Want to beta test iOS software for digital “commonplace books”

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Want to beta test iOS software for digital “commonplace books”

Sep 23, 2021, 9:56pm

I make my living as an iOS software developer. I cataloged my library on LibraryThing a long time ago, but what I really wanted was a better way to keep notes about what I’m reading instead of just a catalog of the books I read. If you’ve heard of “commonplace books”, that’s what I’m aiming for.

So I wrote the software I wanted! Now I’m looking for beta testers. You can learn more here: https://librarynotesapp.com/. I think of this software as more of a complement to sites like LibraryThing rather than a competitor. (I would love to do tighter integration with LibraryThing if the API support comes back!)

Some key things:

* 100% free and open source. I wrote this because I love books, not to be a business.
* This is completely local / personal software, with no service / social / sharing component at all.
* You can import your LibraryThing JSON to jump-start your local library. In fact, I’m particularly interested in people with large LibraryThing collections. I “only” have 973 books in mine, and I’m not sure how well the software can handle 10,000+ volumes.

If you’re interested in being a beta tester and are on the latest version of iOS, you can get the software here: https://testflight.apple.com/join/X9nYxpO9

Sep 24, 2021, 1:24am

I might be interested if the app was available across multiple devices - fiction I mostly read on my Kobo, gaming PDFs on my MacBook, work PDFs on my work Windows machine. It's the last I'm most likely to want to annotate - so they usually get printed out. I do read Kindle books on my iPad/iPhone, bit not often.

Sep 24, 2021, 9:02am

Thanks for the feedback! I bet your scenario is common. The way I wrote things, as an iOS native application, "multiple devices" is doable. I don't support Mac yet but that's on my radar. Windows, however, would be quite a challenge and isn't something I'm planning on.

Sep 24, 2021, 11:40am

You might find testers over on MobileReads.

Sep 24, 2021, 12:04pm

So, I've just updated my phone to iOS 15 -- entirely your fault, BrianDewey! Now I'm just waiting for my Mac to get back into the match (had a crash and had to reformat and restore from Time Machine) so I can export a JSON file.

Sep 24, 2021, 2:29pm

Importing my 15.2 Mbytes JSON file silently fails. I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen but nothing does.

Sep 24, 2021, 8:15pm

>6 anglemark: anglemark -- hmm, silent failure is definitely bad. In the three-dot-menu above the book list, there's a "Send Feedback" option. That will send email to me and attach log files. If you're able to do that, I might be able to debug what happened with the import. (If you're willing to share your JSON file with me, I can also try to reproduce the problem. Definitely don't do that if it contains anything private! If it's public information, though, you can mail it to librarynotesapp@gmail.com)

Thanks for taking the time and providing feedback!

Sep 25, 2021, 4:20am

It's 100% public, I'll email it.

Oct 7, 2021, 1:59pm

Finally managed to import my library of 12,000+ books.

First issue: no search function that I could see or find. I would also suggest importing tags and collections and using them to filter books.

Also, what’s with the read in 2021 tag?

Once I track down the books I have on the go at the moment, I’ll try making notes…

Oct 25, 2021, 7:25pm

I'm definitely interested.

I already had TestFlight installed on my iPhone from beta of another app, which is now uninstalled. When I click on the link above, it opens TestFlight, but I only have the option to install the previous app or to redeem a code. What do I need to do to add your app to TestFlight?

Also, as far as highlighting passages, etc in the ebook, I tend to do that on either my iPhone or my Kindle. When taking actual notes, I have been doing those by hand in a notebook or typing them into a database that I have been putting together. I find that trying to use my iPhone or Kindle to take notes is just too slow and tedious for me, and I tend to lose my train of thought before I have gotten halfway through. 😂

Nov 3, 2021, 4:17pm

My collection is about 9,000 items in LT. I use a MacBook Pro, iPad mini 5, iPhone 11. Depending on your time requirements, I may be able to help with your testing.


Edited: Nov 3, 2021, 6:59pm

A couple of questions:

1. I've imported a subset of collections from LibraryThing and that seemed to work fine, except that all the books were dumped into the pre-set Read category. And they all are tagged as Read in 2021, even though that is only one of the collections I imported, and the vast majority of the imported books were not in that collection, but were in one or more other collections. Perhaps I'm not understanding how the tagging works. And is there a way to move selected books (either singly or in a bulk move) into the Currently Reading category?

2. Would it be difficult to add support for the Scribble feature using Apple Pencil? I'm planning to use this on my iPad mini, and I will be much more inclined to make notes if I can just pick up the Pencil and jot them down as if taking notes on paper. The Scribble feature converts the handwritten text to typed text automatically.

Edited to delete #2 — the app does support Scribble. I'm not sure why it wasn't working for me the first time I tried it, but it worked just now. So just the one biggish question/issue for me right now.