What file formats does Reading App Builder recognize?

Reading App Builder can handle content from two types of file:

1. Word documents (.docx)
Reading App Builder can import text and images from Microsoft Word (.docx) documents. Some, but not all, of the formatting will be preserved.

2. SFM text files
In SFM text files, the chapters, section headings and paragraphs are marked by standard format markers such as \c, \s and \p.

In addition there is basic support for importing contents from HTML files and EPUB documents.

Which versions of Android will the apps work on?

The apps built by Reading App Builder can be used on Android versions 2.3 and above.

Once the app has been built, how can I distribute it to others?

Anyone with an app that has been built by Reading App Builder can share the app with the people around them via Bluetooth or microSD card. Apps can also be distributed through Google Play Store.

Will people need internet access to use the app?

No. Everything can be packaged inside of the app, meaning that it will need no additional permissions like internet or file system access. However, that may change depending on how you handle the audio files (see further down).

How do we get the audio-text synchronization to work?

There are two different programs that can be used to create the timing files that allow the audio-text synchronization to work:

  1. Audacity, a free audio editor, can be used to create timing files which are then included in the app. It is not difficult to do, but will take time.
  2. aeneas can automate the synchronization, processing each chapter in a few seconds. Its accuracy depends on the language and the clarity of the recording.

More details about each of these approaches can be found in the Documentation.

Audio files can get large. Can they all fit in the app package?

There are a number of ways to include the audio files. Which one you choose will depend on what works best for your distribution methods.

  • The audio files can all be included in the app package. This makes distribution easier because everything you need is in one file. However, if you distribute via the Google Play Store, the package file is limited to 100 MB.
  • An external folder can be used, such as on a microSD card. This requires additional permissions for the app, but may simplify distribution. One possibility is to distribute a microSD card that has the audio files and the app. Feature phones could still use the audio files and Android phones would get the added benefit of the full app with the text and synchronized audio.
  • If Internet access is not a problem, the audio files can be hosted online for the user to download one by one when they are needed. Again, additional permissions are required.

Will the app work with our complex fonts and scripts?

We hope so! You can package fonts within the app. Each version of Android seems to fix some issues with complex scripts while at the same time breaking others. SIL’s Non-Roman Script Initiative (NRSI) has developed a system called Graphite which enables complex fonts to be displayed. Grandroid can be used to make Graphite font rendering work on Android. Grandroid fixes many of the font display problems that can otherwise occur on Android phones.

Is the app only for Android, or is there a version that works on the iPhone and Windows phones?

The current version of RAB only produces Android apps. The user interface code is specifically written for Android. We are working on an iOS version.

Android was chosen first since it has such a large percentage of the smartphone market. Reading App Builder can export text and audio in EPUB e-book format which can be viewed by EPUB readers on other platforms.

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