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.