We’ve made quite a few changes to the Safari To Go app for iPad (STG for iPad) app this year, so I wanted to take a minute to give you some detailed background on what our iPad development team has been up to. (See what our other dev teams have been up to here)
Our 2.2 release of STG for iPad on 5/3 greatly improved the user experience and fixed some major bugs. Thanks for your confidence, support and positive reviews. If you don’t have the latest version yet, you can get it on iTunes and be sure to let us know what you think.
Here are a few of the major things we fixed:
- Black Screen – The app was storing a value that told the app which page to take you to after resuming, but the value was corrupted in certain cases which caused the app to hang. Clearing the cache helped temporarily, but in some cases the value was re-introduced through iCloud. This also led us to our new “splash screen” at launch to replace the black placeholder.
- Crashing – Due to the way some font files were handled for epub titles the reader was unable to download and parse the custom publisher fonts. We are working on a fix for the long term to enable publisher fonts and possibly allow user override of the font, but in the short term we are using a standard system font so the crashing should no longer occur.
- Retina Assets – Our app was designed long before the iPad dreamed of getting a retina display, so there were a few things that caught us off guard. All assets should now be updated to Retina standards. The exception which is still under investigation is Print Fidelity books, due to the file size/performance tradeoff of the image based pages.
- Video Playback – We were using a Progressive Download encoding for wi-fi, but there were too many performance issues associated with that technology. We updated the app so that 3G + Wi-Fi now use the HTTP Live Streaming protocol which allows the device to use the highest quality video stream that it can play smoothly based on your available bandwidth. This improves the quality on a fast connection but also fixed the buffering, freezing, play/pause button issues, and long load time issues on slower connections.
- Offline Bookbag – We changed the way we handle intermittent connectivity such as when reading on public transportation so you no longer have to switch into airplane mode. The reader controls and main navigation will dim and become unavailable until you regain a signal, but you will be able to read what has already been pre-fetched and will not be kicked out of the reader
- Persistent Search and ToC – Previously when searching or scanning a title using the ToC within the reader you would lose your place or lose your search results after tapping an entry in the dropdown. We fixed this so that the ToC highlights your current place in the book, and the search results are retained so you don’t have to type it in each type, and it can easily be modified if you don’t find what you are looking for.
Looking forward – The iPad team has shifted focus to adding critical functionality such as Notes, Tags & Highlights as well as continuing to improve the core components like better text, table & code formatting in the reader, smoother Navigation, and offline book accessibility.
Stay tuned for more exciting announcements over the summer!
~Bill← Bonus Chapter from Bootstrap Leadership: Who Called This Meeting? | 12 New Titles Added to Safari Books Online →