Pleco 4.0

Shun

状元
Hi daal,

Well, when this thread started, android users were still using nougat or marshmallow ; ) Now a few years later, hearing that Android 10 is causing you troubles doesn't really seem like the big problem to those of us who for years have been clinging on to the hope that 4.0 would remove some of our headaches regarding our inability to adjust the myriads of setting to get the flashcard system to behave to our liking.
Maybe 6 years back, I was also struggling with Pleco 3's Spaced Repetition system (with the growing backlog of cards, to be exact), so I just split up my larger categories and successfully studied them using Random card selection, with filters added in. This gives you all the control you need. Why not try to do the same until Pleco 4.0 comes out?

Best regards,

Shun
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Just in general: I've been pretty consistent about not discussing release dates, and I've also been pretty consistent about telling any prospective buyers who ask about a particular feature coming in 4.0 that if that feature is essential to them, they should wait until 4.0 is actually out to buy our software. Nobody has pre-ordered or spent any money whatsoever on this unreleased product.

People certainly have paid for our existing product, and we're working hard to make it better for them in the next release, but that product ought to stand on its own, and I think for most people it does; we've been as generous as we possibly can with refunds when people buy our product and are disappointed they can't get it working to their satisfaction. (on Android we even offer free integration with AnkiDroid for people who like Pleco but aren't happy with the current state of its flashcard system; we would happily offer it on iOS too but it's not technically possible at the moment)

So I'm sorry to anyone who's been waiting for this longer than they'd like, but it takes as long as it takes. It would be even worse if we rushed out something that *still* couldn't meet people's needs and then had to turn around and have this same fight again over Pleco 5.0; if nothing else I am pretty confident that 4.0 is giving us enough to build on that pretty much any interesting functionality we are still missing can be based upon that foundation / not have to wait for another major update.
 
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daal

进士
Just to be clear, I use Pleco pretty much every day, and despite having lost the will to fight with the flashcards, I have definitely gotten my money's worth from the app. Nonetheless, the flashcards system seems essentially unchanged for quite some time and athough all of my questions have been promptly answered, I have found it too hard to satisfactorily overcome the difficulties I repeatedly encountered - that there is no easy way to limit the program's appetite for me to spend time using it. I'm sorry to complain, and I know that it doesn't do any good, its just that whenever this problem arises, we hear that it will be handled better in 4.0 From my personal perspective, except for the flashcard swamp, Pleco is already pretty much perfect , so it's hard to understand why improving it seems to be a never ending project.
 

HW60

状元
@daal: After lots of fruitless discussions about the flashcard system in recent years I finally found a way to deal with too many flashcards, so that I am not sure if I want Pleco 4.0, a system with so many new promised features that it probably will take a lot of time to get accustomed to it.

To achieve my goal of reviewing not more than 80 cards per day in spite of a great backlog I
- split my categories to not more than 80 cards (like @Shun above)
- sort the categories in the same order in which I want to repeat them. If the due cards for one day exceed the limit of 80 cards, I remove a category (or two ...) from the actual review, if less than 80 cards are due I add a category (or two ...) for review.
- use standard settings for SRS with one exception: for incorrect answers I reduce the score to 50%
- exclude a flashcard from all sessions when I reach the top score for the second time for that card
 

daal

进士
@daal: After lots of fruitless discussions about the flashcard system in recent years I finally found a way to deal with too many flashcards...
Thank you so much. You have given me back my flashcards. After 6 weeks I can say that the system is behaving exactly the way I want it to. (Thanks also Shun, I just needed something a bit more specific).
 

Weyland

进士
Personally, I have many recommendations. But, I fear that if I start naming any of them I'll just push the 4.0 release date back even further. Heck, I even have a draft for a forum posts where I scoured these forums to make a "Pleco Wishlist". But, I know that most of the features I'd request wouldn't be of much use to anyone still struggling through the HSK levels. That being said; Pleco is still unequaled in its service.

Just keep on adding new features, and I'll be sure to help in bankrolling them.

... synonyms though ...
 

pdwalker

状元
> But, I fear that if I start naming any of them I'll just push the 4.0 release date back even further.

You too?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
You can do what you like, but it's unlikely that any new idea however brilliant would affect the schedule at this point; we're not really adding more features now and haven't for quite a while. Most of what's going on now is a) making things easier to use/understand and b) refining various parts of the lower-level architecture so they'll be easier for us to maintain and build on.

For example, prior to last week there were three different internal ways of attaching ruby text to characters depending on which part of Pleco had generated it, now there's only one. There's a LOT of that sort of stuff going on; Pleco 3.0 has no less than nine separate search indexes which were added at various points in its long history to accommodate various new search features, 4.0 has just two, one for user dictionaries and one for Pleco-supplied dictionaries, and even those share 90% of their code.

If we were OK with releasing something that was as confusing and held-together-with-chicken-wire as 3.0 is then this would have been out a LOOONG time ago, but the luxury of taking so long to release 4.0 is that we finally have time to pay down all sorts of old technical debt, and doing it now, when we've already suffered as much of a reputational hit as we're going to suffer from delaying it, is a whole lot better than saving it for 5.0 and having people complain that THAT release is taking too long. (though I'm sure some people will indeed complain about that even if it takes only a fraction of the time 4.0 has)
 

Shun

状元
That's really neat, it's always interesting to read about the version 4.0 development process and how it's steadily advancing. :)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
No, I'm afraid there won't really be any news until we announce that the beta is ready; we've already taken whatever repetitional hit we're going to take by delaying it for so long, so now there's not much sense in rushing out something disappointing or incomplete.
 
Firstly, speaking as a software developer, I entirely understand the value of refactoring, internal fixes etc. I appreciate the focus on quality, not just bolting on feature after feature. You've not taken any reputational hit in my book!

Second, something I've not seen discussed on this Pleco 4 topic is phone/device screen size.

As an iPhone SE user, I increasingly find iOS 13 apps look like they've been designed without considering this phone's screen size, despite it still supporting the latest iOS 13.

Can I therefore encourage you to check Pleco 4 is still comfortably usable on a 4" screen?

It would be frustrating (and all too easy) to upgrade because "on paper" the App Store thinks my phone is compatible, only then to find the app unusable if the screen size has not been considered.

Thanks.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Can I therefore encourage you to check Pleco 4 is still comfortably usable on a 4" screen?
We'll certainly test on it (and welcome feedback on the beta), but to be honest, it sounds like Apple's about to replace the SE with something with a 4.7" (or larger) screen, in which case it's likely that in iOS 14 or 15 support for 4" screens will be dropped entirely, so I don't know if we can really justify more than basic functional testing at this point.
 

LeonardoM

秀才
Good news for developers: with the new software releases it’s now possible to sell macOS and iOS versions of their app as a single purchase.
 

LeonardoM

秀才
Hello developers!
I was curious to know how you were doing in this pandemic situation. Are you slowed down because of it, or do you find yourselves to have more time to develop Pleco 4 than before?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
I've got young kids at home, so the two phenomena of more time on my hands + no school have more-or-less canceled each other out :)
 
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