Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Any discussions around the Gospel Library App on various mobile and electronic devices.
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Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby landonhale » Tue May 14, 2013 9:29 am

I think a lot of people like the integrity of physical scriptures but long for the versatility of digital. How many times, when in a discussion about the Book of Mormon have you heard "I don't remember which verse it is, but it's on the left page, right column, about half way down." and they were able to find the verse they were looking for.

I would like to see the scriptures in a two-page, landscape view on a 10" tablet (one-page, portrait could work for 7" tablets) formatted exactly as they would be on a physical copy of the scripture (ex. Alma 13:14 is on the left page, left column, bottom verse of physical scriptures. Alma 13:31 is on the bottom of the right page, right column. They should be in exactly the same place on the tablet screen), but with the features currently on the app: highlighting, footnote links, etc...

What do you guys think? I've got some more ideas for navigating and such, but as far as the base ideas go, what are your thoughts?

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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby jdlessley » Tue May 14, 2013 11:11 am

To add to the concept but still make the text easy to read on small screen formats a view option to toggle between small screen format and page width format or even full page format, as in print copy, would cater to both needs. Without the small screen format capability there would be frustrated small screen users. Reading would require not only up and down scrolling but left and right scrolling. Left and right scrolling can make reading difficult if not distracting and frustrating.

The page width format is the same view option available in word processing programs. The page fills the screen left to right but may require vertical scrolling to see an entire page. Depending on screen orientation, portrait or landscape, and overall screen size, the font size could be a problem.

Full page width format is again the same view option as used in word processing programs. The side effect of full page is font size changes that could make the page unreadable due to quite small font size. This may not be a problem with larger screen tablets, but font size would be quite small on small screen mobile devices.

Overall the idea has merit. But development is done for operating systems and not necessarily by device. So tablet users may not have problems with the number of screen views available. Small screen users may not see an advantage to the variety of screen views.
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby landonhale » Mon May 20, 2013 7:03 am

I envisioned this to be a 10" tablet interface because that is about the size of a Book of Mormon. 7" devices wouldn't be too hard if they only displayed one page portrait, but the idea would be frustrating for smaller screen sizes. The toggle option would definitely make the app more accessible for all users.

Here are some of my thoughts about the interface.
As I stated, the main view of the interface would look exactly like 2 pages of the Book of Mormon. At the top left and top right of the screen is the page reference. When pressed a drop down menu appears with each book of the Book of Mormon which when individually pressed will then show a menu for Chapters, and so on for verses.
When pressed the page numbers in the center of the screen drop down a 10 keypad for entering a page number.
All footnotes are shown at the bottom of the page just as they are on a real Book of Mormon and when pressed open up their link.
Page scrolling would work the same as gospel library except that if you swipe your finger across the screen but keep your finger on the screen, it will continue turning pages quickly.

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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby jasonhyer » Wed May 22, 2013 10:53 am

Probably the best thing you are going to find for the functionality you are looking for in the near term is to go to LDS.org and download the PDF version of the scriptures. You can then utilize Adobe Reader to view the scriptures. Same page layout and everything and in reader you can usually zoom and choose to have side by side layout if the screen is large enough.

Speaking for the Android app, it really isn't being looked at to have a "native" layout of the content. Maybe as mobile technology matures and developers have time, this might be a possibility. It won't happen soon though unless somebody with the time and ability starts to work on it on their own.
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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby auroq » Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:43 am

A PDF version is a good suggestion for formatting, but I think the request is to have the formatting while still having the functionality of the Gospel Library App.
jasonhyer wrote:Speaking for the Android app, it really isn't being looked at to have a "native" layout of the content. Maybe as mobile technology matures and developers have time, this might be a possibility. It won't happen soon though unless somebody with the time and ability starts to work on it on their own.

I think this is what landonhale is hoping. This is the Ideas and Suggestions section of the forum. I really like the idea of "real page" formatting. I'd work on it myself, but I don't have any way to work on it for the forseeable future. Maybe you're right and it won't be touched for a while, however, I still think we could have a good discussion on how this could work.

I see this going two ways right now. Either this layout would be implemented into the options of the Gospel Library app, or it could branch off of the Gospel library and become a separate app of only the Standard works. That way we could alter the GUI and formatting of the app, but still maintain some of the backend, for instence how highlighted scriptures are synced with one's LDS account.

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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby msenslow » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:40 pm

I would absolutely love this. Any word on anything that's been done since the original post?

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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby davesudweeks » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:24 am

I love that page numbers have been added to the Scriptures in Gospel Library (I am on Android Version). I wish there was another mark that identified the end of the first column on each page. If we had that, at least someone could easily identify the top and bottom of each column.

If we had this, you could tell someone "the verse is half-way down the left column" and they should be able to find it.

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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby portb » Sun May 29, 2016 7:28 pm

Page formatting identical to the paper version isn't just a "nice feature" request. It's essential. Many of us have experienced diminished value of scripture study, particularly with retention, after using the electronic version. Recent research has demonstrated that this is true. We retain information better when we have spatial indicators. Left and right pages, left and right column, and position within the book, are all spatial indicators. With our software, we have an opportunity to potentially create more spatial indicators than with paper, but currently we have much less. I've gone back to paper.

The scripture database that is accessible to the public is html files in a sqlite database. I'm thinking about how to reformat the files. My first thought is to have unclosed <div> statements in each file. The next chapter will close the <div> statements. The software will have to read a file and count the <div>'s. It may need to read the chapter before and/or the chapter after in order to fill the page. At least four distinct <div>'s are needed for text only: Left page, left column; Left page, right column; Right page, left column; Right page, right column. Footnotes will require more <div>'s, but that can be postponed because they are not part of the chapter files. The software will have to generate a new html file from a combination of multiple files.

It will be tedious to modify the database. It probably should be done with a long script, partly because it will be easier, and partly because the database will likely not be redistributable due to licensing. Each user will have to run the script to modify their own copy of the database. At some point, the Church may adopt the modified database or their own variant and allow it to be redistributed, but we can't count on that yet.

The Church may have an easier way of regenerating the database, but I'm not sure of that. This may be tedious for anyone.

Absolutely portable. Maybe ncurses to begin with and Kivy or Xamarin in the long term. I'd prefer python, which implies Kivy, but someone with more experience with multiple cross platform development environments could convince me otherwise as long as it is easily portable and fast. I'm not willing to invest time in a single platform.

I'm thinking open source.

I'm an engineer, not a computer scientist, which means I tend to plow forward with something that should work, but may not be the latest and best method. I would be happy if someone has suggestions for a better way. Thinking long term, more spatial indicators could imply 3D rendering, page turning, views of the entire book of Isaiah showing where your markings are, length of each chapter in the book of Isaiah in column format, and anything else you can imagine. So it should be fast and efficient so as to minimally drain the battery of portable devices. The object is to provide more spatial indicators, rather than less, to facilitate learning and retention.
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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby hiltonc » Mon May 30, 2016 7:36 am

Spatial indicators would definitely be a great step forward, but "page formatting identical to the paper version" is not the last word on spatial indicators. In a few generations hardly anyone will remember what the paper version looked like. Hopefully they'll have new spatial indicators that are appropriate for the new medium.

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Re: Gospel Library "Real Page" formatting

Postby sbradshaw » Mon May 30, 2016 11:55 am

Instead of open/close <div> tags, which could cause problems in other places, you could use <hr> tags or something similar to act as a break. Like,

Wherefore, it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even <hr type="column-break" page="2" column="1" />with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

The <hr> tag could be set to "display: none;" for reading without page/column breaks.
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