OpenBKZ – alpha v0.4.6 – Released!

It’s been a while since I released a new version of OpenBKZ, and I think it is about time. Oh, and I made a logo!

OpenBKZ Logo v0Unfortunately, as many of you know I haven’t been able to work on OpenBKZ as much as I would like recently. However, as the semester (of my senior year!) of college starts, I decided to spend the first couple of weeks making a few advancements. I recently launched, as well as applied to Y Combinator with the idea (along with Robb and Cole). Synaptitude’s first product, dubbed AlphaBKZ, looks at analytics for publishers, advertisers, etc. OpenBKZ, as many of my regular readers know, is the open source version of the software (that doesn’t use an EEG or eye tracking).

You may be asking yourself what’s new?

Improved Search by Chapter

Prior to this update, the application guessed where the chapters were after the first 10 pages (for preface, table of contents, etc.) Now, the application searches for the term chapter, and only when it appears once on the current, previous and prior page. Potentially, this could cause issues if a chapter is less than thirty lines long. However, I find that highly unlikely and based off my, admittedly minimal testing I could not find an issue.

Search by Term

OpenBKZ – alpha version v0.4.2, was the first version to include search by term, but the most recent update provides arrows to the lines where the term(s) are located on, then bolds and underlines the terms.

OpenBKZ - Find Term

I found this to be less intrusive than highlighting the term, however that is a possibility and may be altered in the future. The search function can also find every term in the entire book, a set number of pages, or the next page (plus any number of terms on the given page). Although important for future expansions, currently the search by term only works for the first instance of a given term.

Change Font Size & Style

Many people have issues seeing or prefer smaller font, so the most recent release enables those to be edited. However, the current font size does not effect the number of lines per page, nor does it scale well with the background (so be warned). I would like to work on this for the next release, as the ascetics in the program are heavily lacking.

Further, many users prefer different font types. My personal favorite is Arial, but a couple others that are popular are Times New Roman or Helvetica. That’s why I decided to make 10 different font types available, to keep it simple there is now a font size & style section on the right side of the application.

OpenBKZ - Font - Style - Example

Nothing I found was negatively impacted by this change and at the same time ascetic appeal enhanced significantly. Thus, I am pretty happy with this upgrade, especially since many eBook readers lack this feature.

Thumb Back

One of the features requested by Robb, was a “thumb back” button. We have all been flipping through a book either seeing what happens or searching for a particular section. To do this, we often stick one of our fingers on the current page we are on and search through the book. Although this seems pretty straight forward (and is easy to implement), it turns out most eBook readers lack this capability.

Hence, the creation of the “Back to Page” button, which when clicked will return you to the page you last bookmarked. I also recently added the “Whoops!” button (which replaced the “Back to Page” upon being clicked), incase you clicked on the wrong page.

whoops button

The “Whoops!” button functionality is not currently downloadable, but is in Github repository (if you wish to compile it). The really cool part about this feature (for me at least) is it is something most eBook readers don’t have, as well as reality (I hate when I lost my page in my book).


Although this is a small improvement, it was required. Now every time the Bookmark or “Back to Page” buttons are clicked they change the text, such as Bookmark -> Bookmarked!. This may seem like a small improvement, and it is, but it improves user-application interaction significantly.

For the Next Update

  • Improved font scaling.
  • Improved search term functionality (every time you click enter you go to a new term)
  • Enable “next” and “prev” buttons to work on pages, chapters, and terms.
  • Add a dark background, and light background for the page, to look like a book or a pdf reader.
  • Incorporate logo.
  • Add feedback for add notes button, potentially improve statistics viewing (via Python or Java Script).

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