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PocketBible for Android 1.2.1 features Enhanced Searching

Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 8 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.2.1 has been released to the Google Play Store. If you downloaded the app from Google Play, you should be automatically updated. If you are using a Kindle Fire (or other non-Google Play device), you can download the latest version by browsing to http://lpb.cc/android while on your device.

The major new enhancement to this version is to the search capabilities. We have completely overhauled the search feature to make it more thorough, more flexible, and more usable (no Boolean operators needed!).

Easier Searching, Better Results

Type any word or phrase in the search field. The results you get back will be broken out and ordered by relevance. There are 5 key results you’ll see:

  • Exact – whatever you searched for was found literally in the text, in that exact order.
  • All – We found places in the text where all the words you searched for were present, but they were not in any particular order.
  • Any – These sections contain any key words you searched for. We ignore some words based on how frequently they are used (a, an, the, etc.).
  • Roots – We found these sections based on slight variations of the word you searched for. This accounts for things like verb tenses, pluralization, and the like.
  • Sounds – These sections contain words that “sound” like what you searched for.

In addition, a new display setting has been added to allow you to mark or not mark search results in the text (Menu | Settings | Display). Search hits can be marked by color, bold, etc. and this is a temporary marking while the search is active.

Focus Your Searches for Faster Results

When you are creating a new search, you’ll see that you can limit searches by custom ranges – this would include pre-defined sections of the Bible or a specific book of the Bible. You can also choose to search only verses you have highlighted or bookmarked previously. Plus you can now search your own personal notes.

Search by Strong’s Number

We have had many requests in the past for the ability to search your Strong’s Numbered Bibles (i.e. KJVEC, NASEC, HCSBEC). This feature is also included. If you have open and active your Strong’s numbered Bible, you can search in the following ways:

  • Simply enter the Strong’s number (g26, for example) to see all occurrences of that Strong’s number.
  • Enter a colon and the Strong’s number after a word (love:g26) to see all verses where the word love is translated from the Strong’s word g26.
  • Enter a colon and hyphen plus the Strong’s number (love:-g26) to find all the occurrences of a word that are not translated from that particular Strong’s word.

Complete details on how you can use this new search feature are included in the Help option of the navigation menu in PocketBible.

You can see the new search capabilities in action here:

PocketBible for Mac Update

Posted on: July 12th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments

Very random screen shot

It’s been a while since I updated you on our progress on PocketBible for Mac OS X. I’ve been doing more frequent updates for our Kickstarter backers but not as many general posts here. So below is a video update that demonstrates most of the features of PocketBible for Mac. The video is rather long but it covers a lot of ground.

Even though I say in the video that I’m going to show you “everything that’s implemented”, I don’t. But I do show a lot of features. In particular, here are a few things I didn’t demonstrate:

  • You can change the screen layout to choose from a variety of predefined configurations of panes instead of creating/closing panes one at a time.
  • I’ve demonstrated searching before so I don’t show all those features. However, since you last saw it I added the ability to limit searches to predefined ranges of verses, like “New Testament”, “Pentateuch”, etc.
  • You can find everywhere that a verse is cross-referenced in a book by doing a search for the reference.
  • If you enter “John 3:16″ in the Find field (that is, not the Go To field) while a Bible is active, the program will treat it as a “go to” operation and take you to that verse. Similarly, searching for a word in a dictionary will instantly go to the entry for that word if there is one.
  • I didn’t demonstrate how you create bookmark categories or create a bookmark in a category, but you can do that.
  • I didn’t show how you set “preferred books” that get used in certain situations where the program has to choose which of your Bibles to open.
  • The Help button opens the PocketBible User Guide in the active pane.

I think that’s about it. There are a few Advanced Feature Set features already coded, but I have those disabled unless you actually own the Advanced Feature Set, and of course nobody owns the Advanced Feature Set yet except me. I’ll start implementing and exposing more of those during the beta period.

We’re currently in beta with a limited number of testers. I’ll be opening the beta up to more testers once we get past the unavoidable initial rounds of bugs. No need to “apply” or to tell me you want to be a beta testers — I’ll post a call for testers here when I’m ready.

How to create a parallel Bible in PocketBible

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 3 Comments

Comparing translations of the Bible can provide great insight as you read. In the printed book world, a parallel Bible will display one or more translations of the Bible side-by-side. PocketBible not only mimics this type of book but takes it to a whole new level of flexibility!

At its simplest, you can create a parallel Bible in any version of PocketBible as follows:

1. Open up two panes or windows in the app
2. Open a Bible translation in the the first pane.
3. Open a different Bible translation in the second pane.
4. Make sure you have checked the PocketBible setting to Sync Bibles/Commentaries. This will keep your Bibles (and commentaries) on the same verse at all times. Of course, if you don’t want your two Bibles to be on the same verse, you would simply “uncheck” this option.

The fact that you can vary the Bible translations you are using in PocketBible, makes it more flexible than a printed Parallel Bible. You can also open more windows (up to five on some devices) and compare that many more Bible translations.

iOS users – if you have the Advanced Feature set for PocketBible, you can use Autostudy to instantly view the same verse in ALL your open Bibles.

PocketBible for Android v1.2.0

Posted on: June 10th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 13 Comments

PocketBible for Android version 1.2.0 has been released to the Google Play Store. If you downloaded the app from Google Play, you should be automatically updated. If you are using a Kindle Fire (or other non-Google Play device), you can download the latest version by browsing to http://lpb.cc/android while on your device.

The major new feature in this version is the ability to add notes to Bible verses. If you have previously taken notes with other versions of PocketBible, these can now be synchronized to your Android OS device. Your data must first be synced from the other devices to the Laridian Cloud. Version 1.2.0 also includes a fix for an SD card storage issue which popped up in the latest version of Android (4.4+ – kitkat).

You can see the new note-taking feature in action here:

PocketBible for Mac OS X Status Update

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter ProjectPocketBible for Mac OS X is moving right along. Last month I published a simplified version of my to-do list so I thought I’d update that list and let you know how it’s going.

If you’re a Kickstarter backer of this project, you’ve been getting regular video updates from me. One went out last night. If you’re not getting these updates, check your settings at Kickstarter or just go visit the the Kickstarter page and log into your account there to view all the updates. For those who didn’t get in on the funding of the project, I’ve posted a few updates here on the blog and made some comments in the comment sections of other blog articles as people have asked. We’ve been more open about this project than we have any other project in the 26 years I’ve been writing Bible software. If you want to know what’s going on and can’t find it here, just ask.

On May 1 I was projecting “mid-June” for being done with the basic feature set (not the Advanced Features). I’ve slid about a week since then. Here’s an update on that to-do list I published last month:

  • Autosync – (Automatically sync changes to notes, highlights, and bookmarks to/from the Laridian Cloud.) This is done and working.
  • Pane management – (Provide a way to open and close panes.) This is done but I’m still seeing some flakey behavior from time to time.
  • Button icons – I’ve made a user interface change that has cut down on the number of new button images I need to create.
  • Note editing/searching - I need to spend a couple more hours on the note editor. Note searching is done and supports most of the key features of book searching (that is, results sorted by relevancy, sounds-like searches, and root-word searches).
  • History – (Implement back/forward.) Haven’t started this yet. Hope to lift the design from iOS.
  • Search – I am currently working on a couple of special features of the search pane. For example if you search the Bible for “John 3:16″ the program now shows you John 3:16 instead of searching your Bible for the text “JOHN 3:16″. And when you do a Bible verse search in any book, you’ll see a list of places in the book where there is a link to the verse.
  • Devotionals – I believe devotionals are done.
  • Highlights – Highlights are done, including renaming highlight colors if you own the Advanced Feature Set.
  • Preferred Books – Provide user interface to choose preferred books.
  • Remove some features that actually belong to the Advanced Feature Set. The program now automatically adjusts to the presence or absence of the Advanced Feature Set; I just need to make sure I’m turning on/off all the appropriate features.
  • Fix a few bugs I’ve been living with but you won’t want to. I keep finding more of these. :-)

The plan is still to make the free version of the program available first, then implement the Advanced Feature Set. Right now, the list of Advanced Features Set features looks something like this:

  • Autostudy – Word study, verse study, and I’m hoping to add a new study called “Today”, which will pull today’s Bible and devotional reading into one convenient document.
  • Saved Layouts – The ability to create different “desktops” or “layouts” for different study configurations.
  • Open All Books – Open all installed books into a predefined layout.
  • Journal Notes – Notes that are not attached to a verse, just like the Journal features on PocketBible for iOS.
  • Named Highlight Colors – The ability to rename highlight colors to something meaningful instead of just “yellow” and “pink” etc.  This is already done.

I think that brings you up-to-date. I’ll post a video update to the blog sometime soon that demonstrates more of the features that the Kickstarter backers have seen but I haven’t shown publicly.

As always, thanks for your support during this process. And if you like what we’re doing here, give us a High 5!

New for PocketBible: Francis Chan Titles

Posted on: May 22nd, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 2 Comments

Here are four new PocketBible titles from pastor, church planter and author, Francis Chan:

Francis Chan was the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and is the founder of Eternity Bible College. He is known for his passionate, biblical, and honest style in preaching and writing. You can learn more about Francis at his website, crazylove.org.

Crazy Love, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell, and Multiply are available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile and MyBible for Palm OS. List price is $9.99 each or they can be purchased together in the Francis Chan Bundle for $29.99.

New for PocketBible: Studies to Help You Grow in Your Faith

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel No Comments

Here are 5 new PocketBible titles that provide hundreds of individual studies to help you grow in your understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith:

Originally published as part of the award-winning CLC Bible Companion, these titles are useful for self-study and for guiding others in the basics of the Christian faith. The studies are such that they could be used as a daily devotional where you learn particular aspects of the faith over time. Bible references are easy to look up in PocketBible. You will also find them a source of ready-to-use material for teaching in home groups, bible studies or preaching in church.

The The Bible Book by Book, Discovering God’s Way, Essential Truths of Christianity, Knowing Jesus, and Living the Christian Life are available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile and MyBible for Palm OS. List price is $7.99 each or they can be purchased together in the Grow in Faith Bundle for $29.99.

PocketBible for Mac OS X Status Review

Posted on: May 1st, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 3 Comments

PocketBible for Mac OS Kickstarter ProjectAs you know, last June we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of PocketBible for Mac OS X. As part of that campaign, we had to estimate a ship date for the product. If you know anything about software development you know that ship dates are impossible to accurately predict for complex projects, and companies that make it a hard-and-fast requirement to ship on a particular date end up issuing a series of “point releases” to fix the problems that management wouldn’t allow the programmers to fix before the ship date. So it could be argued that even products that hit their ship dates don’t hit their ship dates.

But Kickstarter required us to name an estimated ship date. I chose May 2014 based on the roughly 9 months it took our Windows Phone / Windows 8 developer to port PocketBible to that platform. I figured I had a head start over that project, since I had the iOS version of PocketBible to lift code from. (iOS and Mac both use the same language, the same development environment, and a very similar API.) I knew I’d have to take time out for iOS 7 (turned out to be more than I thought), so I’d probably consume most of that head start with that.

The Kickstarter campaign was successful and development started in August 2013. I ended up spending a lot of the rest of 2013 on iOS 7, so full-time development on the Mac didn’t really start until January.

Since most of you aren’t software professionals, I know that there is an assumption out there that when we said “May 2014″ that we knew what we were talking about. And furthermore, I know that many of you think “May” means “May 1″ (which is today). That’s OK; you don’t speak the language of programmers and don’t understand our idioms. With that in mind I thought I’d make May 1 be a major project evaluation date. The idea is that this is the day that I honestly evaluate our progress and choose features to cut or simplify in order to do my best to meet the goal of delivering this product by the end of the month.

I’ve been posting progress updates as I go along, so you have a good idea what I have done. What’s less clear is what is remaining to be done. That list looks roughly like this:

  • Autosync – Just need to add some user interface to turn this on and set the frequency. The underlying code is already there to actually do the synchronization.
  • Pane management – Provide a way to open and close panes. This is mostly user interface. The underlying code is already there.
  • Button icons – I have graphics for the majority of buttons, but not all.
  • Notes – Implement a note editor and the ability to show a list of your notes. The latter is easy. The former I hope to lift from Android. Also implement note searching.
  • History – Implement back/forward . Hope to lift this from iOS.
  • Search – The bulk of this is done. I have a small number of special cases to deal with, for example if you search the Bible for John 3:16 it should show you John 3:16, not search for the text “JOHN 3:16″ in your Bible.
  • Devotionals – Finish the devotional go-to pane and the features of the Today menu. This includes setting a start date, catching up when you get behind, and providing a user interface to marking the day’s reading as complete.
  • Highlights – Finish the highlight pane. I can highlight verses and show lists of highlighted verses but there are a few more little features (such as deleting all highlights in a particular color and renaming the highlight colors for Advanced Features owners) that need to be implemented.
  • Preferred Books – Provide user interface to choose preferred books.
  • Remove some features that actually belong to the advanced feature set. These include being able to create multiple saved screen layouts.
  • Fix a few bugs I’ve been living with but you won’t want to.

If all goes extremely well, I can get all of the above done by mid-June. All will not go extremely well. I will most likely delay some of these features, such as searching notes, until after the initial release.

The list above excludes features I intend to implement for the Advanced Feature Set. The plan would be to make the free version of the program available, then implement the Advanced Feature Set. Right now, that list looks something like this:

  • Autostudy – Word study, verse study, and I’m hoping to add a new study called “Today”, which will pull today’s Bible and devotional reading into one convenient document.
  • Saved Layouts – The ability to create different “desktops” or “layouts” for different study configurations.
  • Open All Books – Open all installed books into a predefined layout.
  • Journal Notes – Notes that are not attached to a verse, just like the Journal features on PocketBible for iOS.
  • Named Highlight Colors – This is already done.

If all goes extremely well, these features could be complete by mid-July. All will not go extremely well.

As part of our Kickstarter campaign, we also promised to do a Mac version of BookBuilder. We estimated that would be complete at the end of June. I don’t think it will take long and may attack it over a couple of weekends. I’ll have more to say about that project once I get a chance to look into it.

This sounds like I’m announcing that the program will be late, but I’m actually quite happy with our progress and am optimistic about meeting these dates. I also hope to make some betas available to our Kickstarter supporters before the final version ships, so it’s possible you’ll be using the program relatively soon.

Thanks for your support during this process. If you like what we’re doing here, give us a High 5!

 

A Couple Security-Related Issues

Posted on: April 11th, 2014 by Craig Rairdin 6 Comments

HeartbleedJust a couple brief comments  on two unrelated security issues. You’ve probably heard about the Heartbleed vulnerability that affected many websites this week. For some reason, the media didn’t mention that the affected servers are running Linux. (There are issues with certain programs running on other servers, but the primary impact was for those sites running Linux-based servers.) They’re quick to jump on Microsoft when it comes to security flaws in Windows, but I guess Linux doesn’t get the same treatment. Weird.

Anyway, we run Windows servers here and don’t appear to be affected by Heartbleed. This blog is on a Linux box, but there’s nothing valuable here except for my rambling a on various topics, and those are only mildly worth stealing.

Coincidentally, we were working on another security-related issue when we heard about Heartbleed. A few of you have given us grief in the past for sending password reminders in email. While your Laridian password doesn’t expose any personal information of import, except perhaps your mailing address — which is widely available elsewhere — it was still disconcerting to see your password show up in clear text.

So we’ve made some changes now so that we don’t send out passwords but instead send a link to a page where you can reset your password.  This should provide a little more security, especially if you’re in the habit of using the same password everywhere. :-)

New for PocketBible: Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by Michelle Stramel 4 Comments

We’ve had numerous request over the years to publish the Book of Common Prayer. We now have available for use with PocketBible, the 1979 edition of this historical book, used primarily by the Episcopal church in the United States.

The Book of Common Prayer is a resource for communal worship and personal devotion. It includes rites and guides to administration of sacraments as well as a daily office, lectionary and more. Rather than the full Bible text that may be provided in a printed copy of this book, the PocketBible edition of this book links to Bible passages so you can view the text in your preferred Bible translation.

The Book of Common Prayer is available for use with PocketBible for iOS, Android OS, Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows PC and Windows Mobile. It is also available for use with MyBible for Palm OS. The title lists for $4.99 and can be ordered at the Laridian website.

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