Friday, December 28, 2012

Widget! Widget!

Hi guys,

A new version has been uploaded today, and now two widgets are available! The first one is for android > 3.0 users, which according to flurry is the majority of Fabrik Reader users. And it looks like this:

Personally I would like to stack it in another direction, but I didn't find any way to do that so... 

And this little 1x1 book cover widget here, is for everybody:

So basically now you can create kind of "a short cut" for any of your books in your "desktop". Hope you like them :)

I think I'll create more widgets in the future, but right now I really want to focus on the new render engine (btw in this update I also fixed a major bug in the current render engine which will cause missing paragraph). It's definitely what's coming next, but it'll take some time. It's like writing a tiny web browser, you don't need to know anything about programming to understand that it's not an easy job to do. So please be patient, and I'll move as fast as I can!

Thank you for your support, and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Brand new Icon, and translation!

Hi guys,

Today I've also done some re-designed of the icon, and here it is:

So what do you think? Better or worse than the one we're using now? Let me know!

Also I've finally put together all the texts that needed to be translated in order to get Fabrik Reader localized. And this is the part that I'm going to need your help! I've already got Fabrik Reader translated into Chinese, and it shouldn't take you more than 30 minutes. So if you want to help translate Fabrik into your own language(THANKS!!!), please keep reading.

This is the link of the market description: I'm sure you know how to translate that :)

This is the link to the resource file to be translated:

You can open it with any text editor. And when you do, just translate what's between the <string> tags, like:


For example, the 4th line in the file is:

<string name="menu_recent">Recent</string>

If you're translating it into Chinese, you should get:

<string name="menu_recent">最近</string>

Just one more thing that you should know, sometimes you'll see this: %1$s, that's just a place holder for the actual value, and you should put it in the right position. For example, in the following line:

<string name="dialog_opening_book">Opening book \'%1$s\'...</string>

It means that Opening book 'the-actual-book-name'...

And that's all! After you're done, just put the file in your Dropbox public folder and comment the link below. Thank you again!!!

Oh, just one more thing, you could try to come up with a name for Fabrik Reader in your own language if you like! Just comment and explain the name to me. Let me explain the name Fabrik Reader here first. It's really simple actually: I wanted you to have the feeling that you're reading a book made of Fabric, just like what the Chinese people are doing in the old times, well, at least the rich ones are :) So what do you have in mind? Let me know!

BTW, bookmark/widgets are also under way. So stay tuned! An update should hit the market very soon!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back with a Poll! What do you want most in the next version?

Hi guys, long time no see!

I know it's been a while since the last update, and I'm sorry about that. I've been caught up by another project that will finally come to end very soon. So I'll be back to my favorite project ASAP!

In the meantime, I'm been doing some thinking about what to bring to you guys next. There is so much to do(I really want to make a GREAT product here!), but I'm developing this all by myself, so...

I want to make sure that I always deliver what matters most. And that's why I created a little poll on the Fabrik Reader facebook page (please please like it first!). But before you go there and cast your holy vote, please allow me to explain the options in detail here:

(If you want bookmark, or widgets, consider it's done! They will be the first to be delivered in the next version!)

1. Fabrik Reader Social Network:
    This is my personal favorite! I've always wanted to have a socialized ebook reading experience. That means while you're reading something cool, you can leave some comments and talk about it with other people who also enjoy it. You can also share what you're reading, what you plan to read. You can see what other people have read, or is reading right now. You can follow the people that have sharp opinions, or have the same taste of books as you do, and talk to them, get book recommendations from them. You can find out trending books and what others are saying about them. You can... Isn't that fantastic? Like a book club in your pocket (I know it's a cheesy line...).

2. OPDS support.
    Not much to say about this one.

3. Google Drive Support.
    I know I've been promising this for a long time... It's just that the Google Drive SDK is really hard to use compare to Dropbox...

4. Better Render Engine.
    For now Fabrik Reader doesn't really support things like html tag format or css. So I think a better render engine would be good. After all, it's an ebook reader, is it not?

5. iOS Fabrik Reader.
    I know most of you are probably hard core Android guys, but the Dropbox sync feature will be more shiny with multiple platform support. So how many of you guys want to see Fabrik Reader on iOS?

6. Other
    Please comment if you have any other thoughts!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

v1.3: having a big library? Sorting by title, author or recently read!

Hi guys,

Today Fabrik 1.3 is out there, and this time it's for the people who has a big library. Because now you can sort your books by title, author or the most recent time that you read it!

Before this version, you are already sorting books by recent. Now if you are on android >= 3.0, you'll see a dropdown list next to the icon, and from there you can choose to sort books by title and author. If you are still on android 2.x(time to upgrade your phone, pal, and I think I've already said that before...), you can press menu button and you'll see a sort option. Books will be sorted alphabetically if you choose sort by title, and a nice little bookmark will show up as a separator between books starts with different letters. If you choose sort by author, your books will be grouped by authors and authors will be sorted alphabetically. This way your books from a single series will be grouped together (because they share the same author apparently).

Another improvements is that now Fabrik Reader honours the metadata in your books, both epub and mobi format. So it'll show the actual book title instead of the file name. Also you now have an option to use system backlight settings if you don't want to adjust screen brightness manually.

That's it for 1.3. Another things that you should know about, Fabrik Reader is now on Facebook: Please go ahead and like it (I'm pretty sure you actually do ;) Your likes will help promoting Fabrik Reader, and it's all of you great users that make me going further and further. So, thank you! And Enjoy!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

v1.1, text selection and dictionary integration (finally!)

Hi guys,

    Long time no see! A lot things has happened since my last post, and we're almost crossing 10,000 downloads now, and it's only been a month from the 0.1 beta release. What a month!

    It's been a while since we have a major version update. Today, I think it's time to do just that. So here it is, version 1.1, with the hardest feature I've ever done since 0.1 beta: text selection. And when you got text selection, it also means you got the long waited dictionary integration as well.

    Trust me, text selection is easier said than done. It's mainly because Fabrik use its own text render engine, which means I cannot simply use the text selection feature that comes with android. I had to re-implement the whole stuff (and maybe I don't need to? please let me know if you got a better idea). And that's a lot of calculation, a lot of scenario to consider and a lot of code. It's more or less working now, but definitely not stable. Yet I really want you guys to have this feature as soon as it's available (buggy than nothing I think). So please consider this feature experimental, and let me know if you saw any bug so I can improve it.

    Text selection looks like the screenshots above, when you long hold on a word, it gets highlighted, and you got two handles to drag around to change the selected area. And as you can see, a popup panel with three buttons will show up when you select some text. The first button is the search button, which will try to search whatever you selected. And if you got ColorDict (a nice free dictionary app) installed on your device, the search button will bring up ColorDict, otherwise it'll just start googling. The share button is for sharing, obviously. If you read some great paragraph that you wanted to share with your friends, just select them and client the share button. The last button will copy whatever you selected to clipboard, I'm sure you know how that works.

    Alright, let's stop here. I really need to head out and get some fresh air now. Enjoy your quality reading time!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Crossing 5000 downloads, and checking in!

Hi guys,

    As many of you might notice, Fabrik Reader is already out of beta, and just crossed 5000 downloads yesterday! I want to thank you all for your great support! I definitely won't go this far without it.

    There are a few things I like to say, so here I go:

    As you might notice, I haven't been rolling out updates in the past few days. The reason is really simple: I got some days off and came back to my folks' place to spend some time with them. And I only got an old laptop here so no way I can keep developing on that. Everything will be back on track once I got back home.

    About the ads, I know some people don't like that, and my reasons is also simple: some extra cash will definitely support me better and keep me going forward so you guys will have a better app to use. And again, I promise that there will NEVER be ads in the reading view, so even if you want to keep using it for free, the distractions by ads should be minimum.

    Some people want to see page number instead of percentage. Here I want to explain to you a little bit about why that's very difficult. You see that page number is actually related to your screen size/font/font size/line spacing, and the only way to know how much content can be shown on a page is to render it(or at least do the calculation of rendering in the background). So let's say you jump to 40% of your book, if you want to know the page number you're on right now, we have to render all the 40% of the book in the background just to know how much pages they are, and if you change font/font size/line spacing, the calculation will have to be done all over again. That kind of calculate is just too heavy for a mobile device. I'm still trying to figure out other ways of doing this, and until I do, I think we have to stick with percentage.

    The last thing I want to say is, if you encounter any issue, crash when reading, book files that does not render correctly, etc. Please send me an email with as many details as possible, like what device you are using, your android version, the book file that you are having trouble with. So I can fix them for you effectively.

   As always, enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Almost there, 0.50 beta and more!

Hi guys,

    I've been updating Fabrik Reader almost every day since 0.40 beta, with new features as well as bug fixes. And today, I finally got the 3D page turning animation working, and I decide to move up the major version number, so, 0.50 beta, here we are.

    As always, let's summarize what's been added since 0.40 beta, but I'm not going to get into too much details this time. Here is the list:

    1. Tablet optimized UI, including multi-column bookshelf and  two-column landscape reading model. I know I promised a full redesign of tablet UI. I had an idea last week when I wrote that post, and I actually did implemented that a couple of days ago. But unfortunately I don't think it's good enough when I actually see it on my nexus 7. So, I'm gonna put that on hold until I had a better idea.

2. Add a lot more customization options, like hiding status bar, change font, change line spacing, change animation speed, etc.

3. Justified text align.

4. Book search function, also voice search is supported thanks to google's excellent voice recognition engine.

5. 3D page turning animation.

    At this point, Fabrik Reader is relatively function complete. Also the session error ratio is dropping continuously, so it's more or less stable too. I think we are very close at graduating beta phase. So I want to talk a little bit about my monetization plan here. I don't have a lot of experience, and for now my plan is the classic ad-supported free version plus ad-free paid version way. The free version will have the exact functionality as paid version, but with an ad banner on the bottom of the screen. There will be NO ads in the reading view because that'll make the free version completely useless. I know many of you guys probably prefer a donation supported strategy, but unfortunately I'm a guy who still has to pay for his student loans, so when I see a chance to earn some extra cash, I damn well won't miss it! God forgive me!

    As always, let me know what you think, and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Feature request summary

Hi everybody,

    Since Fabrik Reader's debut on xda developer portal yesterday, I'm receiving a LOT of feature requests from all over the place, and I'm a little bit overwhelmed... Please forgive me if I cannot response to every single one of your posts as before. There is just too many of them and I really want to spend more time developing great app for you :) Thank you again for all these great ideas.

    So I thought it would be good to share with you a part of my todo list, so you know what I'm doing now and what's coming next. And here it is:

    1. More choice for background, text color. A lot people has asked for it, and I will deliver.
    2. Support more formats (chm, lib) and in particular pdf. I really want pdf myself, but it's really different from all the other formats. I'll try to get it done but no guarantees can be made at this point.
    3. Jusified text. Already done, you'll see it in a few hours.
    4. Search book by title. On going, there is a good chance that you'll see it in a few hours, too.
    5. Group books by whatever way(author, recent reading, etc). This will come, but its priority is a bit low on my list, cause I think with book title search function you should be able to find the books you want really quickly. Let's not forget the search function has voice support :)
    6. Text selection, dictionary.
    7. TTS.
    8. Auto scroll.
    9. 3D page turning animation.
    10. Some people mentioned translation, that's a really good idea, and I'll definitely ask for your help on that later. But I want to wait till the beta phase is over before doing that.

   That's really a big list isn't it? I think when I'm done with it we'll have a truly remarkable book reader :p Thank you again for your support. And please keep telling your friends about Fabrik Reader!

    p.s. Some people report issues about book rendering, that some part of their books cannot be detected. If you ever encounter an issue like this, please email me the book that you're having problem with so I can try to fix it.

We made XDA portal today! A BIG THANK YOU to every beta user!

Hi everybody,

    As many of you may already know, Fabrik Reader made its way to the portal of XDA developer today. This blows my mind! It's way beyond my imagination! I simply began developing Fabrik Reader because I wanted to have a good looking, reasonably functional book reader myself. And when I did that, I thought it would be nice to share it with you guys, and I did it, and just a few weeks later, here we are.

    Now to be completely honest with you, the other reason I published Fabrik Reader is that I want to see how far I can go if I really put in some effort to design and develop an app. Although for some other developers it may not seem to be such a big deal to be put on xda portal, for me it really means a lot, and I'm really really excited!

    I want to thank all of you, my dear beta users. YOU are the reason Fabrik Reader made it to the xda portal today. Fabrik Reader is getting better everyday because of your excellent feedback. Your support is what keeps me going. A BIG THANK YOU to all of you!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

0.40 beta: mobi support, image render and more

Hello guys,

It's been a hell of a week, almost an update a day with new features and bug fixes, and here we are, 0.40 beta finally!

If you've been following the progress of Fabrik Reader(hopefully!) for the past week, then probably you've known almost everything that we've add since 0.30. Because I want you to have new features ASAP, so I've been updating frequently rather than waiting for all the features to be completed and publish a new major version.

Any way, let me give you a list about what's new in 0.40 beta since 0.30, and here it is:

1. Add mobi file support, as many people has asked for. Though I haven't tested it thoroughly since I don't have many mobi books. So if you had any problem with your mobi book, just let me know.

2. Now the render engine can render images in your epub books, just like the screenshots on the left. So now you can see what it's like for Alice to be at the mad tea party :) Image render for mobi is harder and I'm still working on it, so you probably have to wait for a while.

3. Optimize book opening speed. Some people are complaining about that it's taking too long to open a book. Well I agree that the algorithm is not 100% optimized. But the main reason that it's kind of slow is because I'm trying to load everything when you open a book so that when you're reading it would be butter smooth. And another reason is that my render engine requires some parsing to be done on the original book format. Any way, what I have done now to optimize book opening speed is to cache the intermediate result of the first time you open a book, and reuse it after that. So now it's would only be slow the first time you open a book, and it's much faster when you open it again. The cache files is stored in your sdcard, so you don't have to worry that they'll eat up your valuable internal memory.

4. You now have an option(in settings of course) to automatically import your books in your dropbox data folder(default to be /App/Fabrik, and you can change that in settings as many of you already know) during synchronization. That means just put your new file in your dropbox Fabrik folder, and after synchronization you'll see them in Fabrik. But if you have many books, please be careful with this, it might take a while to download them all.

5. Bug fixes and small UI adjustments as always.

Finally let me give you a hint about what's coming next. Since I just got my brand new nexus 7 today(yeah!), you can expect a full tablet optimized UI redesign for the next major release. I'm talking about a brand new bookshelf and the long expected two column reading view. So... Stay tuned! Enjoy!

P.S. a personal request: if you like Fabrik Reader, please share it on your social network so more people can find out about it. I'm not good at marketing stuff, so I'm really counting on you here! You can also help me by telling your friends, commenting, following me on g+ or twitter... any way to show your support is very much appreciated. I need it to keep me going. After all, who wants to build an app that nobody is using, right? Thank you very much!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Work work! 0.3 beta done!

    After hours of hard work, the 0.3 beta is now online! Brain fried now...

    So what you get for my fried brain? Two significant improvements: table of contents support, and you can choose where to put the Fabrik folder in your Dropbox now.

    For table of contents, you'll notice that there is one more button in front of the share button in the reading view. Well, I'll admit that's only for users with android version >= 3.0, if you are still stick with 2.x(time to upgrade your phone!), just press the menu button on your phone(I'm pretty sure you have one) and you'll see the table of contents button, as well as a share button, which I'll talk about later, or you could just try to tap it and see what happens :) Tap on the table of contents button will bring you the table of contents view just like the screenshot on the left, and you know what to do next.

    Another improvement is now you can choose where to put the Fabrik folder in your Dropbox. If you are a new user, just open the app and follow instructions and you'll be fine. If you are already using this app(glad to hear that!), go to settings and tap Dropbox Data Folder, that'll bring up a Dropbox folder choose activity so you can choose where to put the Fabrik folder. After you done choosing, it'll automatically start to synchronize to the new folder. Notice that the old Fabrik folder won't be deleted, so if you don't want it any more, just delete it yourself.

    Now for the share button, >= 3.0 users must already have been familiar with that(no? tap it to share what you are reading with your friends now!). In previous versions, the share button does not work in Android 2.x , simply because they're not showing up. And now they do show up if you press the menu button, so make it useful!

    Other improvements including refined epub render engine(you'll notice that), bug fix, blah blah blah... I think I really need to take a nap now, so I'm gonna stop here.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fabrik 0.2 beta just got out of the oven

    Fabrik 0.2 beta has just been uploaded to Google Play! It's a small upgrade with bug fixes and some enhancements. The biggest enhancement is that you now can batch import books. Just long click any folders that contains all the books that you want to import(both local and Dropbox folder is OK), and you'll see the context menu like what's showing on the left screenshot. Click on it will import all the books in the directory that you selected. But please notice that it does not consider sub-directories right now, and if you are batch importing books from Dropbox, please wait for the synchronization process to complete before you open the books that you just imported. We need some time to let it finish downloading.

    Other adjustments including:

    A more smooth bookshelf. We cached all the book cover image now so it's definitely a lot smoother than before.
    Some small bug fix.

    Any way, enjoy! And let me what you think!

Friday, September 7, 2012

I give you: Fabrik Reader

    You might ask, we already got at least 10 different book readers in the android world, why another one? Well, here is thing, among all those 10 different book readers, I just can't find one that really suits me, so I decided to build my own, and here we are :)

    Now, what's so different about Fabrik Reader? Let me ask you a question first, do you really want that much custom preferences in a book reader? Or do you want a book reader that just works beautifully out of the box? Fabrik Reader is definitely not the most feature rich book reader, and what Fabrik Reader gives you, is a really premium, yet really simple user experience. With Fabrik Reader, you get:
  • Complete synchronization of the entire reading experience with your Dropbox. That means, all your books, as well as all your reading progress. So you can use as many devices to read as you want, and everything will just keep in sync automatically.
  • A beautiful interface that will make your reading experience really premium, and easy on your eye.
  • Find covers for your book automatically which make your book looks even better.
  • Support txt, epub format (and more will come in the future).
    Again, if you want a beautiful book reader that works out of the box, and keeps everything in sync, I think Fabrik Reader is just the way to go. So why not give it a shot? It's free any way :)

    Fabrik Reader on Google Play:

    Here is some nice screen shots just to give you a general idea.