Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Discussions around the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch versions of the Gospel Library application.
robarch
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Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Postby robarch » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:42 am

I tried emailing gospellibrary-iphone@ldschurch.org as directed on the support page, but got back an undeliverable message. Hmm! Here'a what I wrote

LDS Tech,
I appreciate the efforts you are making to improve the features of the Gospel Library app, but I have to say that the latest update for the iPhone has been a downgrade in my opinion. I use my phone each day for scripture study and the update has dramatically slowed me down. I probably can study half as fast as before. I am currently studying "faith" which I do by

1. typing in faith in the search bar and then going through all the references. There are 1012 so that is a lot to go through. Previously the search results stayed at the same scroll position when you came back to them. Now it begins at the top every time I re-enter the search. I have to scroll down each time I re-enter. Can you bring back retaining scroll position please? As a possible additional feature, can you retain the search results and scroll location after the app is tombstoned? Both the old and new update don't do this, but it would greatly help if the app were able to retain search after closing.

2. Picking a reference and reading it then highlighting it. The new update makes highlighting harder. The size of the highlight box doesn't match what is being highlighted with multi-verse highlighting. I have to watch for verses to become highlighted blue, not for the highlight box to cover the verse. And, it no longer allows me to highlight portions of each verse. After one verse it becomes all or nothing.

3. Adding a tag for "faith" and add a note. It used to be that adding the tag and note worked pretty well. I could first add the tag and then click anywhere on the highlight and click on the note button to add or edit my note. Now the ability to bring up the toolbar seems to be impaired and I can't seem to reliably get the toolbar to come up once the first tag is added. Most of the time if I touch the now highlighted area it does nothing. Sometimes it allows me to click on the icon to add a note, but once added if I do this again, it just adds yet another note rather than allowing me to edit the existing note. Is there really a use case for multiple separate lists of notes and tags because I can't think of a reason someone would want multiple different notes. And, even if there were a use case for that, v4 doesn't surface the ability to look at each separate note easily. So, if that were an intentional new feature, it is a flop as implemented. The only way I found to reliably add or edit a note was to click on the tag that now shows up to the right of the verse and then click on "add note" or "edit note".

4. Edit my note. Due to the small size of the iPhone 7 screen, I flip back and forth between the note and the scripture multiple times while writing my note. I'll typically think of one thing to write and then go write that and flip back to the scripture and so on. I probably flip back and forth 10 times per scripture note. For this reason, the speed of getting back to my note is important. If the note screen could be a split screen in the bottom half of the screen where I can still scroll the scripture above as well as the note below, each separately, that'd be ideal. One other possibility is to implement the note window like the email app I'm currently typing this on. It allows me to drag the title bar down and collapses the email I'm writing. In that way, I can go back to my main window any time I want. Then I just click on the email title collapsed on the bottom of my screen when I want to continue editing my email. Either would be great! The new rich text capability of the editor is probably cool for someone, but I don't expect I'll ever use it. It doesn't take up much space though so kudos on that implementation as it appears to have added a feature without breaking something else. The new editor window though has increased margin white space from what it was before and adding a title is now in your face huge. Between those two things, and the space lost for the rich text toolbar, my note window is now much smaller. It feels about 50% of what it was before.

5. Reviewing and editing what I've written and scriptures I've selected. My first 4 steps all give me information in context of the scripture that was written by the original writer. For this step, I want to see all the words together in order to gain understanding across the scriptures. To do this, I clicked on "My Collections" | "Notes" and then select tags. I then selected the tag I just finished researching. I like how this shows everything, but since I can't print from my phone I went to the web app thinking it'd work similarly, but no such luck. It was a mess so I created my own version to format my tagged info on miracles (my last study topic) at: http://codepen.io/robarch/pen/ZOvOOQ. With this info, I then scribble out connections and insights on paper that I see while reading each of the references now together.

6. Saving back all the information I've now compiled and written from the printout. The ideal for this step would be if I could do this all from the iPhone app again. If the "My Collections" | "Notes" | "tags" view also allowed me to click on a note and edit from there that'd be very cool.

As I mentioned earlier, I last went through this whole process with the keyword miracle and gained a wealth of understanding about this important principle. That led me to faith which is what I am studying now. I plan to do hope and charity next. I expect this will be my method of scripture study for the foreseeable future. I have gained tremendous insight and understanding from the scriptures this way already and am grateful for how technology has made this process so much better for me. I did this years ago using the topical guide and index, but that effort didn't yield nearly the same depth of insight that I've gained this time around. By having notes, highlights and tags in a digital form I can put all the information together and study deeper and better. Thanks for the beautiful work you have done on Gospel Library. Other than email, it is my most used app on my phone. Thanks!!!

Blessings,
Rob Archibald, CTO
EndFirst LLC

galorath
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Re: Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Postby galorath » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:42 am

Are you using the latest 4.03 update that came out a few days ago? I updated my iphone where I only do casual scripture study but am still running 3.4 on my ipad where I do my serious study.

THere were major improvements in 4.03 and I am wondering when I should upgrade my ipad?

robarch
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Re: Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Postby robarch » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:01 pm

Yes, I am running 4.03

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sbradshaw
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Re: Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Postby sbradshaw » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:50 pm

Which support page were you looking at where that email address is listed?
Samuel Bradshaw • If you desire to serve God, you are called to the work.

robarch
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Re: Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Postby robarch » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:21 pm

http://tech.lds.org/wiki/Gospel_Library ... t_-_iPhone.

It's the one listed on the "PLEASE READ before posting in this section" FAQ (https://tech.lds.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=103&t=12058) and the support page I found from Google search so I think it is the right place

doncrowther
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Re: Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Postby doncrowther » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:28 pm

Bug issues aside, (though you didn't mention my pet peeve of marking jumping to cover all the previous verses in the chapter when crossing into an additional verse,) there's additional pearls in your post.

The intriguing part to me was the results section of your miracles study project. I can see tremendous value in that for me personally. What would be really cool would be if we could make a tool like that available to everyone. Then we could essentially crowdsource study notes, ranking them on an up and down vote algorithm, then giving us the options to select comments from others that would then be added to the notes section of our personal study notes in Gospel Library. This would also create a basic framework for the church to make their indexing of all verses and their accompanying commentary from Conference talks, General Authority writings, lesson manuals, etc.

Even if they didn't do the crowdsourcing portion for correlation purposes, but still gave us the correlation-approved content that we could, with one click, add into our notes section, in combination with our personal notes, it would make the scriptures for those who actively used that function a true pearl of great price that we would sell everything to be able to obtain.

It would help me fulfill my lifetime dream of literally having all the valuable commentary on each specific verse of scripture literally at my fingertips, both as a means of explaining things and as a jumping off point for questions to ask of the Lord so I/we can receive additional inspiration on how the Lord wants me to apply that concept in my own life.

Thanks for sharing and for your vision.

Don

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sbradshaw
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Re: Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Postby sbradshaw » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:04 am

robarch wrote:http://tech.lds.org/wiki/Gospel_Library_support_-_iPhone.

It's the one listed on the "PLEASE READ before posting in this section" FAQ (https://tech.lds.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=103&t=12058) and the support page I found from Google search so I think it is the right place


Thanks! The wiki page is out of date in a few areas, but I was able to update the email address, at least, for now. Sending feedback through the app (Settings > Send Feedback) will always go to the most up-to-date email address.
Samuel Bradshaw • If you desire to serve God, you are called to the work.

robarch
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Re: Scripture study efficiency cut in half

Postby robarch » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:42 am

@galorath your comment was just what I needed! I hadn't considered using both my iPad and iPhone for scripture study. I've been using both devices for the last several days and my scripture study efficiency has greatly improved. I'd still like the scroll position in the search to be maintained, but it is SO much better now that I can see the scripture at the same time as I'm typing in my comments.

Thanks @sbradshaw for updating the WIKI page. Apparently this forum is the best place to share issues then.

@doncrowther, it actually isn't that hard to make a tool like this available to everyone. If you login to lds.org and go to https://www.lds.org/study-tools/folders?lang=eng, you can then click on your favorite tag. If you then watch the F12 developer console you'll see that when you scroll down there is an AJAX call to https://www.lds.org/study-tools/ajax/hi ... Faith&type. Copy that into a separate browser window and you'll see the JSON output. The relevant information in the querystring is:
- numberToReturn=10 - you can change this to 100 or another number and it'll return more
- tag=Faith - change this to whatever tag you're using

You'll notice there are other fields which may be interesting to use as well such as searchPhrase and searchFields. I initially wrote my pen at codepen.io using the direct API call to lds.org, but I wanted the demo to work for anyone, not just someone who happened to be logged into lds.org at the time. Also, I think the API currently allows cross-origin scripting, but I can't remember for sure. If cross-origin scripting isn't allowed, your idea is much tougher.


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