Wallachia 2.0

A new version of the Wallachia app should be in the App Store shortly. It requires iOS 14, but the previous version should keep working fine until you upgrade. 🀞🏻

Get it now on the App Store.

Before I run down the features, I want to thank everyone who’s been reading and supporting me this past year. It’s been a ton of work but it’s been incredibly fulfilling. With this version finished, I’m looking forward to getting back to writing. (Though I’m sure there will be some bug fixes to do.)

New in 2.0, roughly in order of importance:

🎧Audiobooks have been removed from the app. This removes a lot of programming complexity for me. I don’t think a ton of people were using the audiobooks in the app, but if you subscribe to the podcast you’ll get the audio chapters the same day the prose versions go up.

πŸ“šThe app now includes a library of “Essential Vampire Classics“: Lord Byron’s fragment of a novel, John William Polidori’s The Vampyre, J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There are many more pre-Dracula stories I could include, but this will get you started.

The books are from Project Gutenberg with a lot of formatting applied. I think they look fantastic but please let me know if you run across, say, a Latin word that hasn’t been italicized or a paragraph that’s not indented.

πŸ†•Serialized classics. Starting with Carmilla, I’ll be releasing new chapters of classic books every week (assuming I can keep that schedule). Carmilla will run for a few months, then I’ll set up a new one.

πŸ””Notifications can be configured per-book. If you grant access to the app, you’ll see a bell icon in the toolbar for each book. You won’t get notified for books you haven’t opened, and you can turn them off for any book you don’t want notifications for using that icon.

πŸ”’Handy page counter. Ebook readers tend to have a way to tell you how many pages are left in your current chapter. The trick was designing a way to show this without resorting to junking up the page with a progress bar. I reached out to Cat City Creative for some help designing ornaments for the page and we settled on a nice solution. The bottom-right page corner now features a little design that incorporates a countdown showing you how many pages are left in the chapter.

πŸ›Front matter pages are now properly numbered using roman numerals, and the book’s regular page numbers start with one after the front matter ends.

Elsewhere, every single page has been redesigned in some way or another, though you may not notice. The landscape view on iPhones has been streamlined to give you an extra couple of lines of text per page. The tables of contents are popovers again. The reader poll pages should work more reliably now (I hope—these are hard to test).

Under the hood, the entire app is now written using SwiftUI. I did decide to move to a simple fade animation for page turns rather than the skeuomorphic page flip the old version had. Part of this was necessity. The animation was provided by UIPageViewController but I didn’t want to embed that, and partly also I think this is just cleaner.

Somewhere on my to-do list is the idea of doing a two-page view for landscape iPads, but it’s honestly not a high priority. I’d like to do some more work to speed up the layout/typesetting process, but it’s improved over version one at least.