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Been thinking more about this, especially since I've been forced by circumstances to use my phone for sites which do have apps. Even when something's advertised as a "mobile version" there's still differences. Unless you go to the actual site via a browser on the phone, what you get on your phone is different from what you get at the site.

Whatever it ends up being, I just hope the learning curve isn't too great and that there's an intuitive feel for the app (which is something the current site sometimes lacks, and probably still lack when fixes are implemented before work begins on the app.)

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At long last, we are able to start work again on a mobile phone application for BookCrossing. We will eventually be building apps for different phones, but our first one will be for iPhone users.

Our designers have all sorts of ideas, but we want to know what you, real BookCrossers, want your phone app to be able to do for you. Give us your ideas -- nothing is to small or to big to be added to the list. We can't guarantee that all suggestions will be incorporated, but we can guarantee all will be considered. Even if you don't have an iphone, or a smart phone, your thoughts are still important. What would you like to have in an app?

Post your ideas in this thread, here, in Feature Requests. Don't send them to support, or post them in your blog, or email them to me, or tweet them, or write on the Facebook wall, or post in another forum and expect we'll find it there. Post them in THIS thread. That's where they're being collected and where we'll look to see what you want. And yes, you can comment, tweak and improve other ideas. If you don't like something, you can say so, but please be polite. What's not a "must" for you might be the main thing someone else is wishing for.

Thanks for your patience and support.
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Really there are only two things that I consider "must-haves" for a BC phone app. I want to be able to easily access my bookshelf and release books while I'm "on-the-go."
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I second that. Also browsing my wishlist as well as wishlists from other bookcrossers, uploading pictures, barcode reader (although I still have yet to OFFICIALLY use it myself on my BlackBerry...I'm old-fashioned) as an option for devices that can read barcodes, register on-the-go on top of releasing on-the-go, manage bookshelves as well as profile.
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Really there are only two things that I consider "must-haves" for a BC phone app. I want to be able to easily access my bookshelf and release books while I'm "on-the-go."


I do this on my droid phone through the website already, and it's fairly easy, though I do agree, if there were an app to make it a little faster to release on the go, that would be very cool.
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I want a plaintext site as there has been until several years ago, before it got messed up and finally deleted. A plaintext site without all the javascript and overhead, which just works with any browser, any phone not entirely unable to use the internet, for everyone and not only some people who paid an incredible sum of money to be an "in" person again, and now need some fancy toys for it to justify the expense.

Is it really necessary to start working on some toy for a minority of rich people instead of fixing the many bugs in the core functions like registering and releasing books which bring a huge frustration potential to the active users?
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Is it really necessary to start working on some toy for a minority of rich people instead of fixing the many bugs in the core functions like registering and releasing books which bring a huge frustration potential to the active users?


Presumably they are keen to do it as it would provide an extra income for BC. Are there still many bugs in the core functions like registering and releasing books? I certainly have not come across one for a long time.

With regard to your point about plaintext I am happy with that if it works as well as you imply but have not heard of any organisation I deal with using that for years. Can you point to an example where that approach works well?

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Are there still many bugs in the core functions like registering and releasing books? I certainly have not come across one for a long time.

Yes, definitely. About one third or a bit more of all books registered come with wrong book data not entered by the user but changed by BC. Some of the data errors are obvious, some less obvious. Some can be repaired by the user if he notices them, some can't because BC simply ignores edits. But all of them are actual errors, probably minor ones, but were never really adressed although known for months.

With regard to your point about plaintext I am happy with that if it works as well as you imply but have not heard of any organisation I deal with using that for years. Can you point to an example where that approach works well?

Yes, Bookcrossing.com. You might have heard of that site. Unfortunately, the fully operational plaintext solution (which was actually the same as the standard page just without all the fancy colorful overhead) has been discontinued a few years ago when some javascript elements were added, which many mobile browsers didn't cope with.

We were promised a true plaintext version ever since.
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I have no idea how you obtain those error figures but will take your word for it unless someone can show otherwise. Hopefully we will get some official feedback in due course which will address the points you make.
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I have no idea how you obtain those error figures but will take your word for it unless someone can show otherwise. Hopefully we will get some official feedback in due course which will address the points you make.


I obtain those numbers by observing my own releases and books. For the books I had registered before the site changeover I can tell how many of them got their data, and which part of it, changed during the site changeover a year ago:
26% swapped category
15% changed the spelling of the title
15% swapped the ISBN or got an ISBN assigned although they had none
6% changed the spelling of the author, some even got a new author

Alltogether about one half of my books had different data after the site changeover, whatever the change had been. Now, after almost a year, the category, ISBN and author spelling bugs are still there with newly registered books, and I think it's a safe guess to assume that the percentage of affected books is similar (since nothing has changed with the mechanism behind the bug). I didn't collect further exact data on it, though. The category bug is the only one where the user can repair the book after registering and the repair will stick.
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A plaintext site without all the javascript and overhead, which just works with any browser, any phone not entirely unable to use the internet,


Yes, this.
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The iPhone 3G is only $49.
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The iPhone 3G is only $49.

Really? You can buy one for $49 without a contract? Care to post a link, I might want one then.
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Really? You can buy one for $49 without a contract? Care to post a link, I might want one then.


FYI: the latest iOS for 3G is 4.2.1 - there will be no more updates for this device. (not the latest 4.3.3 and also not the upcoming 5.0). Beside some functionality of 4.2.1 is missing on a 3G, some apps requires already an iOS greater than 4.2.1 - and we do not know which version of iOS will be the minimum for a bookcrossing app (although we can *assume* that a bookcrossing app will run at least with 4.x probably also with 3.x.)

As Edith knows rubberchicken, she can hint on the posibility to jailbraek an iPhone - so most software limitations can be bypassed... (though I have no experience on this - no need for ;))
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I use an iPad for releasing on the move and it is fine with a Broadband WiFi connection but is often extremely slow on the phone network. So all I want is for the iPhone App to be an iPhone/iPad App and to provide a stripped down release and registration feature.
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Though I utilize an android system on my phone, I agree with you completely. What I really would like in an app (if one is ever released for us non-iPhone users) is a simple way to access my bookshelf so I can release books while I'm out and about. It's not always easy to try remembering which book I dropped off at which bus stop, what intersection that coffeehouse was at, etc.
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Though I utilize an android system on my phone, I agree with you completely. What I really would like in an app (if one is ever released for us non-iPhone users) is a simple way to access my bookshelf so I can release books while I'm out and about. It's not always easy to try remembering which book I dropped off at which bus stop, what intersection that coffeehouse was at, etc.


Totally agree ... tried it on my iPhone through the website the other day but was annoying with having to resize the page, drag it around, etc ... an app for releasing would be excellent - registering not really necessary for me as I usually register at home.
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Really could use an easy way to release books on the go! I use an Android phone, which, while having a great browser, can still be a bit of a pain to use when out and about. A dedicated app with this function would be great.
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Really could use an easy way to release books on the go! I use an Android phone, which, while having a great browser, can still be a bit of a pain to use when out and about. A dedicated app with this function would be great.


I agree totally with this idea!
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Is the ease of releasing on the go.

When releasing on the go I would like to be able to upload a release photo with the release notes, and to use the "default release note" feature to save me time typing.

As I don't have a smartphone yet (but intend to save up for one in the next year or two *grin*) I can't say whether anything else would be of significant importance. I guess easy access to my bookshelf would be nice so that I can preregister the books at home and then just make release notes on the go.

Edited to add:
As other's have mentioned, easy access to my own and other people's wishlists would also be a big plus, to enable taking a quick look while at a bookstore.
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Yes! I once tried to upload a photo from my iPhone, and the site said it wasn't the correct file type or something. I can't remember exactly, as this was quite awhile ago. I'd love it if I could snap a picture of a just-released book in its release location, and easily add it to the notes.
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RE: Photos

I love this idea, thought of it yesterday myself while travelilng. I am also with all the users who want an app that makes it easy to release on-the-go.
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Is the ease of releasing on the go.

When releasing on the go I would like to be able to upload a release photo with the release notes, and to use the "default release note" feature to save me time typing.


What MagRoxYou said. And ditto to some folks above that there should be an Android based app too.

Also would like...
1 - ability to find books released in my area using GPS/map feature
2 - ability to use scanner to register and/or release books
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My initial response of "something that works" probably isn't much help. But I would like an easy way to release my books when I'm out and about, a way to pull up my shelf or my wishlist easily, and a way of sending pictures I take of a release directly into my release note, without having to download them on a computer and then reupload them to BC. Oh-- and an easy way to register books I find when out.

I recall that this is a project that was put on hold with the site switch, and hope that the fact that you're collecting input from us means we're coming in the homestretch for repairs on 2.0. From my viewpoint, I see it as a positive indicator, that the lists of bugs are growing shorter. Of course, I realize many will disagree with me, but frankly I can't see how asking for input is a bad thing. Nowhere does it say that this project is being done instead of other things, only that it's been resumed again.

Any new version of the site, be it plaintext or mobile or whatever, is dependent on a solid main site.
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somehow be uploaded easily when making the release. (Don't know how possible that is.)

And for the phone to pick up the location automatically, since sometimes if we are releasing not in our own hometown, we don't really know the exact location to list an accurate release location.
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Yes, solittletime. Being able to take a picture and upload it along with the release would be a wonderful feature.
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Nothing.

It would be of no use to me, as I don't own a "smartphone"*.

Nonetheless:
some toy for a minority of rich people


THAT is ridiculous. These have gone far beyond being "toys" for "rich people". They are hugely popular among people with ordinary incomes, and are, to all intents and purposes, necessary tools for a lot of business people and professionals.

Your needs/wants may differ from theirs, but that's no reason to insult and denigrate people who DO want such an app.

*In quotes because I think it's silly to impute intelligence to an inanimate object
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some toy for a minority of rich people
THAT is ridiculous.


I'm tempted to disagree. Although many people in the Western Countries use smartphones and their apps, and those in the Western Countries are still, by far, the majority of BC-members, there is a much bigger market out there of the less fortunate with growing access to the internet but very limited bandwidth and financial resources, for whom a text-only/light version might be quite more interesting. They are probably a less interesting market for BC, but not a minority.

ETA: I'm leaving out the people in Western Countries who can't or won't spend the money on a smartphone, as my point is mainly covering countries such as India, China and other rapidly developing countries. There is still a big group of those in the Western Countries, although they seem to be considered a rarity amongst their peers ;)
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RE: Nothing.

some toy for a minority of rich people

THAT is ridiculous. These have gone far beyond being "toys" for "rich people". They are hugely popular among people with ordinary incomes, and are, to all intents and purposes, necessary tools for a lot of business people and professionals.

I'm well aware of the fact that if I switched to a contract with an iPhone that would cost me at least about 1100 EUR over a course of two years, while replacing my current phone which would have worked well with the old plaintext site (when it still was really plaintext) with some new which would do the job I need it to do, plus the two years contract for mobile internet access, would result in about 300 EUR during the same time.

I know a few people who have iPhones, and I see that the main reason to buy an iPhone instead of something cheaper which would do the job just as well is that the iPhone has become a status symbol. You just have to have the original iPhone, it's not about functionality, it's about being part of the elite. And of course, if the choice is to catch up with the others by buying either an iPhone or a Mercedes, the iPhone is the sensible choice.

There are lots of technical reasons to choose another phone in case you just need something like that - people deliberately choose to ignore them, though. Some time ago there was a great article about how many iPhone owners defend the quirks of their gadget in what almost resembles the Stockholm syndrome.

The most sensible reason for the iPhone actually seems to be the availability of apps - but that's just the point I address here. If companies like BC prefer to serve the iPhone clientel, this is just taking out people who prefer to spend their money e.g. on books, travels or decent food instead of expensive mobile gadgets - and kind of forcing more people into the arms of Apple.
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If companies like BC prefer to serve the iPhone clientel, this is just taking out people who prefer to spend their money e.g. on books, travels or decent food instead of expensive mobile gadgets - and kind of forcing more people into the arms of Apple.

I'd have to agree there: Apple's vendor lock-in is already bad enough when it's just them doing it to themselves but most of the companies making Apps are then not making a sensible mobile site that just works in most mobile browsers, thus shutting out everybody who hasn't jumped on the Apple bandwagon. (Or handcart. Where are we going again? ;-)

Then there's indeed the choice of iPhone or Android? Or both? And possibly a mobile site and/or the lightweight plaintext version that lots of people have been asking for... That's a lot of code to maintain.

I'm not against BC making an App, far from it, but given that resources are limited and there's obviously plenty of work still to do on the core business, with the one year anniversary of BC2.0-beta coming up, please choose wisely.
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Then there's indeed the choice of iPhone or Android? Or both? And possibly a mobile site and/or the lightweight plaintext version that lots of people have been asking for... That's a lot of code to maintain.

On that front...

I'm not really up to date on how iPhone development works, but from what I've seen you need some kind of XML feed or webservice for it.

Might be a good idea to turn this into a generic well-documented BookCrossing API that's open to the public, so others can develop their own frontends, be it a lightweight version or a swahili version. :-)
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Sorry, but it's everybodys own choice what he or she is spending money for. And I know a lot of people, having an Smartphone - including me - an we have a normal income. I also know people with a low income, having a Smartphone in an installment payment.

If an iPhone or another Smartphone, if an App is created for one of it, the other will follow.

And - by the way - in other countries iPhones are much cheaper than in Germany ;-)
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You always say what I am thinking!
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RE: Nothing.

I agree with you, mojosmom. I had countless problems with phones I'd purchased from my provider over the years and finally decided it was time to switch companies (the service had been atrocious as well). My new service is not only cheaper, but provides many more "perks" and my new android phone (as I was a new subscriber) cost $0.01. That's right, one penny (thank you, Amazon.com).

I agree that it is ridiculous to make such blanket statements about smartphone owners or bookcrossers in general. It may be one person's opinion that a BC app is unnecessary but that does not necessitate insulting those of us who would enjoy a BC app. Personally, I've not experienced a single problem with the BC website and would love for a new BC app to be made available for all smartphones. After all, it's not as though the BC app is going to be a REQUIREMENT, it's simply an available tool for those who wish to utilize it. Even if 95% of the BC population did not use smartphones, where's the harm in creating an app for the 5% who do? Would it have been logical for someone to tell the creators of BookCrossing not to bother creating this website since so much of the world's population doesn't have access to the internet?
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But I do have a handheld, and for that I would love if there was just a mobile version of BC.

Though in the future I most certanly will have an android phone, so I would like to be able to release things while i'm in the wild. And be able to access my bookshelf. Just make it easy to release and journal things, then I think I'd be satisfied.

For a mobile version of BC though I'd like to see the forums in a simple mode.
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I'd much rather see a mobile version of the site as well. I have a Blackberry, and don't plan on ever getting an iPhone. Mobile sites are fantastic when they work on all phones instead of just one.

If I had to give a wishllist for an app, I'd say a quick release feature that could pinpoint where you are, or just ease of releasing, would be most important. I also would be interested if there's a way to have a feed of recently released/recently found like with Twitter and Facebook.

Edited to add not a must-have, but a cool would-be feature:

Blackberry phones have the ability to scan QR barcode (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code), which are bar codes that you scan with your phone to add information quickly. I'm not sure if iPhones and Androids have this feature, but it's one of the coolest things about my BB. If there was a way to add a barcode sticker as well as the regular label with the BCID numbers, this would be a cool way to be able to access the book quicker than typing in the BCID. Not much quicker, but maybe it's the tech geek in me coming out. :) And in a perfect world, people who aren't already members could scan this code and be taken automatically to make an Anonymous Entry and be able to sign up afterward.

My $0.2...

*edited again for clarity of thought.
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I'd much rather see a mobile version of the site as well. I have a Blackberry, and don't plan on ever getting an iPhone. Mobile sites are fantastic when they work on all phones instead of just one.


I agree. I have an iPhone, but I find that generally the apps are useless. Also, if you create an app instead of a good mobile site, you limit the services to people with a phone that allows apps.
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I release using an iPad and it is very slow on the contract as stated above. So really as much of what we can have of the main site, but faster, is that possible. I can see how useful the above suggestion of being able to add a location photo would be if using an iPhone or android phone, would add a great added dimension.

I think it is worth mentioning also, what a tremendous marketing opportunity for Bookcrossing an app would be. I think it could bring Bookcrossing to many more iPhone app users who currently would not have heard about it. After all Bookcrossing is much more something that is done on the move than at a computer.

Brilliant, I really hope this app will be available very soon. I am happy to have a copy to test on iPad when it is ready.

Karen
LongNeckBooks
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I think you bring up an excellent point! Just having the app available in the app store/market is advertising BookCrossing. And the more BCers we have, the better! I also like the point you made about BookCrossing being something that is done on the go rather than sitting at a computer. I find I rarely leave my house with more than 1 book to release as I won't be able to remember all the details of my releases at the end of the day if I have 3 or 4. Especially since I recently moved and am not yet familiar with the new area.
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I'm one of those who will be very glad to see some version of a plaintext/mobile site return.
Don't let that stop you from developing apps, of course... as long as we get a simpler version of the site back eventually, too. Not just for users of mobile devices, but also for those on ancient hardware and/or slow connections (think third world countries!)

So: thanks for keeping that on the to-do list as well.
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Which would also improve your access for those with visual impairments.
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Mostly I find myself wanting to register and release a book quickly when I'm mobile, not so much more than that. So the ability to assign a number and release is my priority.

I do also occasionally want to access the forums on the run since I need to know what my release challenges expect of me that week :) An easy way to get there and navigate would be great.

Currently when I'm mobile I use my Blackberry, my ipod touch, or my Kindle to release a book quickly if I don't have any pre-numbered labels with me. None of them are really super friendly, but using my browser on the Blackberry is probably easiest. The Kindle isn't really meant for that kind of use and doesn't even have number keys :(. The ipod touch, not too bad, but then I need to be at a wi-fi hotspot.

I like the idea of marketing that someone mentioned. Along those lines, maybe highlighting the "hunting" aspect of BC would be cool. "A book was just released "here", with location, etc.
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I'd love to be able to make comfortably release notes when on the go!
I'm either on an iPad (if I plan to be able to be online), or my really old iPhone (no contract, just pre-pay, so no net unless I find a hotspot), and I'd love an iPhone and iPad apps that were fast to use, and with the plain functions easy to find. Mostly: make releases. Add some captures. Search for books nearby. Add books to wishlist, view other people's wishlists (this would be especially awesome when in a second hand bookstore, and wondering if a friend or five had a specific book on their wishlist).
Oh, and a specific page where to keep notes, where to copy and paste them from comfortably.

Goodreads has a decent iPhone app, perhaps something like that would work. I sometimes use its search to see who was the author of something, or to review what others have thought of a book before I buy it.
Or, would it perhaps be possible to join forces with Goodreads, and add a "Bookcrossing" tab in their app, for accessing your profile and releasing books? That would be awesome too.
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As I don't own a smartphone nor have any desire to purchase anything that makes calling people a secundary function on what is supposedly a telephone..

But I would expect it to have the main functions of registering, journaling and releasing in a simple, low-data, fast manner. It would be nice to be able to visit the forums on it I suppose, for those who are still quite active on them. Wishlist availability would make shopping for your friends easier, instead of printing out a list. Also, I would expect it to work on all platforms (Android, iOS, etc).

Other than that, I do agree on the sentiment of 'let's make sure we have a well-working website which can also be light on the traffic as well'. Emphasis on well-working. If creating an app helps in meeting that goal, you got my blessing!
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about accessing my bookshelf, especially my wishlist. Every time I am at a used bookstore, or the library book sale, I am frustrated with how small my phone's screen is when I try to verify whether a book is on my wishlist or not through the browser function. It means either paging through my (very long) wishlist to find the book or buying the book based on my faulty memory, only to find that I already have the book on my groaning bookshelves or it was never on my list in the first place.

Other than that, just an app that would make it easy to release a book while out and about would be helpful. The location finder someone mentioned when you don't quite know where you are (tied into the phone's GPS, I assume) would be valuable as well.
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May add "geocaching" type fun for hunting for wild releases, if you could include your GPS data as on option for releasing.
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that is a very good idea and I would second the motion to add this feature
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- a clean app without much whistle and bells with following functionality

Basic functionality:

+ registering of books (including predefined templates for the initial journal)
+ releasing books (including predefined templates for the release note)
+ journaling books you've found (including predefined templates for the journal entry)
+ taking a picture from within the app while releasing or journaling a book and/or selecting a photo from the iPhones Photoroll - so you can add a picture directly at the spot (and yes, I see this as a basic functionality, adding pictures to releasenotes and journalentry should be a smooth as possible)

About the predefined templates: other as on the regular site, more then one template for each procedure makes sense in this way, that you could create templates in different language before going abroad and so select the template in the respective language at the country you are.

About being abroad: if the device has no internet access (dataroaming off), the complete procedure of registering and especially releasing and journaling on the spot should be possible offline and completely queued until the next time you have online access again (mobile or WiFi).


Bonus feature:

+ a releasemap to show me the OBCZ around me, with a possibility to define distance. This really could work, as worldwide we are about to fill in the adresses of our OBCZ, so that map could be quite accurate. And BookCrossers love to visit OBCZs ;)

+ the usual social connections (twitter, facebook, etc) for quick announcements of your release or journal entry (I suppose this is a must nowadays, although I'm still not on any of them)


Some more Bonus features:

+ maybe also a releasemap to show me the "releases around me" with a possibility to define distance, although this would not be satisfied due the fact that released books never are a long time at the spot released. Furthermore, with only 10-20% of journaling released books, the system would never know that those books are not on the spot anymore.

+ maybe a social map with "BookCrossers" around me... and before the privacy cries out loud: there has to be a checkbox "show my location on the bookcrossers Map" - DEFAULT OFF - so, those who don't care about privacy, can switch that checkbox on. I think such an option can become quite handy on meetups and conventions (having that checkbox on only for this period of time). Still, it MUST BE A OPT IN which DEFAULT TO OFF.

+ maybe, related to the social map I just mentioned, a kind of instant message system through BookCrossing.com (BookCrosser A sends a message to BookCrosserB who get a that message as Pushnotification. Of course, there are tons of app out there with this functionality, but then again, not everyone is connected at the same message system. the advantage for bookcrossers would be to be all on the same "network", texting with no additional costs, on all devices running the BCApp - and even on the "normal" website. Once again, this should be an OPT IN with DEFAULT OFF.



(And yes, I don't see any value of access to the forum in an App for smartphones. It should really focus on the basics of BookCrossing: registering, releasing, journaling. Including creating pictures. On an iPad /Tablet this would be something else. But then again, on an iPad/Tablet you just can use the site like on a PC oder a Mac - so there is not really a need for a specific (universal) app).

An now something most people don't like to mention:
An App like this should exist as a free Version (Basic functionality + Ads) and as a Payed Version (Basic functionality + Bonus functions and NO ads). The price of a paid version will depend on the usability and functionality of the app and should be orientated at the market of app. (No, I will not tell what I would be willing to pay ;)) After all, there is a Site to support...

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+ a releasemap to show me the OBCZ around me, with a possibility to define distance. (...)

+ maybe also a releasemap to show me the "releases around me" with a possibility to define distance (...)

Both of these would make really neat features on the website, too.

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+ a releasemap to show me the OBCZ around me, with a possibility to define distance. (...)

+ maybe also a releasemap to show me the "releases around me" with a possibility to define distance (...)


I like these ideas - I am a geocacher and love their cgeo app which ash just this.




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You have some really interesting ideas, of which I can see why they'd be fun/practical. I'm also a bit surprised by how elaborate they are, I kind of figured BC would be taking a more simple route really, not too many bells and whistles, and just get the basics out there first. That'll be a challenge in itself I expect. Some of the things you suggest aren't even available on the main site just yet. I'd think that'd need to be built first. The more complicated this app becomes, the more developing and support it needs. More investments. Might make it less feasible to coax into existence and maintain.
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I agree with Wyando on, I think, everything.

When travelling I have been wanting an easy way to journal and release so those are the most basic things that need to work for me. I'd probably would need to register too and find released books or OBCZ in the area would be great. Basicially what Wyando said so eloquently.

I am not extreamly rich and I feel no need to tell everyone I have an iPhone. But I will never go back to anything like what I had before.

- a clean app without much whistle and bells with following functionality

Basic functionality:

+ registering of books (including predefined templates for the initial journal)
+ releasing books (including predefined templates for the release note)
+ journaling books you've found (including predefined templates for the journal entry)
+ taking a picture from within the app while releasing or journaling a book and/or selecting a photo from the iPhones Photoroll - so you can add a picture directly at the spot (and yes, I see this as a basic functionality, adding pictures to releasenotes and journalentry should be a smooth as possible)

About the predefined templates: other as on the regular site, more then one template for each procedure makes sense in this way, that you could create templates in different language before going abroad and so select the template in the respective language at the country you are.

About being abroad: if the device has no internet access (dataroaming off), the complete procedure of registering and especially releasing and journaling on the spot should be possible offline and completely queued until the next time you have online access again (mobile or WiFi).


Bonus feature:

+ a releasemap to show me the OBCZ around me, with a possibility to define distance. This really could work, as worldwide we are about to fill in the adresses of our OBCZ, so that map could be quite accurate. And BookCrossers love to visit OBCZs ;)

+ the usual social connections (twitter, facebook, etc) for quick announcements of your release or journal entry (I suppose this is a must nowadays, although I'm still not on any of them)


Some more Bonus features:

+ maybe also a releasemap to show me the "releases around me" with a possibility to define distance, although this would not be satisfied due the fact that released books never are a long time at the spot released. Furthermore, with only 10-20% of journaling released books, the system would never know that those books are not on the spot anymore.

+ maybe a social map with "BookCrossers" around me... and before the privacy cries out loud: there has to be a checkbox "show my location on the bookcrossers Map" - DEFAULT OFF - so, those who don't care about privacy, can switch that checkbox on. I think such an option can become quite handy on meetups and conventions (having that checkbox on only for this period of time). Still, it MUST BE A OPT IN which DEFAULT TO OFF.

+ maybe, related to the social map I just mentioned, a kind of instant message system through BookCrossing.com (BookCrosser A sends a message to BookCrosserB who get a that message as Pushnotification. Of course, there are tons of app out there with this functionality, but then again, not everyone is connected at the same message system. the advantage for bookcrossers would be to be all on the same "network", texting with no additional costs, on all devices running the BCApp - and even on the "normal" website. Once again, this should be an OPT IN with DEFAULT OFF.



(And yes, I don't see any value of access to the forum in an App for smartphones. It should really focus on the basics of BookCrossing: registering, releasing, journaling. Including creating pictures. On an iPad /Tablet this would be something else. But then again, on an iPad/Tablet you just can use the site like on a PC oder a Mac - so there is not really a need for a specific (universal) app).

An now something most people don't like to mention:
An App like this should exist as a free Version (Basic functionality + Ads) and as a Payed Version (Basic functionality + Bonus functions and NO ads). The price of a paid version will depend on the usability and functionality of the app and should be orientated at the market of app. (No, I will not tell what I would be willing to pay ;)) After all, there is a Site to support...


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I really like these ideas. I would also add bookscanning, or scanning in the ISBN to get the data on the book. I find this to be a really nice feature on goodreads mobile and it would be nice if that worked on the bookcrossing app.
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Basic functionality:

+ registering of books (including predefined templates for the initial journal)
+ releasing books (including predefined templates for the release note)
+ journaling books you've found (including predefined templates for the journal entry)
+ taking a picture from within the app while releasing or journaling a book and/or selecting a photo from the iPhones Photoroll - so you can add a picture directly at the spot (and yes, I see this as a basic functionality, adding pictures to releasenotes and journalentry should be a smooth as possible)


I second these ones!!

In my opinion, it would be convenient to be able to access the forum on an app as well.
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As there is already a lot of offtopic discussion about this, I'll add my 2 cents too:

1. Why iPhone?
This has nothing to do with "rich" or "fanboy" or whatever. Fact is, that the iPhone has become a global marketplayer in the world with a very huge Appstore market. In fact, I think that BookCrossing already missed a real opportunity, as it should have been visible at that Appstore from the very beginning. But better late, then never.

And although a plaintext / webbased version of the site would do the thing on an iPhone too, it would not be the same usability (except if you build an extra site with webkit, which offers the same usability. But that has to be developed too, where as plaintext is "just" a CSS thingy).

The other things is, Webbased / Plaintext versions always needs an internet connection. That's going be expensive, when you are abroad. With an App, and hopefully the programmer will keep that in mind, you can just release at the spot, take your pictuere, and everything will be queued until you have internet access again. You want feel the difference then ;)

2. Only iPhone?
Of course not. But the iPhone market is the biggest at the moment and it seems that going from a functional iPhone App to an Andriod version is not that difficult anymore. So once an iPhone App is proofed and running, the andriod version (c)(sh)ould be follow quite soon.

3. Webbased version / Plaintext
Something we do need as there are still (*veg* ;)) other devices and slow computers out there. And as said before: the biggest disadvantage of webbased solutions is, that you always need an internet connection to use that solution. Abroad you may not able to do this (at least not at expensive costs). So specific apps for specific smartphone do make sense IMHO (well as long as they also can operate in an offline mode).

4. APIs
This would be something nice, not only for Smartphones but in overal. (Experienced) BookCrossers could create all sort of things based on BookCrossing. Games, specific challenges, utilities, statistices, etc.
Still, BookCrossing.com itself should offer their app - at least to get some pennies to pay off the cost of this wonderful site...

As said, just my point of view I'd like to share :)

*removed the off topic word :)
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But the iPhone market is the biggest at the moment


*cough*
No, it's not.

http://bit.ly/lABLvH
January 10, 2011, about US market: 26% had an Android-based phone, ComScore reported Friday. Third-place Apple followed with a 25% share and Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, led the pack with a 33.5% share

http://bit.ly/fzPLiP
February 2nd, 2011
Google's Android market share was 32.9% in Q4 of 2010, passing the iPhone at 30.6%. Microsoft actually sold fewer units than last year. Nokia was relegated to the "others" category. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers are fascinated by Android's 615% annual growth.

April 4th, 2011. A broader look at Apple vs Android market
http://read.bi/hGbEre

And this page http://bit.ly/l2wEvZ
Had this interesting, easily readable chart just a month ago, April 5th
http://bit.ly/kaUQc6

Just from the first ten result when googling 'Marketshare iPhone Android' and it's Dutch equivalent.

Could probably dig a bit deeper, but I'd feel like beating a dead horse ;)

ETA: I don't think the discussion about the platforms is off-topic at all really. Assuming there isn't a huge development team available, choices will have to be made about which part of the market you want to reach first. Marketshare, stability, security, it will all play a part in that decision. Or at least it should.
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*cough*
No, it's not.


Well... it's a point of view, you know. ;)
http://bit.ly/m5xM0P

*removed the off-topic word
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Well... it's a point of view, you know. ;)
http://bit.ly


Fair's fair, I stand corrected in my choice of search terms. (Some of those figures do however live up to the proposed different search terms)

I will however maintain the opinion that making an app specifically for just ONE platform (whichever it is) doesn't seem like a good idea to me. I will also still back up that this is not off-topic ;)
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I will however maintain the opinion that making an app specifically for just ONE platform (whichever it is) doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

I fully agree with this. But you have to start with one as probably you can't create them all at the same time :)

*removed the off topic word :)
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Not something I would use myself, but even so, would rather see some of the "core" problems with the site be focused on first please.

And then something like better forum implementation, before phone apps. etc.

That old adage "trying to run, before we can walk" comes to mind...

Regards

JamesUK
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That old adage "trying to run, before we can walk" comes to mind...


Agreed! This App thing sounds like a good idea, but lets start with a clean function where I can make my release on the park bench, quickly and cleanly make my release notes and keep walking! We can go for bells and whistles a bit later!
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Go Wyando! Dream big! I love it!  I agree with both your posts, the features and the why iphone. You have to start somewhere and I am guessing there are or were some agreements in place prior to the site rebuild that still need to be honored. (funny thing is, Nruce doesn't have an iPhone himself!)

Anyhow, what good would it be to ask for ideas and wishes if we all held back because it seemed like we were asking for too much? If the ideas are good, maybe they can also be applied to the main site.

I expect that an app may cost something, so how about 2 versions: a rather simple, clean, basic FREE one and a more bells and whistles one for purchase?

A feature I really think would be nice for both versions would be a location selection option. Right now, home location shows up in the selection box when you are making a wild release. How about if there's an option to "choose current location" that could switch country, state, city (any that needed switching) according to where you were?  So if I travelled down the road to Summerville it would give me the option to change to current location andwoul only alter the city and pull up the list of release zones there; if I went to another state and city, the app would give the option to use that location. Same for world travel.  I'd like the option to select/choose rather than automatic set because I might be releasing books late , having left them elsewherein my travels.

And while we're dreaming big, someone mentioned bar code scanners for ISBNs. How about if prenumbered  labels could be created with both numeric BCIDs and also with bar codes that could be scanned for quick releasing? Scan and go!


Weird spellings and word choices are courtesy of iPhone. Honest.
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A feature I really think would be nice for both versions would be a location selection option. Right now, home location shows up in the selection box when you are making a wild release. How about if there's an option to "choose current location" that could switch country, state, city (any that needed switching) according to where you were? So if I travelled down the road to Summerville it would give me the option to change to current location andwoul only alter the city and pull up the list of release zones there; if I went to another state and city, the app would give the option to use that location. Same for world travel. I'd like the option to select/choose rather than automatic set because I might be releasing books late , having left them elsewherein my travels.

And while we're dreaming big, someone mentioned bar code scanners for ISBNs. How about if prenumbered labels could be created with both numeric BCIDs and also with bar codes that could be scanned for quick releasing? Scan and go!


I like your thoughts.

And, so far I've downloaded only free aps, but since BookCrossing is my favorite thing to do, I'd pay for an app if I had to.
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ow about if there's an option to "choose current location" that could switch country, state, city (any that needed switching) according to where you were?


As long as this "current location" fits the "country, region, city"-only structure of our Database, yes. Because the current location on an iPhone is more detailed than just "country, region, city" (often include a district).

And yes, forgot about the barcode scanner. I use this al the time, when registering books at my computer. Well, I was used to, with my PC, didn't test it yet with my mac. But that should work too. BCID Labels to scan would indeed a relief...
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..to easily access my shelf
..to be in the German Forum (read and write)
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Right now, when I release a book on my phone, I have to scroll through the cities & release zones. It's really frustrating and inefficient, especially when there are hundreds of cities or zones listed. It would be so much easier if I could type the first couple letters of a city and it would come up. Also, I'd want to be sure I could see the ENTIRE name of the city/zone. Sometimes I have to take my best guess based on the first half of a name.
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Also, basic BC features, register, release,go hunting.
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Easy to release books. Tried to release on my iphone at Singapore airport and got home to find out it hadn't gone through.
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I am using an I-Phone 3G and would be happy to have an app that makes it easy to make release notes on the go. Sometimes I take a couple of books on a trip or on a walk and keep forgetting to which location I released which of them.
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No need for dozens of feature that many bookcrossers will only use once. Just a release app. Maybe the possibility to add a pic but imho, nothing else is really that important. Make it simple, make it working and make it quick ! ;)
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Just a release app.


I do more registering (usually with pre-numbered labels) while I'm out and about using my iPhone, than I do releasing. I mostly wait till I get home to do the actual release notes.

So just a release app wouldn't give me what I want.
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1) Ability to generate BC-codes on the go
2) Capture and release functions
3) Access to one's bookshelf
4) Geotagged release - allowing one to look if there were any releases around where they are
5) Facebook and Twitter sharing
6) Possibility of photo uploads for release (show where I left the book)
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Blackberry app!

I would love a blackberry wild release app. I tried wild releasing with my blackberry and it was very difficult to select a releasezone. Scrolling through the city's and releasezones is almost undoable.
It would be lovely, but I'm not sure if it's makeable, to use gps to select the releasezone, or city at least.
As for now, without any app, it would help greatly if there was a list with the ten most used releasezones, like slots any user can fill with her/his releasezones. That would ease the process of using BC.com on a smartphone I think.

Another thing I would like is an app where I could see wild releases done in the neighbourhood I'm in at that point.

Thinking of that, an OBCZ app would be nice too.
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I'd be happy to have some site things changed/fixed first so I enjoy using and being on the website again.

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What the app should have/do:
- easy releasing, on the spot, by choosing a location from the database. Location services would be nice, but very hard to work with I suppose.
- adding a photo of the release should be easy.
- editing the default release notes should work.
- an option to see recently released books, based on location/GPS, and OBCZs.

For me, the forum and user profiles do not need to be in the app. The opportunity to look at my bookshelf would be a nice to have, as would registering books.
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I want an Android app that can see where I am by GPS and is then able to tell me on Googlemaps where I am in relation to all of the most recent book releases nearby to me. And a button on the app so people can click on it to say that the book is picked up so that other people don't go looking for the book unnecessarily.
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And a button on the app so people can click on it to say that the book is picked up so that other people don't go looking for the book unnecessarily.


Yes, well, good luck with that. Considering how few people even come to the site to journal that they've found a book, the number who would then join, buy an app, and click on that button, will be scarcer than hen's teeth!
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scarcer than hen's teeth!

Oh my goodness! What a fabulous expression! :D
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This will make it easier to catch and release books as well as make posts to the forum section!
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… and then the book should appear, ready for me to make a JE.

An easyier way of registering & releasing books on the iPhone would be "nice to have" too.

Costs: 0,79 €/$ (or free for BCers with wings)
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I have my own account and also my OBCZ account..an easy switch button could be cool to have! Easy access to my shelf, friend's shelves and to register caught and released books! I would be happy to pay for it!
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Well, first off, I'm an Android user, so an Android app would be preferable to me over an iPhone one. But that's beside the point :-)

I'd like the ability to scan barcodes within the app as an easy means of adding books to my shelf. Even though smartphones are great for a lot of things, I think scanning a barcode would be a more elegant solution than typing in ISBN's. Plus, there's something so satisfying about scanning a barcode and having a picture of whatever it is pop up on your screen :-)
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Well, first off, I'm an Android user, so an Android app would be preferable to me over an iPhone one.

I'd like the ability to scan barcodes within the app as an easy means of adding books to my shelf.


I agree with both points! I'd also like it to take advantage of geolocation, so it could automatically record the release or catch point.
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I'm an Android user

I'd like the ability to scan barcodes within the app as an easy means of adding books to my shelf

an option to see recently released books, based on location/GPS, and OBCZs

Great, great points! Top on my list.
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I'm an Android user
Scan barcodes within the app
See recently released books, based on location/GPS, and OBCZs


I would love to see this!

Also, I wouldn't mind a simple text version for easy loading.
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I'm perfectly happy accessing the internet via my BlackBerry if no app is developed. All I want to do is release. Generally, if I'm on the road, I'm not spending time in the fora, and if I'm in one place for more than 3 days, I have access to a laptop so I can "hunt" from there - or if I'm organized, then my release alerts will let me know if books are released in the city I'm travelling in. I did my best with releasing via the web in NYC in February and got all the way to the last step when it kept failing. Since I have a smartphone, I LOVE the idea of taking a picture of my release and uploading it right away to the site along with my release notes instead of waiting until I get back to a computer to do it all. Thanks for asking!!
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- release on the go.
- geotag book when release
- ability to search your current area for released books
- when books release [by phone or online] add a location tag so it is searchable on the iphone
- add books to your bookshelf via barcode [like the Amazon / tesco app]
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I just want to register, journal, release etc without all the tedious scrolling that is currently necessary. The ability to check my wishlist would also be useful. I think you should start small, and make sure the core functions are running smoothly. The fancier features can be added later.

However, I think this should take a back seat until the niggles on the main site have been sorted. Otherwise there's no point in even having an app.
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All I want is a way to search my bookshelf (so if I'm at a shop I can check and see if I have a book at home), perhaps a way to check books on wishlists (same reason) and a way to release books :)
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I would be happy with just a mobile version of the site.
I want to register new books, register found books and release books.
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I would be happy with just a mobile version of the site.
I want to register new books, register found books and release books.


I second that! Hopefully we will have a mobile version shortly .
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Would love to be able to list wild releases in real time, perhaps with a photo showing placement?

And to easily access/update my wishlist so I can use it when shopping at book sales.

Thank you! So glad I just bought an iPhone! I even searched iTunes for a BC app. love this idea.
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As many have mentioned earlier, I would love a BC app where you can register, journal and release books easily. Perhaps even with photos of release spot, if possible. Also, if the "hunting" part (list of wild released books nearby) was available, that would be neat too, so you can search for released books on the go, instead of check at your "regular" computer before heading out.
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I would like fast easy book releasing and registering. Access to my bookshelf and a way to record books I've read. Oh and it would need to work on Android. Please.
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I would prefer to have the original site running better.

But if I had an I phone, i would like a tracking function which connects release-zone with gps-data.
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I would like make release not when i llet a book ...

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What a great idea, I will be grateful for any way I can use a BC app on my ipad, will it work on these or only the phones?
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I can use a BC app on my ipad, will it work on these or only the phones?

Even if the iPhone App is not an universal app, you can run that one on an iPad (the other way round is not always sure, an App specific for the iPad will not run on the iPhone). I didn't encounter yet an iPhone App which could not run on the iPad.
Although, if not universal, it will be optimized for the screen of the iPhone, but you can use the 2x button to enlarge the whole thing. Then it's not shiny anymore, but still usable...

(Universal App = runs on both systems with full use of the screen and possibilities)
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I don't have an iPhone but I do have an iPad 2 (on loan from my place of employment) and would love a BookCrossing app!

Here are my lists.

Functionality I definitely need:
1. Ability to view a book's journal
2. Ability to make a journal entry/catch (including the "left in the wild" checkbox)
3. Ability to make both a controlled or wild release
4. Ability to search wish lists (my own and others')
5. Ability to modify my own wish list (add books/remove books/mark as wish granted)
6. Ability to perform advanced search on bookshelves (my own and others')
7. Ability for the system to remember my default release note entry and default registration journal entry
8. Ability to log on as any user (i.e. I can log in as me or I could log into my OBCZ shelf--it wouldn't just accept one username, store it, and then never let me change it) and log out if I want to switch user accounts

Awesome things I would love to have:
1. Ability to take photo and immediately have it added to my current journal entry/release note entry
2. Ability for the device to know my current location and show me a map of recently wild released books near where I am at that moment then send me to the internet/mapping site to get directions
3. Ability to take a photo of a barcode and have the system recognize it and find the proper book when registering
4. Ability to take a photo of a BCID and have the system recognize it and find the exact book for making a journal entry
5. Ability for the device to know my current location (down to the city/town) and put that in automatically when registering/releasing a book
6. Ability for the device to know my current location and show me a map of nearby OBCZs (including extra info like when they're open/where they're located inside a business) then send me to the internet/mapping site to get directions
7. Ability for the device to know my current location, show me a map of the surrounding area noting places I (or other BookCrossers) have previously released books, and noting (maybe displaying in a different color) if I've had catches from any of those releases so I can find possibly great places to release
8. Ability to read & post on forums
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Been thinking more about this, especially since I've been forced by circumstances to use my phone for sites which do have apps. Even when something's advertised as a "mobile version" there's still differences. Unless you go to the actual site via a browser on the phone, what you get on your phone is different from what you get at the site.

Whatever it ends up being, I just hope the learning curve isn't too great and that there's an intuitive feel for the app (which is something the current site sometimes lacks, and probably still lack when fixes are implemented before work begins on the app.)
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I am an iPhone user (3G), and would love to be able to release books as well as access my bookshelf (this would be most helpful when I am at the library or bookstore and can't remember which of the 5000 registered books I've read or own). I would also like to access my full profile AND (since this is a wish list), be able to read and reply to threads.

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