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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!

14 Responses

  1. Tim Smith says:

    PocketBible is my most valued App. Thanks for continuing to support older iOS versions — even when extra effort is required to do so, and for however long Laridian is able to do so.

    Does Laridian have any ability to know what percent of its customers continue to use older devices with revision-locked iOS versions?

    What’s the long range outlook for Laridian’s continued support of older iOS versions?

    • We don’t collect OS version information from our users. The scuttlebutt around the internet is < 3% for 3.x, probably < 1% still using 3.1.3 (original iPhone and iPod touch). We had three people contact tech support, which is significantly less than 1% of our customers. :-)

      Our tendency is to support old versions as long as we can reasonably do so. Apple makes that very difficult, however. In fact, I would've just recompiled PocketBible with the minimum version set to 3.2 except that we already told people we supported 3.0 and I felt obligated to keep our word even though it wasn't convenient.

      On Windows Mobile, we continued to support Pocket PC 2000 right up to the end (when Windows Phone 7 made Windows Mobile 6.5 obsolete). My guess is there were approximately zero Pocket PC 2000 users in 2009-2010, but it wasn't that hard to keep supporting the older versions so we did. That doesn't mean we'll support iOS 3 for ten more years. In fact, with the way Apple updates its tools we're kind of forced to abandon legacy platforms pretty quickly (consider the fact that even version 3 is version 3 — we don't support versions 1 or 2).

  2. Lawson Culver says:

    I was using the new version in church yesterday, and I’m a big fan of some of the features added in version 2. More specifically, I’m excited that the keyboard being expanded no longer interferes with use of the program. The Go To chapter/verse functionality is no longer obscured, and the text in the active window re-wraps so that you’re not missing any of that either. Great improvements!

  3. Bruce Gilliland says:

    Actually, Craig, Windows Mobile 6.5 is not totally obsolete. I am using PB4 on my HTC HD2, which came out in early 2010 in the U.S. But it was probably the last WM6x phone/PDA to be released. In fact, many people replace the WM OS with Android. I agree that no one is doing new development for Windows Mobile and most folks are not doing upgrades, or have not done so in the past year or so. PB4 is about three years old now. My next phone will be either an iPhone or some Android phone. Your software will be a major consideration in which platform I select.

    Once you have your Andriod version done, I would appreciate your posting a comparison of features and screen shots of the two programs to help people like me choose.

    • Bruce,

      WM is “obsolete enough”. Nobody is making new devices, Microsoft doesn’t sell WM apps in its marketplace, and very few (very few!) people are purchasing new software for WM.

      It will be a long time before the Android app matches the features of the iPhone app, though I’m already considering some variations on features that will be a little better on Android depending on what your preferences are. Your safest bet for the foreseeable future is to go with an iPhone.

  4. Richard says:

    Quote from Craig: “It will be a long time before the Android app matches the features of the iPhone app, though I’m already considering some variations on features that will be a little better on Android depending on what your preferences are. Your safest bet for the foreseeable future is to go with an iPhone.”

    A very welcome piece of honesty – as I have found Laridian always to be. The same iOS better featured than Android can be seen for your competitors. Why is this? Is it just that iOS has been around longer, or it is harder to program Bible study software for Android?

    • Richard,

      iOS has been around longer. It is based on a desktop OS that predates it. It is better documented.

      Android OS is new and constantly changing. It isn’t based on anything so there’s no existing knowledge to leverage. The documentation is awful.

  5. Mark VanOuse says:

    You guys are amazing. Developing on one platform is hard enough, but doing it on multiple platforms? Wow.

    Thanks for the hard, innovative work you do. What an honor — developing applications to spread the Word of God. No better data than that.

    I’ve been using Lardian software since 2003 (back in the Palm days). The development has been amazing. The features and materials you all make available to us are incredible.

    Many, many thanks!
    Mark

    p.s. Thanks for chronicling your journey in developing these apps! It gives us all an inside look at the twists, turns and challenges to developing on each platform.

  6. David Sulcer says:

    Ever since I got the 2.02 I have had to restart it, through the “try again” tab. I have practically done this every time I start it up. It crashes and then seems to work OK after I try again. Am I doing something wrong?

  7. Timothy says:

    Craig, I’m loving the enhancements in pocket bible 2.0.2. I’m having a little problem with the “Voices” feature. It will read a few paragraphs and then stop. It would be great if it would just keep on reading to me… like read the chapter. I use it in my vehicle while driving. I appreciate your hard work! PocketBible is by far the best Bible App for iOS and the only one I use!

    • Timothy,

      I’ve never had that happen. If you can get it to repeatedly do that in the same place every time, send a note to tech support and tell them how to recreate it. We’ll see if it’s something we can find and fix.

  8. Jacob says:

    I am using an iPod 2g on3.1.3 (it’s jailbroken) and I cannot download this app. It says it requires ios 5, but this states you need only 3.1.3. Please help!

    • Michelle Stramel says:

      Jacob, the current version of PocketBible (version 3) requires iOS 5 or later. This article refers to an earlier version of the app.

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