Export markers to an HTML file

Bible for Android has a new feature to extract and send your bookmarks, notes and highlights in a readable format. With a new export function, your markers are formatted in HTML and you can read them in your browser or open it in a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Drive or LibreOffice.

Marking the Bible with bookmarks to help you remember some topics, and writing notes in the Bible while you are listening to a sermon or even highlight the text in the Bible to get your attention while reading through some passages is very enjoyable, useful and effective. But once in a while, you may want to take your time in your reflection about what you’ve been doing all this year. At this moment, you take your Bible app and you realize how many notes you have written. Maybe you want to see all your markers in your desktop. You may try to send it to your email with “transfer” function. But it gives you xml format which is not quite readable.
Export markers function comes for this purpose. You now are able to see all your markers in a readable HTML format.

If you go to markers screen, now you can see that it now has one additional menu item “Export”.

When you tap “Export”, it will pop up a dialog:

You can select which markers you want to export. Once you click OK button, you will be able to select how you want to export. Probably you want to export it to your own email account, or use an online storage like Dropbox.

If you see the exported file, you will see an html format file, so you can now open it in your browser or word processor.

As you see in this output file, it shows all your bookmarks, notes and highlights. It also keeps your label color and highlight coloring. And if you see at the date, it shows you the time you created and edited. So you can now observe what and when you have written in a click.
We hope you try this feature and let us know what your thoughts.

Bookmark label colors, sharing fixes, chapter navigation, Romanian and Japanese (2.2)

Now you can assign colors to your bookmark labels. It’s now even easier to organize your bookmarks!

Change the colors by long-pressing on a label on the bookmarks screen.

When you see the list of bookmarks, the labels will be colored, too!

There was long-standing issue on sharing of verses. Normally, sharing text works on any sharing destinations that declare themselves to receive data of text/plain type. However, for some unknown reason, Facebook declines sharing of plain text. Facebook only receives plain text that forms a URL. Unfortunately, there is no way for an Android app to know which sharing destination the user selects if (using Intent.createChooser()). This has prevented us to share to Facebook correctly.

The only way feasible for now is to create our own sharing screen. Starting from this release, Bible for Android will use its own sharing screen, which IMHO better than the default sharing screen. It loads the list and the app icons in the background, so it doesn’t lag like the default sharing screen 😀

Moreover, and most importantly, we know when the user selects Facebook as the destination. We can treat it specially and give a URL instead of verse text.

We also added an option to use volume buttons to navigate between chapters. This was suggested by +Rony Gabriel, thanks! An excellent suggestion.

Last but not least, now there is two different Bible versions available as optional download: Romanian (Corneliscu’s translation) and Japanese (åĢ詞čĻģ – colloquial translation). +Liviu Foltut helped in providing the Romanian Bible translation and also translating the app into Romanian.

As you can see, the Japanese version has identation (for quotations and poems) and paragraph break. This is processed from the perfect XML files provided by bible.salterrae.net.

Support for Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) in 2.2

With the advent of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), Google has put a single OS for both phones and tablets. All the enhancements of Honeycomb are now available on phones, which mostly good, but it means that we need to update our applications to correctly support the new UI.

Most relevant to us are:
  • Action bar is now available on phones, our icons are no longer suitable to put there, it’s too big and has Android 2.2 style.
  • The width of action bar is limited on phones, we can’t cramp so many buttons into it. Some of them needs to be put in the overflow menu.
  • And most importantly, some ICS users experienced flicker when opening preferences and going back to the main screen. It is to the extent that the app is unusable. After some investigation, it was due to setting locale forcefully interferes with setting of the locale from the OS, unlike in previous releases. 
The new icons are used for Android 2.3 and above. Android 2.2 and lower will get the old icons.
Thanks to +Alta Falconeri for the help of reporting and testing this issue.

Italicized text for translator’s note in King James version (2.1.0)

King James version of the Bible is known to have indicators on the words that are translator’s note. Those are not really present in the original languages of the Bible (which is Hebrew, (Aramaic,) and Greek).

One example is:

Gen 1:9-11 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

With those italicized words, the sentences become correct English, and at the same time, it aids us in studying the Bible, because we know which words are not actually God’s Word literally, but to a certain extent, an explanation or interpretation of the translators.

Starting from version 2.1.0, Bible for Android uses KJV that includes italic formatting for those words, along with red-lettering for Jesus’ (when He was a man) words.

If you are using Alkitab (Indonesian version), delete the kjv.yes file from sdcard/bible/yes and use the app to download the new version of the kjv data.

2.0.6: Search text color and other fixes for tablets

Alkitab 2.0.6 has just been released.

On tablets, search terms are now visible. Before this, the text color is not defined, so on Android < 3.0 it will show as black, on >= 3.0 as white. But the background is white, so it’s not visible on Android >= 3.0 before.

The home button is now functional, it takes you back to the Bible text.

Recent verses list is now limited to 20 entries, before it was 10 entries.

Version 2.0.0 released!

A major update to the Bible application has been released (soon the English version)!

A common problem that was encountered when a new user uses the application, is that they accidentally open the verse menu (context menu containing Add bookmark, Write notes, Highlight etc.) because they lay down their finger too long on the verses.
Finally I stopped using this method in order to open the verse menu. Instead, tap (just a normal tap, not long-press) a verse or several verses then there will be a button that fades in (I hope the animation makes users notice there is a button showing) on the bottom-right corner. Press that button to open the verse menu. See the following screen:
A bit more troublesome, but I hope that is compensated by the fact that we can now select multiple verses!
Multiple verse selection work as follows:
  • Copy and Share, will collect all the selected verses and concatenate it together.
  • Add bookmark, will only assign the bookmark to the first selected verse. Anyway this is a bookmark, it does what real bookmark does.
  • Write note, unfortunately the note will also be assigned to the first selected verse. It’s quite complicated to enable assigning multiple verses for a note.
  • Highlight, will highlight all the selected verses with the selected color.
Another new major feature is bookmark labeling! Now you can assign one or more labels to your bookmarks. Labels are your way to organize your bookmarks. You can name your label salvation, faith, to memorize, learning, and so on.
Then, when you open the Bookmarks screen (press MENU and select Bookmarks), you will see a new screen. 
Different from previous version where you can see bookmarks only, now you can access all your notes and your highlights from this screen. You can also select bookmarks having specific labels from that screen. To rename or delete labels, long-click on the label names below “Unlabeled bookmarks”.
You can also search your bookmarks, notes, and highlights:
And 6 new colors for highlight!
I hope you enjoy the new version, and please keep giving feedbacks!

Last 1.* release before developing for 2.* (1.9.12)

Originally the main feature of version 2.0 will be support for PDB files. This was pushed back to 1.9.* because I was afraid it would cause many problems because of the dynamic nature of the input. Previously the Bible text data were always internal, checked for consistency and with a fixed number of books, chapters and verses. By allowing users to open PDB files, the number of books, chapters, and verses may vary from versions to versions. It ended up that quite a lot of crashes being reported by users that could be fixed (of course not all) little by little.

English Standard Version, with italics

Other planned features for 2.x are:

  • Bookmark organization. Probably will use tags instead of folders (essentially, exclusive tags).
  • Bookmark screen to include Bookmarks, Annotations, and Highlights.
  • Search bookmarks and annotations.
  • Sort bookmarks and annotations.
  • Full screen view (press menu to navigate).
  • Option to change red text color.

Unsure features:

  • Multi-select verses for copy and share.
  • Temporary-highlighting selected verse (for example after navigating or clicking on parallel verses).
I’m still not sure what’s the best way for the bookmark screen. Please leave any comments about this or any other things 🙂 Thanks!

For Tablets (1.9.8)

In the past few weeks there are many small updates that increased the version number from 1.9.2, one-by-one, until today, 1.9.8.

Historically I intended the Bible app to be compatible with Android 1.5 and up, so no one is left behind. However, according to this chart, Android 1.5 users are only 1.9%, and most of them are old phone users, which they most likely have downloaded this or some other Bible apps, and by not supporting 1.5 anymore, won’t affect them so much.

Starting 1.9.8, only Android 1.6 and up are supported. Since 1.9.7 I have also changed the target SDK version to 3.1 (Android Honeycomb), but some people gave feedback to my email saying that the menus are not accessible. It happened that when I request no title bar, Android 3.* will also hide the action bar where the menus are all located by default. Hence, the app will now detect the Android version and not hide the title bar on tablets.

A screenshot from the emulator (I do not own an Android tablet):

The menu items look like toolbar buttons on the top of the screen. Other menu items such as Suggest, Help, and About are accessible from the overflow menu on the top-right corner.

PDB file reader! (1.9.2 — 2.0 beta)

After months of work, finally a new version is released! Instead of supporting only a handful list of translations/versions, now you can add in .pdb (PalmBible+) files! The core reader is made by Yohanes Nugroho, who made SymbianBible and Bible plus for Blackberry.

A screen to manage Bible versions

However, once you added a PDB file to the app, you don’t straight away see the Bible text. The app will convert the PDB file into a format easily understood by the app (.yes format). You can choose the encoding of the PDB file. If you open an English or some European/ Russian languages, probably UTF-8 or ISO-8859-1 are the correct encoding. You will see a preview of the text decoded with your selected encoding.

Select the encoding from the drop-down and you will see a preview

After some time (please be patient while the PDB file is read and converted!) it will appear on the list. If you see in the list there are checkboxes. Those checkboxes indicate whether the version is shown on the version list, accessible from the main menu -> Versions.

Instant version selection after you select versions that appear on the list

I hope this will be useful to those who have a personal library of .pdb files, as well as those who are new to .pdb files.

Some technical information, may be of interest to you 🙂

  • Apocrypha/ Deuterocanonical books are now supported. This only happens if you open a .pdb file that contain those books. Now the list of books in a version is flexible. If you create a bookmark on a book that is only contained in version A but not version B, when you see the list of bookmarks while opening version B, the book names will be shown as [?] or [number] and the text will be shown as [?].
  • Greek/ Hebrew text is partially supported. AFAIK, right-to-left text are not yet supported in Android, and some Greek characters are missing. By the way, Greek/ Hebrew .pdb files are identified by the filename. If the filename starts with “q”, it’s Hebrew, if “z” it’s Greek. 
  • When you open a PDB file, it is converted to .yes file, stored in /sdcard/bible/yes/ with prefix “pdb-“, such as “pdb-128de39a-1.yes”. You don’t actually need the .pdb files anymore. 
  • Searching a version from PDB files is a bit slower than normal. The reason is, searching uses case-insensitive matching, and in order to support non-ascii characters, Java’s toLowerCase is called, which is slower than manual lower-casing of ascii text.
  • Certain book numbers from the PDB files are recognized and translated to the app’s native numbering. The app’s native numbering starts from the Old Testament, then New Testament, then the additional books according to PalmBible+ documentation. Books with book numbers not in the known list are currently discarded.
This will be released first as the Indonesian version, and some days later as the English version. The version should be 2, but I want to pre-release as 1.9.2, because I afraid this app is not as stable as it should be due to so many internal changes!
Thanks for 50k+ downloads (Indonesian version) and 165k+ downloads (English version)! I hope this app is useful for Bible readers in the world!

Preview of version 2 – Managing Versions

The Bible for Android will have a significant changes with the release of version 2. One of the notable features is the ability to add in more versions, both provided by us (.yes files) or your existing .pdb files. You will be able to enable/disable displaying the versions from the list, because when you have a lot of versions, you wouldn’t want to scroll just to select one version. So, this is the screen to manage the versions.

Oh yes, and this feature will make into the English version. (Currently the English version of the app doesn’t support any multiple versions).

On the bottom, there will be “Open existing file” option that allows you to select a file (.yes or .pdb) and you will be able to read tens of versions, like ESV, ASV, FAYH, etc.

Whatever mentioned here is not guaranteed to be in the final version, but please give feedbacks if any, thanks!