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iPocketBible Update: Notes and browser-button navigation

Posted on: October 6th, 2007 by Craig Rairdin 19 Comments

Seems the iPhone is the only thing we’ve been writing about lately. Another update is available. This one adds user-created notes and gives you the ability to use the browser’s forward and back buttons to navigate the history of pages you’ve viewed.

Notes

To write a note on a verse, tap the hyperlinked verse number in the Bible text. This takes you to the context menu. If you have a note on this verse, you’ll see it at the top of the menu. Otherwise, you can select the “Add Note” button to add a new note.

You just type your note and select OK to attach it to the verse. When you get back to the Bible text you’ll see the word “Note” beside the verse number. Tap that link to see your note. You can read the note from the context menu, and select the button below it to edit it or delete it.

Any Bible reference you enter in a note is automatically linked to the Bible. You can use about any abbreviation for the book of the Bible that you’re used to using. So “1Co 7:12″, “1 Cor 7:12″, “i cor 7:12″, “First Corinthians 7:12″, etc. all will be recognized as a reference to 1 Corinthians 7:12.

You can use HTML tags in your notes if you know them. Basic HTML tags let you add bold, italics, and underline with very little effort. If you know more HTML or can learn a little about it from a book or Web site, you can easily create tables, bulleted or numbered lists, colored text or backgrounds, etc. You don’t have to know HTML to use the note feature, but if you do know it, it adds capability to your notes.

Browser Back and Forward Buttons

Until this version you could only go back to pages you previously visited. Now you can also go forward. Use the Safari browser’s back button in the lower left corner of the screen to go back, and the right arrow next to it to move forward in the list of pages you’ve visited.

As a result of adding this capability you can also add browser-based bookmarks that link to particular passages. It works best if you first go directly to a particular verse using the Go To button in iPocketBible, then set a bookmark.

What’s Next?

Next up is devotional reading progress and a better means of navigation. I’m not sure how long that’s going to take. I’m hoping to get it in by next weekend but we have a lot going on in the area of synchronization right now and I have code to write on the Pocket PC to support it. We also have a new book coming out that will require some extensions to the PocketBible code so that’s keeping me busy.

The last remaining big task after devotional support is synchronization with the desktop version of PocketBible for Windows. After that we may turn our attention to supporting some additional phones. We’ve had good reports from Nokia S60 users and users of the Opera Mini browser. We just need some tweaks to make it easier to navigate the program on platforms that don’t have the rich multi-touch interface of the iPhone.

Flick Scrolling on your Pocket PC?

I thought you might get a kick out of this little video of “flicking your Pocket PC”. This was a proof-of-concept implementation I did on the Pocket PC. I made the video to demonstrate it to other Laridian employees.

It isn’t as smooth as the iPhone because we don’t have the advantage of being able to render the entire document at one time (since on the Pocket PC the Bible is presented as one long document, instead of one chapter at a time as on the iPhone). As a result there are some pauses in the scrolling as the program loads pages. So I don’t know if I’ll leave the code in place or not. Just thought you might find it interesting to see.

19 Responses

  1. Robert Mullen says:

    Any hints on upcoming book releases?

  2. Mark Robison says:

    I like the “flick” feature, but I would also like to see an “auto scroll,” with selectable speed for the scroll. That way, I can follow along easier when my pastor reads the passage he’s preaching on…

  3. John Brock says:

    Apple has a new list of iPhone applications listed on their web site. I noticed about 4 Bible search sites but nothing for iPocketBible. I wonder if anyone at Apple owns a Bible :0) There were some staff picks. I wonder how a program would get listed or Picked by the staff. I betcha ipocketBible would blow them all away.

  4. Ed Hansberry says:

    You know, I personally couldn’t be less interested in a particular product than the iPocketBible for my own use, and there have been a slew of posts recently that just don’t interest me, but I applaud Laridian for this product. One thing I have always been fearful of since buying it in 2000 and entering hundreds of notes and now hundreds of highlights since PB3 for the Pocket PC is that it would be a niche product that may die if the MS Windows Mobile platform changes too much, dies, or morphs into something unrecognizable that wouldn’t fit a product like PB.

    What you guys are doing here, along with playing around with the Symbian mobile browser is almost making this product platform agnostic, which is fantastic to say the least! Keep up the great work and keep pushing the boundries on where you can get PB to work, be it an installable program or just some data on a cloud somewhere.

  5. You’re getting the idea. And you’re right that the more platforms we develop for the more secure is your investment in personalizing your PocketBible program.

  6. Lawson Culver says:

    I often find myself wanting to switch between versions of the Bible (like NAS with and without Strong’s numbers). I think an excellent feature would be the ability to tap on the verse, and change the book from there. Currently, the only way is through “open book”, which forces you to select the reference manually.

  7. Yeah me too. That’s on the list. I’m going to put it on the context menu so you can add a note, add a bookmark, highlight, look up the commentary, or switch Bibles. When you switch Bibles it will open the same verse in the new Bible.

    Sorry we didn’t get an update out this week. Jim’s been working on the subscription billing (tomorrow is the first day we have to do billing on the monthly subscriptions) and I’ve been working on program changes to support the new atlas in PocketBible. Not sure how that book will work like on the iPhone yet, but it will be there.

  8. Marc Thompson says:

    Hey Craig

    what about getting ipocketbible listed on apple. alot of people will go there looking for apps and this is by far the BEST Bible app out there.

  9. There are some little hoops to jump through and we’re working on those. We hope to get on their list soon.

  10. Michael Sanders says:

    Hello Craig,

    With the recent announcement by Steve Jobs on a 3rd Party SDK to be released in February 2008, will Laridian work on a native solution for the iPhone?

  11. Michael Sanders says:

    Hello Craig,

    Thank you for your response and the reference to your September 22nd blog entry.
    I can certainly understand the position that Laridian is currently taking.
    My apologies for not seeing this earlier entry and getting this current blog off topic.
    We will just have to see what the future holds for the iPhone and iPod Touch as Apple expands upon these devices in the future.
    Thank you again.

  12. Robert Mullen says:

    How about keeping the interface (which is great) but giving the options to have books and other content saved locally for those webless?

  13. No problem. We just like it when people talk to us, off-topic or not. :-)

    The situation could change. Remember as late as June we weren’t even close to considering a Web-based iPhone app.

    Right now we’re plenty busy so it’s hard to think about tackling something new.

  14. Remember the application is a combination of javascript on the device and ASP scripts on the server. All the hard work is done on the server. The device is just a Web browser.

    So yeah, we could keep the UI by completely re-implementing it on the device in native code, which is like 80% of the work, but then the other 80% is implementing all the server side code on the device. The last 80% is learning how to deploy it from a Mac.

  15. Ron Tyska says:

    Craig, Steve Jobs just announced an iphone sdk will be released to developers in February.

    http://www.apple.com/hotnews/

    I’m getting closer to buying an iphone.

  16. Robert Mullen says:

    Yeah, I suppose trying to do book loading with client side scripting would be a non-starter. I am working with Javascript right now and am recalling how little it resembles an actual programming language. I would love to get some more responsiveness though and think that due to general internet latency issues the only way to do it would be to get the resource local. I have a hard time keeping up with sermons and Sunday School when the passages come too fast. Hopefully we can get 3G support on the next gen iPhone to mitigate that a bit for those who either have poor or no wifi internet at church.

  17. Or you could volunteer to augment the church’s network with a wireless access point. We’re at the point where several people in our church of about 300-400 are using wireless devices during the sermon to access the Bible. There are a few iPhones and some laptops in use every Sunday. WiFi access is just a part of the ministry.

  18. Robert Mullen says:

    We have thought about going down that road but unfortunately our semi-rural location means our internet backbone is served by Clearwire over the air and is not really sufficient. Hopefully that will change at some point in the not too distant future but for now we are stuck.

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