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The sad state of Mobile Bible software


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#1 pastormichaelwilson

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Posted Yesterday, 09:24 PM

This is an open letter to Accordance Bible Software and Logos/Faithlife Bible software.

 
In the late 1998 I had a palm device.  Probably the V or Vx.  Someone told me about a new Bible reader program for the Palm so I found it and installed it.  It was a basic reader with 2 panes where I could load 2 books.  I was able to get an early version of the NET Bible and study notes and install it on my device.  The Bible reader eventually became Olive Tree Bible software and as more books were added to the library, the reader remained a 2 pane window.
 
Fast forward to today.  I have an iPad Pro 10.5”. There are now three top companies in the Bible software business.  I can load Olive Tree’s latest offering, Accordance’s mobile app and any one of the numerous mobile apps from Logos/Faithlife.  If I launch them, they look exactly like things did on my palm device back in 1998.  I get a window with 2 panes and I can load any two books I want and sometimes they sync when I scroll.  A cursory look would show that nothing has really changed in almost 20 years.  As the power of mobile devices, both tablets and phones are growing and growing, the functionality of these mobile apps seems stalled.  All three Bible software companies offer desktop application and Accordance and Logos allow me to have dozens of books open in any window configuration I want.  Yet, I cannot replicate this layout on any mobile device.
 
Apple has released the Pro line of iPads as laptop replacements.  Their success in this regard is still debated.  However, it would be expected, I think to go to a coffee shop and pull out my iPad or larger phone and load a layout from my desktop.  Granted, there would be memory and speed issues, but I could do it.  I can go to a coffee shop with my 2016 MacBook 12” and load any of the layouts saved on the desktop but mobile devices are not allowed.
 
Logos has placed the various guides and documents created on the desktop on the mobile app.  I can create an exegetical guide on any passage right on my phone and if I save it, it will show up on my desktop.  However, I still only get a 2 pane window.  One is taken up with the exegetical guide and the other can have a Bible or commentary.  
 
Accordance has created a wonderful “Info Pane” on their desktop app, but there is no sign of it on mobile.  Having the information on this pane on the mobile would be a great addition to Bible study on the phone or iPad.  
 
Bible Software has come a long way growing as the power of desktop computers grow.  Yet it looks like mobile Bible computing has been left in the dust.  Modern iPads and iPhones certainly have the memory and the power and the speed to handle multiple books in a tabbed interface, yet it does not exist.  As the world becomes more mobile, Accordance and Logos/Faithlife need to step up and bring desktop functionality to the mobile world.
 


#2 jhancock61

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Posted Yesterday, 10:18 PM

I have been using various Bible Software since the early days of existence. In my opinion, Accordance provides a robust experience for me with the Mobile App and the Desktop version. I cannot comment on other present day software because I exclusively use Accordance at this time.

 

I do agree that Accordance needs to add more features for the iPad version. Sadly, the iPad version seems to have the exact same features as the iPhone. 

 

For my use as a lay person, Accordance is a great resource.



#3 ukfraser

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Posted Today, 04:51 AM

Pastor michael
Part of me agrees with you, i have major frustration with a couple of the design descisions taken by the accordance team for their ios app and really think they should have been sorted by now and those frustrations are well documented in the new features.

However, i have been using accordance ios for ever since i got an ipad 2 back in june 2011 and have used it daily ever since. I have probably downloaded all the bible softwares for mobile devices since and most have only stayed on my device for about half an hour. Other i kept just didnt get used and have gradually been deleted. I have niv cultural backgrounds which is virtually unusable because the search doesnt work on the study part and good news which i keep because of the illustrations. I changed from an android phone to an iphone so i could use accordance.

Accordance has interlinear.
Accordance has the pop up so you can see the underlying word and then wander off to see its use or explore it in lexicons
You can quickly change translation and commentaries in the two panes
You can play audio
You have image rich resources
The search is virtually instantaneous in any resource and can be so refined to title, content etc
It is great for original language studies
It is rock solid
The developers are active on the forum.

Yes i want more from accordance, but i wouldnt want to be without it and when my ipad 2 pretended to die, i rushed out and bought a pro because accordance and forScore are the two apps i am using daily. To such an extent i only boot my mbp up once a week.

accordance ios leaves my previous windows bible software a distant view in the rear view mirror.

And accordance ios is free and comes with great resources such as a tagged esv.

Yes, many other apps are in a sad state but accordance shines.
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Fraser Sims
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Other life enhancing software I use includes: forScore with AirTurn page turner for leading the service including the music from my iPad, HymnQuest for developing my selection of appropriate music, Sibelius for preparing music scores, Lightroom for my photo library.

#4 Solly

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Posted Today, 04:58 AM

It would be really nice if one could choose the operating system to place onto an iPad pro—iOS or macOS. By placing iOS on all 'mobile' devices, Apple has produced a less than what is really possible experience on the iPad Pro. One may view an attempt to get around this device limiting approach by current hardware promoted by Microsoft and Windows 10. I have not had personal experience with those slate products, but I know folks who are delighted by their function. Back in 1983, when I purchased my first personally owned computing system, the wisdom presented to a purchaser was to define the task, select the best software to accomplish that task, select the operating system that works with the chosen software, and then choose the hardware as the final stage.  This approach guided me in purchasing a personal system (KayPro II with the Perfect Series software) that released me from bondage to the employer owned equipment and their decisions on what was best for the employee. 

 

Yes, I think the iPad Pro is a wonderful device if and only if it will allow one to accomplish the task one is attempting. The advice from the early personal computing era still applies. It is why I have operating systems by Digital Research, Microsoft, and Apple on currently used hardware. I also use flavors of BSD, Linux, Android, and WebOS on other hardware. I have specific tools for specific tasks. No, the great variety of systems do not confuse me, because they all operate in a very similar way. One may use a command line, another a graphical interface, and command syntax varies, but file manipulation is file manipulation whether done by PIP or Finder. Waiting for a system to change to my preferences has never been a satisfactory experience for me. I will still apply the old 1980's advice on technology purchase decision making.

 

May your chosen tool accomplish your goals,

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#5 Michel Gilbert

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Posted Today, 10:43 AM

Hi Solly,

 

I couldn't have said it better myself. When I got my first IBM compatible 8086 in 1989, I got the exact same advice. And now, I have/use several Windows versions, Linux, OSX, iOS, Android, and Blackberry. It's relatively easy/simple to learn each file system, and how to install, open, and delete programs/apps on each. And after that, they are all basically the same, with the same major programs installed on each.

 

I do think Michael brings up something Acc should consider. I too wish that Acc would expand their capabilities for iOS on iPad. A good place to start would be adding more Tabs. I know I really enjoy more tabs in PDF Expert and GoodReader. And I think Acc Mobile should at least function as an eReader on par with PDF apps. But of course, it is their decision. And, I won't wait for them to implement this in the meantime.

 

Rick has said a few times that Apple may be planning to replace OSX with iOS. If he is correct, and there are some signs he may be, then the majority of Mac users will eventually be iOS users, including most Accordance users. So I think it would be to Acc's advantage to begin expanding iPad capabilities, starting with more tabs.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

 

Edit: I also think Chromebooks are becoming more attractive to Bible students, so it would be advantageous to offer more tabs to attract those Android users. If the coming Acc Android app is on par with the iOS one, and has appeared by the time I have to replace my iPad, I'll probably switch to a dual boot touchscreen Chromebook with Linux, and have Acc Mobile on Android, and presumably the same Acc desktop functionality I presently have on my Ubuntu ASUS laptop.


Edited by Michel Gilbert, Today, 11:09 AM.

For Christ's love compels us (2 Cor 5:14)

 

 

Accordance 12.1.1 & 2.5:

 

Mac mini, Sierra, 10.12.5

iPad mini 2, 10.3.3
ASUS VivoBook, Ubuntu 17, experimental, and rd


#6 Solly

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Posted Today, 11:19 AM

...

 

Rick has said a few times that Apple may be planning to replace OSX with iOS. If he is correct, and there are some signs he may be, then the majority of Mac users will eventually be iOS users, including most Accordance users. So I think it would be to Acc's advantage to begin expanding iPad capabilities, starting with more tabs.

 

...

Michel, my desire is that iOS become more like macOS. However, as Han Solo was fond of stating, "I have a bad feeling about this!" For this reason I am happy to have the Accordance system on multiple platforms. Of course VirtualBox permits even more possible solutions. Just planning for the future as I don my tin foil hat.  ;)


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#7 Timothy Jenney

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Posted Today, 11:57 AM

Solly,

 

I too have been frustrated with Apple's unwillingness to port more of Mac OSX to iOS. I imagine that's particularly painful for those that have an iPad Pro. It would be wonderful for us here at Accordance, because we'd have an easier time achieving parity between our mobile and computer apps.

 

However, if you are willing to venture onto the "dark side," you can do that now. Just buy any tablet computer that runs the full version of Windows. The computer version of Accordance for Windows will run on it. It will have all the features you've come to know and love.

 

Rick Mansfield regularly posts on mobile computing in these forums. I know he has posted his recommendations for tablet computers, including the minimum features needed to run Accordance properly. If I remember, a tablet with those features can be had for under $300.


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#8 Rich

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Posted Today, 12:12 PM

 

Rick has said a few times that Apple may be planning to replace OSX with iOS. If he is correct, and there are some signs he may be, then the majority of Mac users will eventually be iOS users, including most Accordance users. So I think it would be to Acc's advantage to begin expanding iPad capabilities, starting with more tabs.

 

 

 

 

As a Mac and iOS developer since the mid-2000s, I find it very unlikely that the Mac /  iOS divide will disappear fully any time in the remotest near term.  Steve Jobs noted once the difference between "cars and trucks" and how we need both (although at the time, I believe he was referring to desktops and laptops) — the iPad being the computing variant of the car, and the Mac being the truck in modern times.  While I expect that many features of both will intermix and the lines will continue to become further blurred, at the core, these two platforms have some very large technical and user experience differences, most specifically their primary input methods, but also Apple's very rigid philosophy (closed versus open platforms — although I imagine if they could stuff the "open" part of Mac's back into the box, they would).  Unlike Microsoft, which chose the opposite philosophy and put a desktop OS on a tablet, Apple has very clearly delineated that they are not the same and have shown few signs (and specifically stated that they would not) merge the two.   It feels like some day that the hardware and capability may become so blurred that Apple will change this philosophy, but it doesn't seem likely anytime soon (obviously, an iPad Pro's hardware is on par with modern laptop hardware).

 

All that said, I would love more "pro" features in the iPad variant of Accordance.  With an iPad Pro, I have the landscape and power to do some desktop style functionality on an iPad, and I would love to do that with a platform that's wonderfully mobile and personal.  I don't generally take my MacBook Pro to a study group meeting or home group, but I do take my iPad.  My needs are definitely not as complex as when sitting at my desk, but I would still enjoy having more functionality than what is currently available (more parallels than the current two-pane limitation, a bottom info pane, etc.).   Also, most of the recent concerns that people have with more functionality in specific apps on the iPad generally aren't limitations of the operating system, outside the ability to just run Mac software on an iPad, which seems like a horrible idea from a practical standpoint.   That said, I understand the complexities and competing priorities in a software development house, particularly when mobile platforms have not been great for monetizing to cover the developmental costs.


Edited by Rich, Today, 12:16 PM.

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#9 ukfraser

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Posted Today, 12:23 PM

Dr j, when the ipad first came out, i couldnt see the point of them until i was given one.

when my ipad pretended to die, i considered a surface pro. There is something about the ipad & pro. Its dimensions and weight means it can be held comfortably in one hand for long periods. The surface pro would be brilliant but i find it a bit heavy and so apart from the touch screen, not drawn over having my mbp on my lap. Its just that they take an age to boot up compared to the ipad and battery doesnt last as long and currently my daughter cat is using my lap and wouldnt appreciate the mbp competition.

For me, The downside of reduced functionality of iOS far outweighs the benefits of the physical size.

I think we all want greater parity between operating systems and an opportunity was missed when the pro was launched, but despite its faults, iOS accordance is still streets ahead of zondervans pradis which was about the same price as the full fat accordance starter but came with a rubbish interface and limited functionality when compared to accordance. Even accordance v8 was a real eye opener for me.

As to cost, rick posted this on another recent thread

http://www.modbook.com/modbookpro

Edited by ukfraser, Today, 01:22 PM.

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Accordance 2x iOS 9x on iPad pro and iPhone 4s, occasionally accordance 12x on Mountain Lion on a reliable '08 mbp.
Other life enhancing software I use includes: forScore with AirTurn page turner for leading the service including the music from my iPad, HymnQuest for developing my selection of appropriate music, Sibelius for preparing music scores, Lightroom for my photo library.

#10 Michel Gilbert

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Posted Today, 12:29 PM

Hi Rich,

 

I appreciate your comments. I don't know if iOS will replace OSX, or whether they will just merge a bit more and blur some more distinctions. What I do think though, is that as iOS productivity capabilities increase towards desktop levels, e.g., its Unicode word processing capabilities blow Android out of the water at the moment, and as Apple implements more features to undergird the iPad Pro as a desktop laptop replacement, that more people will in fact use it instead of a laptop. In that case, and for those users, it would be to Acc's advantage to cater to them. And this will happen irrespective of whether iOS replaces OSX.

 

I'm a relatively new Mac user, and I'm not a programmer. I'm just a user who can be productive on an iPad, and if Acc implemented a multiple tab feature, and the construct search, the iPad Pro could replace a laptop for me.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

 

Edited: desktop


Edited by Michel Gilbert, Today, 12:34 PM.

For Christ's love compels us (2 Cor 5:14)

 

 

Accordance 12.1.1 & 2.5:

 

Mac mini, Sierra, 10.12.5

iPad mini 2, 10.3.3
ASUS VivoBook, Ubuntu 17, experimental, and rd


#11 Solly

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Posted Today, 12:50 PM

Dr. J,

 

Indeed, a tablet computer is a solution that currently works, and that is a possibility for me in the future. At this moment I am a happy camper with my hardware/software combinations and wish to take a break from Windows. I will rethink things when Vader, I mean Microsoft, ends support for Win 7 in a few years. ;-) Certainly the cost of a tablet computer is not prohibitive and the only objection I have at the moment is some concern about the current philosophy on gathering user metrics. Yes, I wear my tin foil more often lately. 

 

Shalom,

Joseph


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#12 Julia Falling

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Posted Today, 01:28 PM

If we could get 4 panes (or even 3) on an iPad I would be thrilled.  Yeah, Construct Search would be nice.  But all the searches we can already do are wonderful – my husband and I both use iAccord daily and extensively.

 

However, and it's a big however, there are things that just cannot be easily done, or done at all, on a small screen – not on a phone or even a laptop (or the big iPad Pro) – I use my MacBook Air plugged into a 27" monitor and use every square inch of real estate.  This set-up is not portable.  I have lots of saved workspaces – almost all are multi-tab and many are multi-zone.

 

I have been using iAccord since it was released.  We have had steady improvements in functionality.  The single function I want most is more panes, but I'm sure that will be implemented in time.  I can wait.  I really am a happy, satisfied iAccord user.  Is the app perfect?  No.  Will it ever be perfect?  No.  Will it continue to improve?  About that I have no doubts at all.


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#13 Daniel Francis

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Posted Today, 01:42 PM

I would even be happy to be able to have two panes for all books at this point.

 

-dan

 

PS: For the most part I like what Accordance and Faithlife have to offer.. both could use many improvements, as some have mentioned above. In the FL world its lack of adequate functionality offline is a major complaint to me, where as in the ACC world INFO pane is my top wish. 


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#14 Michel Gilbert

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Posted Today, 01:46 PM

Hi Julia,

 

I agree. An iPad Pro laptop replacement wouldn't replace my desktop(s). But I think that some will use iPads without a laptop or desktop.

 

I know I have a unique workflow, which hardly anyone else shares. I would only replace an iPad with something else for the Construct Search, which is critical to my work. I love my iPad, the Syntax Database even more. :)

 

Regards,

 

Michel


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For Christ's love compels us (2 Cor 5:14)

 

 

Accordance 12.1.1 & 2.5:

 

Mac mini, Sierra, 10.12.5

iPad mini 2, 10.3.3
ASUS VivoBook, Ubuntu 17, experimental, and rd


#15 Julia Falling

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Posted Today, 02:01 PM

Hi Julia,

 

I agree. An iPad Pro laptop replacement wouldn't replace my desktop(s). But I think that some will use iPads without a laptop or desktop.

 

I know I have a unique workflow, which hardly anyone else shares. I would only replace an iPad with something else for the Construct Search, which is critical to my work. I love my iPad, the Syntax Database even more. :)

 

Regards,

 

Michel

 

Michael – I do Construct Searches, and spend time regularly investigating textual variants (Greek only).  I'm fine without the Construct searches on the iPad, but find doing textual stuff on an iPad, because of the limited space, frustrating.  A little better with full functionality on the MBA.  Great with the MBA + 27" monitor.  

 

I would really like to be able to have an English version, original language text, User Notes plus another tool or text visible on my iPad Pro at the same time.  The iPad screen is big enough to accommodate 4 panes, I think.   (I currently have the 9.7" Pro, but will probably upgrade to the 10.5 next year.  The larger Pro is just too big for the way I use my iPad.)

 

Frankly, we're all spoiled!


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#16 ukfraser

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Posted Today, 02:09 PM

Frankly, we're all spoiled!


Oh yes!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fraser Sims
Accordance 2x iOS 9x on iPad pro and iPhone 4s, occasionally accordance 12x on Mountain Lion on a reliable '08 mbp.
Other life enhancing software I use includes: forScore with AirTurn page turner for leading the service including the music from my iPad, HymnQuest for developing my selection of appropriate music, Sibelius for preparing music scores, Lightroom for my photo library.

#17 דָנִיאֶל

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Posted Today, 02:18 PM

I've felt for a long time that the size of the screen and the size of the device must be disconnected from one another. I'm not actually kidding but the tech doesn't currently exist - at least not outside any lab.

 

Thx

D


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#18 Solly

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Posted Today, 02:30 PM

Spoiled indeed! I remember the DOS based product crated by Larry Pierce, and thought it was so wonderful at the time. Oh, it still works, but the modern tools are so much friendlier, and when I found Gill's Exposition of the NT and OT in the User Tools of Accordance Exchange, I put that DOS based software in the archives. I like to be spoiled—er, more productive.

 

Shalom,

Joseph


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#19 Michel Gilbert

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Posted Today, 03:13 PM

To return to Michael's original post, it was good that he placed it in Feature Requests. I think there is a consensus on adding another pane or two. But I also think the consensus is that the present limit of two panes does not reflect an overall sad state of affairs in iOS Acc.

 

Regards,

 

Michel


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For Christ's love compels us (2 Cor 5:14)

 

 

Accordance 12.1.1 & 2.5:

 

Mac mini, Sierra, 10.12.5

iPad mini 2, 10.3.3
ASUS VivoBook, Ubuntu 17, experimental, and rd


#20 Daniel Francis

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Posted Today, 03:52 PM

I remember the DOS based product crated by Larry Pierce, and thought it was so wonderful at the time.

 

Never had that but did use Godspeed Bible Search Program by Kingdom Age Software of Brian G. Moore it was amazingly fast and could run the NT off a low density floppy.  I was shocked to find googling it that it is still available. it was a wonderful program for sure. I know L.P. program eventually became known as OnlineBible and I used the mac variant for years and indeed have it still installed on my MBP although it sees very little use.

 

-dan


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