many readers are thinking.

  14. NRHJohn says:

    Although if making videos slows the release to Apple, I’d just as soon wait :)

  15. Ron Priest says:

    “Notes list now shows excerpt of note instead of excerpt of verse”

    This is great because the bookmarks already show excerpts from the scriptures. I like that change. How much of the actual note will be extracted for the note list?

    Also, if this question is already answered in the documentation, forgive me for not looking it up. Is there a limit as to how much text can be entered in to any one note? Also, is there a limitation to all notes combined that we add to our PocketBibles as a whole? I ask because I tend to write books sometimes. I’ll often compose a note in the form of an email on my desktop, then email to myself on my phone, then copy and paste it into PocketBible as a note. My fingers are too fat to do too much typing on the phone. Which is another reason Im Looking forward to PocketBible for the iPad! Yeah!!!

  16. John: We had some last minute problems that probably looked innocuous to our testers but which revealed some very nasty problems under the hood. These were hard to find but easy to fix. We gave them the third beta version on Friday night. Yesterday I uploaded that version to Apple but set the release date to a date in the future. That means that we are standing in line for approval while we finish testing. If we find problems we can withdraw the program, fix the problem, and upload a new version. Doing it this way should cut three or four days from the release.

    I was going to make videos but then those problems cropped up. This is still on my list.

    Ron: the rows in the list are the same height as the were before. So you get about five lines of text at the most.

    There’s no built-in limit on the length of notes but since they have to be loaded into memory and then into an Apple-supplied editing control, performance could suffer if they get too big. When I say “no limit” there’s really a limit in the neighborhood of two to four gigabytes but I’m guessing performance will become an issue long before that.

  17. Arthur Leong says:

    Appreciate your efforts in getting this iPad version out so quickly, given the limited resources you have, Craig! One of the primary reasons why I will buy an iPad is so that I can use this to contain the entire Pocket Bible reference library that I have. How will this work, seeing as my platform is currently Windows Mobile? Will all the .lbk files be readable in the iPad? (Sorry, don’t own an iPhone so I don’t know!).
    Any expected release date for the iPad version of Pocket Bible?

  18. Arthur,

    When you install PocketBible on your iPad it will ask you to register. When you register, use your Laridian account information (email address or customer ID along with your password). It will then take you to your account, where you can download books directly into the program.

    So there’s no separate installation step like there is on Windows Mobile. Instead, books are downloaded directly into the program. FWIW the downloaded files are the very same LBK files we install on your Windows Mobile device.

    I anticipate releasing it this week, but I’ve said that before and been wrong. Read the comment above yours for more info.

  19. Ron Priest says:

    “There’s no built-in limit on the length of notes but since they have to be loaded into memory and then into an Apple-supplied editing control, performance could suffer if they get too big. ”

    Thanks Craig, that’s good to know. But now I know just enough to be dangerous, so I must ask 2 more questions (when ever you have the time).

    1. Is there any way I can know just how big my note file currently is?

    2. When I have… say 6 books open in PocketBible, does that mean that all 6 books actually have to load into the iPhones RAM every time the app starts? My point being, if my note file is huge and I start to see performance issues with 6 books open, can I simply not have as many books open to solve the problem, since obviously I don’t want to delete any notes. that I’ve spent…. say years gathering.

    Now that I think more about it, I have a 32 GB iPhone, but that’s the storage size, I don’t know that I have any idea how much RAM the iPhone has. Maybe I should Google that one….. Okay I’m finding that a 3Gs has 256 MB of RAM but the RAM used by the OS and applications in order to run is 128 MB. Okay, now Im really confused and very dangerous! :-)

  20. 1. There’s not a way to know how big your note file is. You could sync with PocketBible for Windows then find the database file and look at its size. It will be about the same on the iPhone.

    2. Performance issues are going to be related to two things: The number of notes and the size of the note you’re looking at. The number of notes affects the amount of time it takes to read or write a note, but it’s not a linear relationship. That is, if you have 100 notes it won’t take twice as long to load a note as if you had 50 notes. The size of the note you’re trying to retrieve affects the performance of the editing and viewing windows.

    The number of books you have open has a very small impact on memory usage. Obviously, it takes about six times as much memory to have 6 books open as it does to have one open, but we don’t load the entire book into memory — just the text you are looking at on the screen and a little bit of overhead per book.

    Let’s start worrying about this when you get to where you have a 10 MB note. At that point you can let me know how the performance is going. I’d be surprised if you have even a 100 KB note, let alone one that is 100-times that size.

  21. Mickey Little says:

    Thanks for clearing this up Craig. For me even if I notated every verse in the Bible, the volume of my notes would be less than that of your typical commentary.

  22. Larry says:

    Craig.

    I got the iPad. My main reason for using it will be for Bible study and the Net. The basic Mac still won’t be replaced.

    In multiple panes is it possible to fix a “home pane” that won’t change in the non synchronized mode. Even in non synchronized mode the panes tend to jump around.

    Also (I know I am asking a lot.), is it possible to have a “go to for scripture pane” in the non synchronized mode?

    My reason for asking all of this is because in a Bible study class it is important to not lose focus on the specific scripture being studied. Having a designated home pane would solve this problem. After a “rabbit trail” excursion, a simple synchronization to the home page would quickly recenter the study.

    Also, if there was a way to have a pane designated as a “Scripture go to” would also be helpful. For instance, if I am studying a verse in The Treasury, it would be nice if the Treasury pane didn’t change as I looked at various verses referenced. I could simply look at the designated scripture pane for the verses. This would be so much more efficient.

    Since I am on a roll, I might as well keep going. Is it possible to have a few choices as to what panes are synchronized? I doubt this would be possible, because of the programming involved.

    On more thing (for now–don’t you love it?), is it possible to have a couple of buttons that can change, depending on the function desired by the user? For instance, I would probably want a synchronize/non synchronize button.

    I do feel that the iPad will become my main Bible study for group study. For intensive home study, probably not. But I have two groups per week. It will get a lot of use.

    And dreaming………..parsing and tensing……….

    I sure love what you have done so far.

    Larry.

  23. Larry says:

    Stupid me.

    I found out that if I keep two Bible panes open on the left, then the upper left pain becomes the Bible changing pane for verses requested from studies in the right column. The lower left Bible pane doesn’t change, and can be used as a centering pane when synchronized. This all is only true as long as two Bible panes are open on the left column.

    Sorry. I should have explored more before posting. Just like Peter, “ready, fire, aim…..”

    Larry

  24. Larry,

    If you turn off synchronization in the Settings menu, then the only time the contents of a pane will change is if you request it.

    If you select a Bible link in a reference book, then the program attempts to satisfy that link by first seeing if the active book can handle it (assuming it’s not a Bible, that will never be true), then it looks for a visible Bible. Finding none, it will try to open your preferred Bible. If it finds that Bible open in any other pane, it will make it active and use that pane.

    If you haven’t selected a preferred Bible, it will look for any open (but not currently visible) Bible in the active pane. If there are no open Bibles in the active pane, it will look for an open (but not currently visible) Bible in the inactive panes. If it finds any of those, it will make that Bible visible in its pane and make that pane active.

    Finally, as a last resort, it will find any installed Bible that can handle the link and open it in the current pane.

    There are a number of considerations when thinking about how to use panes. One is to always have a Bible open and visible in one of your panes so it can handle any links that might come along. If you don’t normally use the NRSV or NAB (two Bibles that include the apocrypha) but you own them, consider having them open but not visible in your “Bible pane”. Then if a link to the apocrypha occurs in your reference books, you’ll be able to satisfy the link in your “Bible pane”.

    As you discovered, by opening a Bible in another pane other than pane 1 (upper left) you can keep that Bible in the same position regardless of link activity.

    You might also consider using bookmarks for keeping track of a key verse that you want to return to.

    Don’t forget to take a few minutes to read through the built-in Help when you get a chance. It has a lot of good information about how the program works.

  25. Larry says:

    Craig,

    It seems this board is a conversation between me and you.

    I changed my mind. This Bible format on the iPad is quickly becoming my major Bible study tool, no matter where. The ability to see 4 or 5 panes ALL AT THE SAME TIME puts Bible study into high gear.

    Being able to bookmark an entire study is a step forward. You have to push the “done” or “space” key when you want to edit and add a new category. This wasn’t mentioned in the “help” section. A bookmarked new category can focus a new topic or study.

    I am looking forward to using notes. Especially with the keyboard. The keyboard is pretty amazing, although a mouse would help a bit. Being able to search and save notes to the Laridian memory bank will be a plus. No searching or external saving of notes in the older iPhone edition was a negative.

    I feel like a kid in a sand box.

    Larry

  26. d graves says:

    When will versions be out for Android platform?
    I have a major investment with my PalmOS Bible programs from Laridian.
    Thanks

  27. Read about Android by selecting the Android topic link on the left. In particular, take a look at this article.

  28. Bill says:

    Craig,

    Is there any chance you’ll be releasing a Bible marking system (Say a la Kay Arthur) or the ability to highlight individual words as an option to entire verses in future releases. I use Kay’s system but am currently limited to print Bibles, if I want to do her inductive method marking.

    Thanks for continuing to improve an already great product. I’ve been using Laridian products since my Palm Pilot and Compaq Aero days and you never cease to amaze me with the next product out. I’m saving for my iPad now….

    Bill

  29. Bill,

    It’s unlikely we’ll do this in the near near future, but it’s on the list of features to consider in the future (word highlighting, not necessarily any specific features of Kay Arthur’s system).

  30. Ral says:

    Hi,

    I’ve had Laridian bible on my Lifedrive Mobile Manager (Palmone) for like forever and I just love it! I recently saw you have apps for the iphone and iPad and that is so exciting! However, for some reason, I’m not finding it as easy to navigate as I did with the one on the lifedrive. Looks like this app needs a lot of “studying” to be able to use it, and I haven’t been able to go through the guide, so I get frustrated when I use it and find it’s not so user friendly; so for now I was forced to go to the other iPad bible app I was using. It will be nice if an average person can just pick it up and navigate conveniently right from the start (like you guys did with the life drive); and not have to re-read the guide once you stop using the app for a while. Anyway, still trying to see how I can get a hang of this:)

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