Wednesday, June 21, 2017

YouVersion Footnote Linking

Project Status: Feature Request

The App

If you are looking for a Bible app the one from YouVersion is a really nice one, I recommend checking out. It is free with no ads and is always being updated with new and cool stuff. The tweaks and ideas that follow refer to the app as of version 7.6.1 on Android devices.


If you haven't found the setting yet, you might find this interesting. There is a setting in the Bible app that let's you toggle footnotes on/off. Not all translations and versions of the Bible will have footnotes, but for the ones that do an icon will show up inline with the scripture.

Touching on the footnote icon will expand it to provide you with more information related to the verse in which the footnote was nested.

The Problem

The problem with footnotes, or the inconvenience I should say rather, is that often times the footnote is simply a reference to another verse in the Bible.

The reason that is an issue is because the reference to another verse is not linked to the actual verse in the Bible app.

The text is also not selectable or shareable, meaning there is no option to grab the text of the footnote and use it to more easily find the verse in the Bible.

Current Flow

The current user flow of the app is as follows:
  • Expand a footnote.
  • Memorize the verse reference.
  • Either search for the reference or navigate to it.
  • When done, navigate back to where you came from.

Hopefully you remembered the original verse you started at, because there is no way to easily get back to it otherwise, at least not currently.


The solution comes in two parts really and here they are:

  1. Implementation of the recently posted about "YouVersion Study Tabs Feature Request" idea. In short, this would allow for having multiple sections of the Bible open at once. Making studying easier and ideas like linked footnotes even better.
  2. Hyperlinking the verse reference in the footnote so that when touched it opens a new tab at that verse's position. Thus making digging in and studying easier for the user.

Alternate Solution

Since the "YouVersion Study Tabs Feature Request" hasn't actually been implemented yet, here's a solution for handling linkable footnotes until that awesome day when tabs show up:

  1. Hyperlink the verse reference in the footnote so that when touched it jumps directly to verse mentioned in the footnote.
  2. Show a persistent notification-like banner near the top or bottom of the app informing the users of where they jumped to this verse from.
  3. The users then have the option to touch the banner and jump back to the original verse, or to close the banner and continue from where they are now.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

YouVersion Study Tabs Feature Request

Project Status: Feature Request

The App

First off let me start by saying the YouVersion Bible App is awesome. If you haven't checked it out you should, it's free and one of the best out there. Don't worry, they don't pay me to say that, I am not affiliated with them, just a user and these are my opinions.

The Problem

Currently, as of version 7.6.1, it is still very difficult to refer back and forth between multiple points in the Bible app while trying to study. It appears the use case this app is more designed for is that of reading one point in the the Bible at a time.

The problem is when trying to study, imagine a group study atmosphere for example, you often want to hold your place and refer around to multiple other points in the Bible at once. Often times quickly jumping back to the same chapter you were reading in the first place.


I would love to see the "Reading" section of the app open up like browser tabs do. It could be super simple or even completely fancy like the Google Chrome tabs on their mobile app. As seen in the animated GIF above or in this quick demo YouTube video:


The best workaround that I can think of at the moment is to use the app to focus on the main portion of the scripture that you are reading and then dig down into other portions of the Bible using a web browser.

Don't hold your breath

Of course the idea sounds pretty simple to describe and even to imagine, seeing as most of us use interfaces like this almost everyday. However, this is a pretty tall order and would take quite a bit of development effort to build into the existing app.

I would love to have this feature, and I won't lose hope, but realistically speaking I won't hold my breath on this one.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Advanced Slides Service makes scripting for Google Slides possible

Project Status: Dream Came True
Original Post: Google Apps Script for Google Slides

Dream came true

Happy to announce that this is another pipe dream that came true, admittedly I am a few months late posting this, but I actually just found out myself and haven't even had a chance to use it yet.

How it works

Since Google's release of Advanced Slide Service we now have the ability to programmatically generate slides. With this service we can access the Slides API from Google Apps Script, from there we will be able to read/write content to the slides.

Getting started

The place to start would be right here on the Advanced Slides Service page. It will show you how to first enable the advanced service and then go on to show you some sample code to help create your first presentation from script.

Video Tutorial

Check out this tutorial on YouTube straight from the Google Developers channel. It will walk you through connecting Google sheets data and a Google Slides presentation. Also extremely helpful is to dig through the huge list of links provided in the description of the video.

Need some project ideas?

Check out the original post here on this blog for the old feature suggestion, it is packed with some useful ideas of what you could potentially do with Slides once you enable the dynamic content via custom scripting.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Google Maps - Always Avoid Tolls - New Feature Rolled Out

Project Status: Dream Came True
Original Post: Google Maps - Always Avoid Tolls

Now it works, it just works!

Thanks to the many up votes to the feature request and comments by viewers on the Google product forums the ability to automatically avoid tolls in the Google Maps app is now a built-in feature. You don't even have to do anything to set it up really, it just works. Once you select the route option to avoid tolls once, then the option will stay selected until you choice to undo it at any point in the future.

Added by popular demand

As of the time of this posting, on the main thread for this topic on the Google Product forums, there have been:
  • over 630 comments
  • more than 10,000 views
  • 5 expert replies
  • 350 individual votes cast
...all for this feature to be added in the Google Maps app.

That's not even counting all the spin-off topics, some of which are listed on the original feature request posted on this blog way back in 2014.

The announcement from Google Maps

Here's what a Google Maps Community Manager had to say about this new feature

Grace- Google Maps Community Manager said:!topic/maps/hZOHMzSgFyo
Hi everyone,

Google Maps users wanted the ability to save their preferences when looking up directions (avoiding tolls, ferries, highways, etc.) in Google Maps. Now you can! On your Android phone or tablet, your settings are now saved automatically. They will be remembered the next time you use Maps.

Google Maps Community Manager

Doesn't work for you?

If this isn't working for you then be sure to update your Google Maps app to the latest release. I am not sure exactly which version number this feature was rolled out with (it's actually been out for a few months now), but I am running version 9.54.1 and this works for me. Still having problems after that? Then comment below or catch me on Google Plus and we can try to figure out what is going on.


A big shout-out of thanks to the Google Maps development team for including this feature and to all the many people over the years that have jumped onto the product forums to help gain interest in the idea and help it become a reality.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Verse Tracker Quick Fix

Project Status: App Developers Notified

The App

First off let me start by saying the YouVersion Bible App is awesome. If you haven't checked it out you should, it's free and one of the best out there. Don't worry, they don't pay me to say that, I am not affiliated with them, just a user and these are my opinions.

The Bug

Okay so bug might not actually be he correct term here, it's more of a quirkiness. As you may have noticed there is a new feature that has been recently added, namely the Verse Tracker, which you can read more about here if you like.

As you can see in the GIF on this page the verse tracker marks the current verse being read aloud while using the app. The slight issue is that this marker (as of version 7.5.3) does not take into account the added space for footnotes when a user decides to expand the footnote.

When a footnote is expanded the marker no longer highlights the entire verse. It also tends to get a bit confused if you open and close footnotes while the audio is playing. It's even possible to make it appear to jump backwards to a previous verse in the chapter even though the audio plays continuously without interruption.


Here is a quick YouTube video to show you what I am talking about. Sorry, but there is no audio of the verses being read aloud due to copyright restrictions.


I mean no disrespect to the YouVersion Bible app, hopefully this is not taken that way. If you don't have the Verse Tracker feature described here be sure to update your app, take note that it won't actually be available for every version of the Bible because not every version includes audio playback. I'm sure this will be cleared up very soon, those guys/gals are pretty on top of things over there. Until then, everyone enjoy the app and a big shout out to the dev team for making a super awesome app.