As many of you have already seen in a recent newsletter, PocketBible software will be coming soon to your Windows desktop. The newsletter was somewhat vague about features so I thought I’d take a few minutes to provide some details.
Briefly, PocketBible for Windows is the desktop version of our PocketBible software. It uses the same LBK file format as our PocketBible program for Pocket PC, but adds a tiled user interface with windows for your Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, devotionals, and other books. You can hover your mouse cursor over any Bible reference to instantly see the text of that verse. And of course you can search, annotate, highlight, and bookmark the text just like on your PDA.
We have a couple of goals with PocketBible for Windows. First, we wanted it to be “home base” for your mobile Bible software. We wanted to eliminate the need to separately back up your notes, highlights, and bookmarks by providing a way that these could be automatically copied to your desktop PC. Once there, PocketBible for Windows lets you view, edit, and create new notes, highlights, and bookmarks which are automatically re-synchronized with your mobile device.
To this end, the initial release of PocketBible for Windows will be followed almost immediately by an update to PocketBible for Pocket PC that will support synchronization of user-entered data with the desktop version of PocketBible. Changes made on either platform will be intelligently combined so that you always have the latest version of your notes, etc. on both platforms.
Synchronization for iPocketBible for iPhone is being designed in from the start so it should be available shortly. So you can take notes on your iPhone in church then come home and sync your PC to the iPocketBible server and have access to those notes at home. (Then drop your Pocket PC in its cradle and update its database as well!)
Synchronization for MyBible will require significantly more work due to a combination of the way the Palm OS works and the features of the MyBible program. Look for an update later this year.
Our second goal for PocketBible for Windows was to create a great Bible program in the spirit of the original versions of QuickVerse we all worked on back at Parsons Technology. Many of you have written to me over the years to say that QuickVerse 4.0 was “as good as it gets”. We agree. Up until we started working on our own desktop Bible software most of us here used QV4 for our Bible study and lesson preparation needs.
It’s hard to identify what made QuickVerse 4.0 so great, but near the top of the list has to be speed and ease of use. What it did, it did quickly and it did well.
So in the spirit of QuickVerse 4.0 we’ve tried to make PocketBible for Windows as easy to use as possible. For example, we implemented a feature we think is unique among Bible software. With a Bible window active, you just type a reference and the program takes you there. So type “John 3:16″ and press the Enter key and you’re at John 3:16. You don’t have to type it in a special box, or click on a “Submit” button or anything. Just type.
Want to grab a passage for a sermon or lesson? Just type “copy psalm 1″ to copy the text of Psalm 1 to the clipboard. Then switch to your Word processor and hit Ctrl+V to paste it into your document.
Of course you can do all this with traditional menus and dialog boxes, but we just cut out all the intermediate steps. In fact, you don’t even have to type out “copy” — just type the letter “c” and PocketBible will know what you mean.
There are a whole bunch of these commands. You can set bookmarks, launch a search, add a note, or highlight a verse just by using the keyboard.
And lest you’re wondering what all this has to do with mobile computing — which is, after all, Laridian’s foundation — well just try using this instant command feature with a tablet PC and handwriting recognition software. Just write “John 3:16″ on your tablet and your software goes there. It couldn’t be easier.
And if that’s not mobile enough, you can copy PocketBible to a USB memory stick and take it with you. Now this sounds like no big deal, but try doing that with any of the other Bible software out there. They all depend on the system registry being set up, and they all save their data files to your hard drive. PocketBible gives you the option of saving your personal notes, highlights, and bookmarks to the memory stick and requires no system registry entries. You can literally walk up to any Windows computer with a USB port, insert your USB memory stick, and your complete, personal Bible library is instantly available to you, right where you left off last time you used it, even if it wasn’t on the same computer.
Then, take your memory stick home, insert it in your computer, sync to the iPocketBible server and now your notes are on your iPhone!
I know you’re probably wondering what this is going to cost. Final pricing hasn’t been determined, but I can tell you this: Most of the books you already own for PocketBible or MyBible will be accessible without purchasing another copy. You’ll just purchase the PocketBible for Windows program itself, then download the desktop versions of the PocketBible books already in your download account (technically they’re already there — you just can’t see them because you don’t own the PocketBible for Windows program yet).
(A small number of books may not be available for use on your desktop computer due to licensing restrictions. We’re working on eliminating these but can’t make any promises at this point.)
In closing, while a lot of the code in PocketBible for Windows is shared between our Palm and Pocket PC apps and was written by Jeff Wheeler and me, the interface and overall operation of the code, including our unique synchronization software, is the brain-child of Scott Gray, one of our senior developers. Scott, Jeff and I worked together at Parsons Technology 10+ years ago. Scott created the QuickVerse Multimedia Life Application Bible, which was one of the finest products Parsons ever produced. Unfortunately it got caught up in the seemingly endless series of purchases and sales of the company in 1997 and 1998, so you probably never heard of it. Scott has put in (and continues to put in) untold hours on PocketBible for Windows. We hope you’ll enjoy the fruit of his labor.
So keep your eyes on your inbox for that new product announcement!