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iPocketBible Updated – Devotional Reading Support

Posted on: December 10th, 2007 by Craig Rairdin 12 Comments

We’ve just uploaded an update to iPocketBible with new features related primarily to keeping track of your devotional reading progress. Some other small enhancements are also in the program.

To make sure you’re running the latest version of the program, use the “reload” button in the Safari browser, which is to the right of the address bar at the top of the page.

New Features and Enhancements

Devotional Reading Progress. The Go To page for devotionals has changed. The first time you go there for a particular devotional book you’ll see a way to select the start date for the devotional. This allows you to say when you want to start reading the book. The first article in the book will be associated with that date. As you read an article, tap the “Mark as Complete” link at the top of the page to indicate you’ve read it.

Back on the Go To page you can go to the reading for a particular date, for today, or go to the first unread reading in the book. You can also see a summary of your reading progress. You can change the start date for the book and reset your reading progress. If you get behind in your reading there’s a Catch Up button that changes the start date to make it so you’re back on schedule.

Commentary Links. When you select the verse menu by tapping the link on a verse number, you’ll see a link to your preferred commentary (assuming it has commentary on the verse). Some commentaries have comments on an entire chapter along with comments on each verse in the chapter. Previous versions of iPocketBible would take you to the first section in the commentary that dealt with the verse you’re on, which could be the general comments on the chapter instead of the specific comments on the verse. This version tries to take you to the most specific commentary that pertains to your verse.

Notes and Bible Links. When you create a note, iPocketBible automatically links every reference to a Bible verse to your preferred Bible. Unfortunately that takes some time. It used to take LOTS of time but we’ve trimmed that down significantly. We want it to be faster still, but it’s at least faster than it was.

We’ve had at least one case where a person thought the program had failed and didn’t wait for it to complete. As a result the note was lost. We’ve changed the code so that if you entered a really, really long note (not fun on an iPhone or any PDA for that matter) and you get impatient and exit the program, we will at least save the un-linked version of your note so it’s not lost. The next time you load the page containing that note, the program will link it and save the linked version so it doesn’t have to do it again. The point here is to make sure your note doesn’t get lost in the process.

We’ll be working on ways to speed this up. In the meantime, brief notes — the length that most of you have been writing — are plenty fast.

What’s Next?

We’re close to being able to put our new Bible Maps book on the iPhone. We have it working on our testing site. We are working on scrolling and zooming features. That will probably be the next thing you see.

As soon as we release the Pocket PC Sync Provider to sync user-created date from our desktop version of PocketBible with the Pocket PC version, we’ll start work on the iPocketBible Sync Provider.

After that there’s a list of handy features and performance improvements we’ll be working on.

If you want to make sure you get notified of each new update to iPocketBible, go to lists.laridian.com and sign up for the iPhone list.

12 Responses

  1. Joe T. says:

    Hello Craig,

    It’s easy to see how busy you all have been, but what about the syncing of MyBible with the PocketPC version. Are there so many iPhones out there that they are next in line for syncing? Are there so many iPhones that they are in greater quantity than all the years of selling MyBible?

    From your blog, “What’s Next?

    As soon as we release the Pocket PC Sync Provider to sync user-created data from our desktop version of PocketBible with the Pocket PC version, we’ll start work on the iPocketBible Sync Provider.”

    Regards,
    Joe T.

  2. I think I’ve commented on this before either in a blog article or in the comments but it doesn’t hurt to bring it up here. The reason we did the Pocket PC sync provider first is that PocketBible for Pocket PC was designed from the beginning back in about 2003 to be able to synchronize with a desktop product. In addition to that, a lot of the code that is in PocketBible for Pocket PC is also running in PocketBible for Windows. So it was natural to do the Pocket PC first.

    Of course iPocketBible for iPhone was just introduced in September. Development actually started about a year and a half ago, but the major development effort started in July. It was also done in-house, so we knew from the beginning we’d be synchronizing it to PocketBible for Windows. So we designed it with that in mind. As a result, doing the sync provider for that platform will not be too hard, especially now that we have the Pocket PC provider completed.

    MyBible was written by an outside developer. When we first started selling it we were only licensed to provide tech support and do the marketing. Over the next few years we eventually got the rights to edit the code. MyBible 4 was the result of that, with development shared between us and the original author. Recently we’ve gotten all the rights to MyBible so it’s completely under our control.

    Because all the user-created data (notes, highlights, and bookmarks) is in the “old” code created by the original author, it wasn’t designed in a way that it can be easily synchronized. So we have to not only implement the synchronization but we have to completely change the way MyBible stores its notes, bookmarks, and highlights. There’s somebody working on that full-time, but it simply won’t get done as soon as the iPhone provider just because there’s so much more to do.

    We have a similar problem with the Windows Mobile Smartphone version. It’s a combination of it not really being as “sync ready” as the Pocket PC version plus having limited programmers to apply to the tasks that need to be done. It will be done last.

    So the order doesn’t have anything to do with popularity. For all practical purposes we’re working on them all at the same time and they’ll be finished in the order of easiest to hardest.

    Good question. Thanks for bringing it up.

  3. Joe T. says:

    Hello Craig,

    Thanks for the VERY polite reply about iPocketBible. I “get it now.” Sorry if I’m a bit defensive about MyBible…I have a lot invested it the application and platform and use it seven days a week and twice on Sunday.

    Thanks,
    Joe T.

  4. David Thomas says:

    Please put the small icons option back for the icons toolbar

    Thanks.

    Yours in Christ,

    Dave T.

  5. Dave, I’d be happy to if I knew what you were talking about. Can you give me some clues? :-)

  6. Don Wood says:

    Is there a “bug” in the iPhone Bible version? Bookmarks don’t seem to work. I’ve had an email response that the fix will be in the next release/update. Love the product and use it every morning!

  7. Bookmarks work but there are other things on the verse menu page that cause problems. You can sometimes fix them by changing your preferred commentary. I have a fix but haven’t had time to upload it. I’ll try to do that ASAP.

  8. Don Wood says:

    That was really fast!! Bookmarks are working now . . . You guys are good!

  9. It actually took about a month. I had it done a long time ago but had some other things I wanted to update at the same time but I got side-tracked and didn’t get that done. As a result your bookmark fix didn’t get uploaded to the site even though it was done. I finally just uploaded that one file.

    By the way we announce minor updates like this to members of the iPhoneList at lists.laridian.com. If you haven’t signed up for our email lists, you should go do that.

    I also uploaded an updated version of The Message that includes verse numbers. Normally verse numbers are suppressed in The Message because there aren’t any verse numbers in the print edition. But that really makes the iPocketBible version hard to use. So I turned on the verse numbers in The Message and uploaded it yesterday.

  10. Scott Blanford says:

    Since you are now able to add a web page to your home screen, can you create a icon for that that will be representative of Laridian?

  11. Lawson Culver says:

    With the latest updates to the iPhone, we can now create webclips on our iPhone home screens. It defaults to using a screenshot of the page for an icon, but if you guys make a change you can specify the icon.

    From Apple:
    To specify a bookmark icon for all pages of a web site, place a PNG image named “apple-touch-icon.png” at the root directory of your web server – similar to the “favicon.ico” for site icons.

    To override the site bookmark icon on a specific web page, insert a element similar to within the element of the page.

    The bookmark icon dimensions should be 57×57 pixels. If the icon is a different size it will be scaled and cropped to fit.

    Safari will automatically composite the icon with the standard “glassy” overlay so it looks like a built-in iPhone or iPod application.

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