We recently crossed an exciting milestone…
One of the benefits of Bible+ is that you can install it on different devices and those devices have the ability to sync with each other. With the sync feature you can take a note or make a highlight and it will then be available on any device that has Bible+ installed. Not only do all of your notes, highlights, saved passages, and tags sync across devices – but so do reading plans. Start a reading plan on your phone and continue reading on your tablet or computer.
So about that milestone.
Our sync server recently crossed the 500 Million mark! That number represents thousands of people from all over the world who are actively reading and studying God’s word. For all of us at Olive Tree Bible Software this is a great reminder about why we love what we do.
If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the free sync service in Bible+ signup for a free account HERE to get started.
To celebrate this milestone we’ve discounted the top Bible study titles from 2015. Go HERE To see them!
Bible+ 6 for iOS has garnered lots of praise since its release last week. But, it hasn’t been without its pain points, which is expected with any big software update. Settings got moved around, functionality was removed and added, and so on. Today we want to address some of the top issues that have been reported by you, our users.
No More History Button?
Yes, the history button is gone. This was an intentional design decision on our part in favor of having a cleaner & more user friendly header. Many of you used the history button as a quick access feature, which is now a multi-step process through the menu. Even though the button is gone, there is still some good news. You can setup a gesture to easily access your history. To set the gesture, follow these steps:
- Tap the Menu icon
- Select “App Settings”
- Select “Gestures/Shortcuts”
- Choose the actions you would like to use (if not already used, “2 finger tap” works well for this)
Where’d the Bookshelf Go?
This is another item that went away with our new design update. Why? The bookshelf was based on skeuomorphic design, which was popular a few years ago. When iOS 7 released, Apple replaced skeuomorphic design in favor of simplified design elements. We also removed the bookshelf as a means of simplifying the app’s functionality. If you’re looking for an easy way to use your favorite & most-used books, we recommend using the Favorites section of the library view. You can put your most-used resources here, and use “Manage Favorites” to organize them however you would like. These favorites also sync across devices, so you only need to set them once.
How Do I Change the Split Window Font Size?
In our what’s new blog we highlighted how to quickly change the font size. As a lot of you noticed, this only applies to the main window. Here’s how to change the font size elsewhere in the app:
- Tap the Menu icon
- Select “App Settings”
- Select “Fonts”
- Choose the font size for the different sections of the app
What Happened to Evernote Sync?
Evernote Sync never quite worked the way we envisioned it. It worked well for some users, but for others it was nothing but a headache to get working. With Bible+ 6 we made the decision to stop using the old Evernote sync system. In its place, Bible+ 6 now implements the native iOS share functionality. You can use this to export/share a note to Evernote, your social media accounts, email, or any other connected app. Even though the export of notes no longer happens automatically, we find this functionality gives you more control and doesn’t limit you to just using Evernote.
Here are the steps to share a note to Evernote (or any other app):
- Create a note by tapping on a verse number or selecting text
- After you’ve added content to the note, tap the Settings icon in the upper right corner of the “Edit Note” box
- Tap “Share” from the bottom of the list and choose Evernote (or the app you want to share to)
Please note that you must have the Evernote app downloaded on your device for this option to work. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to sync your notes from Evernote back to Bible+.
Where Did My Menu & Icons Go?
Bible+ has a toggle in the app to enable distraction-free reading, which hides the icons and menu. This feature has been in the app for quite a while but it is more noticeable with this update. Fret not, this is not a bug. To re-enable the menu at any time all you have to do is single tap the screen (preferably somewhere without text). If you want to enter distraction-free reading mode again just single tap.
The most important thing we do at Olive Tree is give people access to Scripture.
We want to make it easy for you to read, study, understand, and share Scripture. We believe that a great way to do that is through technology. It gives you the ability to always carry things like multiple translations, study notes, maps, commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and more (phew)! You’d need a truck to carry around all the books that you can keep in your pocket with Olive Tree.
Computers and apps can be hard to use, though. More features and tools inherently make apps (and other things) more complicated. A butter knife is easy enough to figure out, but a 50+ function multi-tool has a steeper learning curve. What do I do if I just want to open a box?
As we add features and tools to The Bible Study App, we want to make sure that the app is helping you to read and study the Bible, not hindering you. We want to make sure that the features are there when you need them, but also ensure that they don’t get in the way when you don’t need them. This is why design is a very important part of what we do at Olive Tree.
We’re always working to improve the design of our apps to provide an easy-to-use and engaging experience. You can expect to see updates in the future with more design changes to make it easier for you to study the Bible on all our platforms. Let’s take a look at some of the work we’ve done in Bible+ version 6.0 for Android.
A More Engaging Interface
The first thing you’ll notice is that the interface is a bit more colorful. This was done to bring the app up-to-date with Google’s material design initiative, to make the app feel more like a true Olive Tree app, and to provide a more positive and less gray experience.
Something else you’ll notice is that if you double tap the screen, the toolbar will appear or disappear. We found that users had a hard time with the toolbar appearing and disappearing when they didn’t mean it to, which is why we made this change. Once you toggle the toolbar off, you’ll find that the whole screen is dedicated to showing text; the app gets completely out of your way so that you can read God’s Word without distractions.
One other change we made was to eliminate the use of the hardware-menu button found only on older Android devices. We’ve now moved the menu button into the interface to follow Android standards and to make the app easier to use for users whose phones don’t have a menu button. This change should also make it quicker and easier to make changes to settings when needed.
A Better Reading Experience
Something we’ve started working hard on at Olive Tree is the reading experience. We’ve dedicated some special attention to something called typography, basically the layout of text on the screen. We want you to be able to read Scripture and other books easily, without experiencing eye-strain, fatigue, or “bumps” in the layout that slow you down when reading.
To that end, we’ve replaced the default font with one that will be more readable on devices of all shapes, sizes, and display-types. We’ve also changed how text is laid out on the screen so that there is a more consistent rhythm, which makes for a seamless reading experience.
The fonts we’re using now also allow us to better support bold and italics (especially in Greek), which is important since bold and italics are often used to denote specific things in our resources. For example, the King James Bible uses italics to denote words that weren’t explicitly in the original languages but were added by the translators for clarity.
We’ve also been able to better bring over the formatting elements like tables, headers, and charts from Study Bibles and other resources. This makes the resources look a lot more like their print counterparts and thus provides a richer, more engaging reading experience.
Often, when an app updates to make big changes like these, the app gets slower. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Bible+. The changes we’ve made have actually increased performance, especially on newer devices. You should find that you can scroll much faster than you ever could, and you’ll notice that the app feels all around snappier.
This is especially useful when doing your devotions in the morning, because it gives you more time reading and less time waiting to get to a passage. It’s also useful when trying to keep up in church while listening to a sermon, or in a small group studying a passage.
Still the Same Olive Tree
We’ve made a lot of changes to make the app better, but if you’ve used the app in the past, you should still feel right at home. We’re trying our best to bring improvements to the app while keeping the familiar functionality and overall experience that you expect from Olive Tree.
A lot of our employees have been using and enjoying these updates for a while, so we’re really excited to release it for everyone to enjoy. You can get the update by going to the updates section of the Google Play Store, or by tapping here on your device.
Technology has come a long way in the last 20 years. I can remember how excited I was when I got my first Palm Pilot that had a 32 MB SD card and two AA batteries that were not rechargeable. The anxiety of having to remember to sync before I lost power was immeasurable!
As technology changes, we have to make changes. We’re living in a world of rapid growth in personal computing and personal devices like we’ve never seen before. With those changes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to support the many devices and platforms from the past, present, and the future.
In order to best serve our customers on current and future devices, we had to make the tough decision to end service for certain devices. As of June 1, 2015, we will pull down the apps for the following devices and no longer support the download of PDB titles for the following platforms:
Nook (Original Nook Color) Click here for more specific information on this specific device.
Windows Classic Mobile (Pocket PC)
What does this mean for me?
If you are on one of these platforms, please download your apps, titles and books files to your data cards and storage devices and keep them in a safe place. After June 1, 2015, you won’t be able to download those titles to your device again.
We will no longer fix text bugs found in these resources on these platforms or offer support or trouble-shooting problems for apps or resources on these devices.
In 2014, we introduced our 5.9 update to our Bible Study App software. Under the hood, we began the switch from Palm Database Files (PDBs) to utilize modern Electronic Publication File technology. This change in file format makes it possible to display text in unique and exciting ways that we were never able to before. It also allows us to offer more titles in the Olive Tree Store on OliveTree.com. In just the past year, we’ve introduced Greek Interlinears, Gospel Harmonies, in-line text display, in-line graphic display, and literally hundreds of new eBooks (have you checked our new release category lately?).
As difficult as this decision was to make, it will allow us to focus on currently supported platforms and to plan for the future. Got questions? Read here for more in depth information.
The Olive Tree Bible Study App developers are hard at work on our upcoming iOS release 5.9 (aka “Flying Eagle” as it has come to be called around here). You may have noticed a little teaser in our latest iPhone & iPad release that said “This update paves the way for a future App update…”
One of the great things about this upcoming release is how The Bible Study App will be better able to layout text in ways that we could not before. We wanted to show you a few examples of this using the NLT (New Living Translation) Study Bible. (Screenshots taken from an iPad 2. Click for a larger view.)
Compare Romans 1:1
Current iOS App 5.5.4 Future iOS App 5.9
You’ll notice that as you scroll through that section (and most other sections of the NLT Study Bible), you will find articles and sidebars, some of which are floating or using some nice formatting to make them stand out.
Compare Genesis 1:1
Current iOS App 5.5.4 Future iOS App 5.9
The tables and articles are much laid out in a much more flowing format with the content. This is just one of the many advantages to this app update. We’ll be highlighting more sneak peaks into the upcoming iOS App release in the next few weeks.
We don’t have an official release date yet, so stay tuned by subscribing to our blog or sign up for our newsletter.
If you haven’t heard, our sync server recently crossed the 100 Million mark!
We’ve had a lot of people ask What’s in that 100 Million Synced number? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Out of the over 100 million synced items, they break out like this:
What’s really interesting is the breakdown of Annotations (highlights, notes, book ribbons, and bookmarks)
100 million is a HUGE number and we are so thankful for our Olive Tree community.
As a token of our thanks, we’ve expanded our 100 Million Sync celebration to include 50% Off Popular Commentaries like NICOT, NICNT, Pillar, IVP, and 25% Off or more on over 700 products in our store. These offers are exclusive to OliveTree.com. Go HERE to see these exclusive deals.