November 2017 Ebook Launch

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Starting a thread for discussion of our first round of e-books; Endymion Wilkinson's "Chinese History: A New Manual" 5th edition (which anybody with even a passing interest in Chinese history ought to own) and two collections of graded graded reading materials: Sinolingua's "Graded Chinese Reader" series and some packs of news articles from The Chairman's Bao. All available in "Add-ons." They're accessed through the document reader interface, but are standalone purchases and do not require our document reader add-on to use.

This was yet another backport from 4.0 - something which, like other backports (experimental OCR on iOS, e.g.) was isolated enough from the rest of Pleco that we could get it out early without too much extra coding work. We're not using EPUB for this but using our own proprietary system, so we can eventually do stuff EPUB doesn't support like incorporating e-book content into dictionary search results, and in terms of how these behave in Pleco, they'll feel much more like text files than like EPUBs because they're running through our own text rendering code instead of through an embedded web browser. We're actually planning to support EPUBs on Android through this system - basically when you open the EPUB we'll strip out some formatting and convert it to a Pleco document internally; with this release, we're probably about 80% of the way to having EPUB support on Android. (we'll eventually handle EPUBs this way on iOS too in place of the current approach of viewing them with a poky embedded web browser)
 

Wan

榜眼
This is really a coincidence, as I was going to buy the latest Manual (5th ed.) in print today, but now, I’ll reconsider.
Being a sinologist, I can say that it is an incredibly useful book and an invaluable source of information (IF you have access to a large library to access all the references, that is).
If the version in Pleco is as useful as the book, it should be a no-brainer to purchase it.
 

Shun

状元
Great! I think it's even more useful than the printed version, with the hyperlinks and the ability to search. I'll see if the second edition of Endymion Wilkison, which I already had in print, is enough, or if I need to get the fifth edition. The Graded Readers are nice (the Graded Chinese Reader 3000 is a bit too easy for me), and I like the "+" symbol for annotations with example sentences. Here, I would welcome if the dialog box containing the annotation could be tapped away by tapping outside it. Right now, one always needs to tap the OK button.

Looking forward to many more titles!
 
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Alexis

状元
Exciting! Any plans to include the audio for ebooks that originally come with Audio (ie. Sinolingua, and Chairman's Bao)?

Cool future enhancement might be a recommendation engine that draws from Pleco flashcards, or some other way of marking known vocabulary (ie. intelligently seeing which words a user DOESN'T click on when reading), and then suggesting which books to read next based on % of known characters or words.
 

Alexis

状元
@pdwalker Thanks!

Would also be cool if Pleco could take it's best sentence at parsing the text to identify words, then crowd-source any needed corrections. Or have an editor do this. Then could potentially do neat things like (optionally) add spaces between words, underline words based on how well you know them (perhaps integrated into flashcards scores), etc.
 

ctop

秀才
Just got my copy of the Manual. It is so great to have it in Pleco. After a quick perusal, I encountered a few glitches, mainly in the Tables, of which this book has a lot. It seems that Chinese characters in tables can't be looked up in Pleco directly, which is really a shame. All I can do after selecting some characters is the iOS Lookup, which is completely braindead and broken. Hope this will improve in future updates.
Christian
 

pdwalker

状元
I just downloaded the audio to the first set I purchased (Graded Chinese Reader 500). Getting the audio was as easy as going to http://pleco.com/getmp3 and typing in my registration id. One downloaded zip file later, I have the audio that I can practice listening too as well. Useful!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Cool future enhancement might be a recommendation engine that draws from Pleco flashcards, or some other way of marking known vocabulary (ie. intelligently seeing which words a user DOESN'T click on when reading), and then suggesting which books to read next based on % of known characters or words.
Interesting thought, would have to do some analysis of your history log or some such. But would probably only work for people who don't read word-by-word with arrows.

Would also be cool if Pleco could take it's best sentence at parsing the text to identify words, then crowd-source any needed corrections. Or have an editor do this. Then could potentially do neat things like (optionally) add spaces between words, underline words based on how well you know them (perhaps integrated into flashcards scores), etc.
The GCRs at least actually come with human-generated pinyin and word breaks, we just have to use them in our app. (should work in 4.0 since we now support ruby Pinyin - this will of course be optional since I know a lot of people think the ruby pinyin is the worst thing about the printed versions of these books)

After a quick perusal, I encountered a few glitches, mainly in the Tables, of which this book has a lot. It seems that Chinese characters in tables can't be looked up in Pleco directly, which is really a shame. All I can do after selecting some characters is the iOS Lookup, which is completely braindead and broken. Hope this will improve in future updates.
Yep; worst case this will be fixed in 4.0 (or more specifically in the 'version 2' of the New Manual we plan to release next year, also with support for dictionary search integration) - the basic problem is that our own text rendering system doesn't yet support tables; this is also why a lot of Outlier content comes up in popup boxes. For any content that *isn't* a table - and many things that are tagged as 'Table' are not actually tables on the back end - we pop it up in a regular Pleco text field with tap-lookup support, but with those tables we don't. If we can find the time we could implement a version of the same thing we use to tap-lookup words on web pages on that screen, but not sure if we'll manage that.
 
Hello everyone!

First off, let me just say that I am a huge fan of Pleco and I have bought almost every dictionary. Yesterday, I purchased the New Manual and it seems like an outstanding book. Anyways, I am having a problem with it because Pleco crashes every time I try to click on a word and navigate to the definition page of the word. It also crashes even when I just copy the character. I am having this problem on my Android phone and I am also having this problem on Bluestacks so I doubt that it is just a problem with my phone.

A built-in Ebook service is a great idea but the software needs to be refined so that we can look-up words. I would love to buy the TCB HSK 6 articles for more reading practice but I am afraid I will have to wait until the software is patched up.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Have you submitted crash logs to Google? If not, would you please do so? We haven't seen any of this here (or had any other reports of it) but certainly want to fix it if we can.
 
Thanks for the quick update! I just tried to see if it works and it does when I navigate to the definition page of a highlighted word/character. However, it still glitches up when I try to do a search on a highlighted word/character. (In other words, when I press on the magnifying glass icon.)

The pronunciation and card features are working in the New Manual.
 
When I click on the magnifying glass icon, it opens up the search page but instead of searching for the highlighted word/character, it instead seems to search for random letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. For example, in the New Manual I highlighted and did a search on the word "外来词." Instead of seeing "外来词” in the search bar, I saw a string of letters "ite," so Pleco started searching for words containing "ite" rather than word and terms with “外来词."

Edit: Sometimes, it doesn't seem to search for anything and redirects me to the last thing that I had typed into the search.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Ah, sorry, missed something in my haste to get the crash fix out - new update up now (or in a few minutes) should fix this one too.
 
Hmm... the search feature is still not working in Bluestacks and it crashed when I tried doing it on my phone.

Although it's not really a big deal for me because I can just navigate to the definition page. :cool:
 
My bad. I restarted my phone so I assumed it had automatically updated Pleco. Anyways, I just did the update from the Google Play store and it is working now!
 
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