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Old 12-10-2012, 03:16 AM   #121
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:53 AM   #122
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By the way, Marvin's description in the App Store says it needs iOS 5 to run. Luckily, that's not true, as Marvin also happily runs on my iPad 1 where the highest possible iOS version is 4.
The iPad 1 is compatible with iOS 5 (I have one running 5.1.1).
Are you sure you aren't on iOS5, but can't update to iOS 6 (which is not compatible with the iPad 1)?
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:07 AM   #123
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Darn! I apologize for the misleading statement. I'm on 5.1.1 on iPad 1, too, which is its final destination. Thanks for the correction, Paul. Of course I'm on iOS 5 there, otherwise iCloud wouldn't work. (Must have confused that number in my head with Ice Cream Sandwich somehow.)

By the way, now that we have Marvin and no longer need to fear the upgrade to iOS 6 (so much), the main attraction of iOS 6 for me is the addition of 3 more dictionaries integrated into iOS: German, French, and Spanish. I must say, though, that the Kindle app is the king in terms of dictionary integration. It now already offers 10 (!) dictionaries, including 4 Far-Eastern languages. Apple is rather behind in this respect; I'd especially welcome an early addition of the Russian dictionary, but I'm not holding my breath. Also, the display of dictionary definitions is superior in the Kindle app over what we have in Stanza/Marvin, you can also search within the Kindle dictionaries, and tap on terms used in definitions. Ah well, you can't have everything.

Earlier today, with a tear in my eye, I replaced Stanza's icon in the elite 6-icon base row on my iPads with Marvin's icon. Good-bye, Stanza, and thanks a lot. You served us well for many years.

Last edited by Faterson; 12-10-2012 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:56 AM   #124
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Hi Faterson, thanks for pointing out that iOS supports more than one dictionary. I'll integrate them into the new build.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:17 AM   #125
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Thanks, Kris!

In terms of dictionary integration, you might want to look at the Vietnamese app called eBookMobi. (It supports both MOBI and EPUB books.) A friend of mine who was likewise delighted by Marvin the other day (and called it "the ideal studying tool" as soon as iCloud sync arrives) uses eBookMobi to read Russian e-books because unlike the mainstream apps, it supports a Russian dictionary. You can download and integrate Stardict dictionaries (support for up to 105 languages!) in eBookMobi. It would be cool to have similar functionality in Marvin, so we don't need to wait until Apple makes official dictionaries available for additional languages in future iOS versions. Of course, there are two types of dictionaries:
  1. definitions
  2. translations
Should you decide to support the second type of dictionaries in Marvin, too, you could then add another button to the pop-up that appears after the user taps a word: there could be the Translate button in addition to the Define button.

Last edited by Faterson; 12-10-2012 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:38 AM   #126
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Faterson - just like you I have placed Marvin on the base row, only as I only use 4 spaces it is possibly even more elite!

The transition for that space has gone:-

Ibooks
Kindle
Stanza
Overdrive
Shubooks

and now Marvin!

Hooray!!
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:54 AM   #127
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Thanks guys. I really appreciate your support!

@Faterson, I spent some time researching the dictionaries idea. Some findings:
  • The StarDict project is defunct. The old sourceforge page for StarDict also says that there were/are some copyright infringement issues with the dictionaries. There are alternatives, but I need to investigate more.
  • There doesn't seem to be a way to programmatically instruct iOS to launch the dictionary for a specific language. The dictionary will only show for your locale (language in iPad's settings). I stand to be corrected. Anyone know better?

This is a quick idea I have: Offer an option to either use iOS's built-in dictionary (offline), or fall back to a specific language version of Wiktionary. Of course, this is sub-optimal because the dictionary wouldn't be available offline. On the other hand, (in my limited search so far) I can't find a good supported offline dictionary engine. Short of writing my own, I'd like to minimise my dependencies on third-party libraries. Should they stop being supported (like the iOS non-ARC to ARC transition) I'd have a serious problem.

What do you think? Is Wiktionary integration acceptable?
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:29 AM   #128
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  • There doesn't seem to be a way to programmatically instruct iOS to launch the dictionary for a specific language. The dictionary will only show for your locale (language in iPad's settings). I stand to be corrected. Anyone know better?
I certainly hope you're wrong there, Kris! That would be an incredibly silly arrangement on the part of iOS, if that were the case. Mainly because of Stanza, I haven't upgraded to iOS 6 so far on any of my devices, so I can't test yet how exactly the dictionaries in iOS 6 behave. However, I can't seriously believe that Apple doesn't realize that people often read foreign-language books, and Apple can't really expect all of their customers to be 100% strictly mono-lingual, never trying to learn a foreign language, etc. Readers need the ability to easily switch between dictionaries for various languages on-the-fly.

Again, the Kindle app leads the way here. With a single tap of your finger on the "i" button, you can switch from the active dictionary to any of the other 9 available foreign-language Kindle dictionaries. That friend I mentioned who uses eBookMobi just wrote me a few minutes ago: "I can't understand why app developers don't take a look at the dictionaries in the Kindle app and imitate them in their own apps. It's not only about the range of available dictionaries, but also about the way they work." And this is certainly true. The Kindle app is fabulous in that you only need to tap & hold a word, and the dictionary definition instantly shows up at the bottom or at the top of your screen. That's a huge difference compared to having to tap a specific button yet another time to launch the dictionary itself. Plus, like I mentioned, you can search within Kindle dictionaries, and you can look up words used in the definitions themselves. The built-in iOS dictionary allows none of these things, and is therefore distinctly inferior compared to Kindle dictionaries.

In short, Kris, if you could imitate (the more, the better) the Kindle app's dictionaries' functionality in Marvin somehow, it would definitely be nice. Kindle is the undisputed leader in that department.

As to the Wiktionary idea, I definitely think having access to Wiktionary would be better than having nothing. On the other hand, the quality of Wiktionary dictionaries is typically sub-par.

There's a superb Russian iOS app called Lingvo (from the makers of FineReader OCR) that offers first-rate dictionaries from world-renowned publishers, both definition and translation dictionaries. I have purchased the Lingvo app itself and several dictionaries within it as in-app purchases, and I'm extremely happy with their quality. Now, if it were somehow possible to make the Lingvo app's definitions and translations pop up within Marvin, that would be the best of both worlds! As it is, I need to copy a word in Marvin first, then switch to the Lingvo app and launch the dictionary there.

Last edited by Faterson; 12-10-2012 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:57 AM   #129
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OK. I spoke to soon. Just figured out a way to pop up iOS the dictionary in either English, Spanish, French or German (programmatically). I can't find this method documented anywhere so I hope Marvin doesn't get rejected for this.

I'm also cooking up a method to help you switch to external dictionary apps much more easily.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:11 PM   #130
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Quote:
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Just figured out a way to pop up iOS the dictionary in either English, Spanish, French or German (programmatically).
That's great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kguil View Post
I'm also cooking up a method to help you switch to external dictionary apps much more easily.
That would be fantastic. The Lingvo app is already meeting you half-way, so to speak, because when you launch Lingvo, whatever is in iOS's current clipboard gets automatically inserted into Lingvo's search field, so all you need to do then in Lingvo is tap once more to get the definition or translation (depending on what dictionary type is activated in Lingvo at that moment).
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:12 PM   #131
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I think I have a cool way to do this without messing around with your clipboard Buying Lingvo for testing...
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:32 PM   #132
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Actually, Lingvo is even smarter than I said, so I need to correct myself: as soon as you launch Lingvo, it not only inserts whatever is in iOS's clipboard into Lingvo's search field, but it also immediately displays the definition and/or translation of whatever is in the search field. And so, you don't need to tap anywhere in Lingvo at all, not even once. You do need to perform the four-finger swipe to return from Lingvo to Marvin.

(Lingvo also displays alternative/close-match search suggestions related to whatever is in the search field, so obviously you need to tap a suggestion if the definition/translation of the default search term is not the one you're looking for.)

If this was the world of Mac OS or Windows, the ideal solution would be obvious: simply overlay Marvin's full-screen window with a small Lingvo pop-up window, and you get the same effect as with iOS's built-in dictionary. However, this is likely impossible in the full-screen world of iOS, so it looks like that "round-trip" to an external dictionary app is inevitable.

Last edited by Faterson; 12-10-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:36 PM   #133
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If Lingvo supports URL launch schemes, I can launch it automatically myself. Unfortunately, you'd have to flip back to Marvin yourself. At least, that's 50% less work

The method I have in mind would allow you to use any 3rd party dictionary app that have URL launch schemes.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:51 PM   #134
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If Lingvo supports URL launch schemes, I can launch it automatically myself. Unfortunately, you'd have to flip back to Marvin yourself. At least, that's 50% less work
Right, exactly.

Not sure if it supports URL launch schemes... Lingvo may be relying on that "clipboard shortcut". So an ideal action-button for me in Marvin would perform the double action of "put this word into the clipboard and switch to Lingvo". I agree it's impractical to support individual 3rd-party dictionary apps, so I hope Lingvo does support URL launch schemes in one way or another. Otherwise, I'll just continue copying words and switching to Lingvo via the four-finger swipe as usual.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:53 PM   #135
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If Lingvo supports URL schemes that it is likely that I'll be able to pass the search term without copying to the clipboard first. No luck finding the scheme yet...
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