Monday, November 28, 2011

Maintenance update Go Bible Creator 2.4.2

Over the weekend, a bug was discovered in the processing of USFM files that use the glossary word tag pair \w_...\w*. The bug caused the actual glossary word to be deleted from the verse text.

This bug has been fixed and tested. The updated source code for Go Bible Creator has been checked in to the SVN repository.

Packaged binaries for Go Bible Creator 2.4.2 will be uploaded presently.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Maintenance update Go Bible Creator 2.4.1

We recently encountered a very old bug in Go Bible Creator, or rather in Sun Java (now Oracle).

The internal manifest has a line break inserted at column 72 for long Info: lines.

Amazingly, the original method counted bytes rather than Unicode characters. This meant that long lines that contained multibyte characters could end up with the codepoint being split at the line breaks, thus rendering the compiled JAR file invalid, and for many phones caused the application unable to be installed.

The bug was never triggered for either short Info: lines, or even for long lines in which all the characters were single byte codepoints, as is the case for the English alphabet. This is why it has taken since 2003 for this bug to surface.

Our programmer found an open-source alternative method to make the manifest. He has implemented this in the maintenance update that is now available as Go Bible Creator version 2.4.1 which can be downloaded from the usual places.

This has been checked by the team who encountered the problem, and they have reported that the updated build now installs OK on all their phone models.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Development Update: Symmetric Scrolling Branch

Symmetric Scrolling (Symscroll) Branch
If you look at the SVN repository, the symmetric scrolling (symscroll) branch is where all the new check-ins have been taking place. The features available on this branch include:
  1. Symmetric scrolling. Pressing 'up' goes up by one screen, and pressing 'down' goes down by one screen. This should be much more intuitive than the previous method*.
  2. Touchscreen support. For the few out there using the dying breed of phones that support both Java and touchscreens, this branch is for you. For touchscreen phones with a hardware menu button, you can safely get rid of the on-screen keypad and retain full functionality.
  3. Psalm titles
  4. Text added in by translators can now be marked up, provided the original sources have them.
  5. Verse numbers in other numeral representations.
  6. Search next feature allows you to search from a particular point in the text.
* The previous method, whereby 'up' went up by one verse, and 'down' went down by one screen, had its merits, namely speed, which this branch is going to assume is less relevant in the era of phones that can emulate Nintendo Gameboys.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Technology to Change Cambodia

What you are looking at may seem insignificant. It is the Khmer Bible on a $90 cell phone. This phone can be purchased locally and other phone models as cheaply as $50 which can run the Bible as well. Currently, nearly every church leader, adult and many young people (even in Cambodia) have access to cell phones.

The phone you hold in our hand has more power than computers were 15 years ago. It can do more things and it is more versatile. The days of having “just a phone” are long gone. Now, nearly every phone comes equipped with Wi-Fi, blue tooth, operating systems which allow installation of other programs like mp3 players, capability to view movies, and even make movies!; VIOP calls (through internet connection), video and HD camera capabilities, and. . . oh yeah, any kind of spreadsheet, word processor, picture viewer and multiple language capabilities. Whew! What will they think of next to put in the palm of your hand!

How about free Bibles!

In many countries you can be jailed or even killed for carrying a Bible. Some countries ban the publishing of the Bible in the country, or extremely limit its availability (like Cambodia). What you are seeing pictured here is a revolution. It is a Jesus-virus! Once something is digitized you cannot stop it. (Ever heard of wiki-leaks?)

This little Bible program is based on the software called “Go Bible” and is designed to run on basic cell phones. The entire NT is compressed into 617kb. Yes that is Kilobytes, not Megabytes! It can be downloaded, blue-toothed and installed on any supporting phone, at will, by any user. What does that mean for distribution? It works like a virus and can never be stopped!

Revolution in Publishing

This also means a revolution in publishing. Will it replace the printed Bible? Probably not, but it will definitely aid thousands and even hundreds of thousands of people who don’t have access to a printed Bible, or where carrying a printed Bible might put them in jeopardy. It also provides an exhaustive concordance and Bible text all in one. The entire NT is searchable in seconds.

Most non-English Bibles do not have concordances. That means if a pastor wants to preach on Baptism, he has to try to recall which verses in the Bible talk about Baptism. If he needs to counsel someone on a particular subject, he has no way of searching for relevant Bible verses in his Bible . . . until now!

Why digitize the Bible and offer it free?

God’s word should not be “locked up” for the sake of publishers making money. I am the publisher so I have determined that access to Bible in Cambodia should be at the highest priority and selling Bibles should be a very low priority. Asia Bible Society and Words of Life jointly own the text and it is copyrighted, but we allow anyone to use it personally and give it away freely. Matthew 10:8 “Freely it has been given to you, freely give.” In one survey we did, we found that only 26% of believers in Cambodia have a Bible. Believers in the West often have dozens of Bibles. This little 617kb Bible program in Khmer will probably significantly change that statistic! This little program and the technology behind it can truly bring change to Cambodia!

Note: Currently, the “Khmer Go Bible” is in Beta testing and will be ready for public release for viral distribution very soon! Get ready! Make sure your phone has pre-installed Khmer language capabilities.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ahhh .... release ...

It is Wonderful to have the release of version 2.4.0 this past weekend.

As one who has worked in many different industries building software, banking, lending, flight operations, financial, data transformation, translation tools, language tools, Unicode, ... it's always very satisfying to make a contribution to an existing product that is currently being used. This is my experience with this software: to hear that there are thousands of downloads a month is very neat!



The most challenging part of getting involved was getting my environment configured and getting to a place where I could build and debug the applications. Being an open source project, I used free Java environments and ended up staying with NetBeans IDE for both the Creator (PC application) and the Core (Mobile J2ME project).

The software is pretty straight forward and easy to understand: thanks to the work of those who have gone before (Thanks Jolon and others).

This is a great project and it's being actively used right now. There are more tasks that are slated for work, but as the story often is ... the workers are few. If you are able .. consider getting the source and see about making a contribution that will continue to give long after you stop working on it.

[photo: part of my desk where I worked on GoBible these last several months (off and on)]

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Go Bible v2.4.0 release

Go Bible software version 2.4.0 was released earlier today.
Visit the Go Bible Forum for details.

Thanks to D. Hinton for all the programming effort over the last few months.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Converting JavaME applications to the Android platform (revisited)

The author of MicroEmulator, Bartek Teodorczyk in Oslo, Norway, has posted a guide to converting Java ME apps to the Android platform. This link is to his updated version.

This may appeal to some of our Go Bible developers.