Verbatim 2: Free Web App

Published on Thursday, July 14, 2011 in , , , , , , ,

Verbatim 2 screenshot2 years ago, I released a free iPhone/iPod Touch web app called Verbatim, which was designed to help you memorize texts of any lengths word-for-word, such as monologues, poems, presentations, scripture, scripts, song lyrics, and speeches.

After hearing the feedback to the previous version, today I'm announcing the release of Verbatim 2.0! Yes, it's still free. Now it's easier than ever to use, and available for a wider array of mobile devices.

Verbatim was inspired by J. J. Hayes' post, How To Memorize A Poem. It's a brief article, but the I've found the technique to be very effective.

The most frequent complaint about the previous version was the requirement that a custom file had to be prepared and hosted remotely for it to work. In the new version, I've done away with that completely. Now, entering the piece is as simple as cutting and pasting.

The need to access the remote file also created a second obstacle, you had to have an online connection for it to work. Thanks to the new method of entering the text, as well as a few other programming techniqes, Verbatim 2 is completely self-contained and can now be used offline! It never needs to access any other files from anywhere, and only requires online access if you desire to visit the links in the manual.

The simplest way to use Verbatim offline is to download it from the above link, put it in your Dropbox account, sync up your mobile device's Dropbox app, and then run Verbatim in the app. I've only tried this myself in iOS devices, but it should work in a wide variety of mobile devices.

The following video will give you a more complete look at the updated version of Verbatim:

You can download an MPEG4 version of this video for offline viewing at: http://tinyurl.com/v2video

Verbatim was completely re-written in jQuery Mobile 1.0 beta 1, so that a wider array of mobile devices and desktops could run it. Many of the supported platforms are mentioned in the video tutorial above, and in the manual, with more detailed information available about supported platforms here.

If you're inspired to start memorizing a piece of text, there's plenty of good starting points in the related resources page of the manual. There's also many good poetry posts right here on Grey Matters. I've tried to cover different styles, from classic to modern to funny, and just downright bizarre.

I'd love to hear if Verbatim helps you, as well as answer any questions, problems, and suggestions in the comments.

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19 Response to Verbatim 2: Free Web App

1:51 PM

Thanks for Verbatim! I switched from an iPod touch to an android phone and I missed it.
You said in your post to download Verbatim from the above link and put it in your Dropbox account (which I think is awesome). I'm not seeing the download link or I'm missing it. Thanks again for your site. I added it to my Google reader on my phone so I never miss a new post.

2:59 PM

You're welcome!

I apologize for the confusion. The easiest way to save it is just use your browser's "Save As..." selection (Just save it as a regular HTML file).

Although depending on your mobile device, you may have to do this with your desktop, set it up in your dropbox account that way, then sync with your mobile device.

Below is the direct link to Verbatim, which you can use to right-click and select "Download Linked File":


9:29 AM

This is what's happening;
- I drag the url: "bplist00Ń SURL_ /http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23420016/Verbatim2.html"
to my desktop. The file appears as: "Verbatim 2.0".
- I open my DropBox account and upload the file, which appears as: "Verbatim 2.0.webloc".
When I click this link while in Dropbox opens to a url: "https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/Verbatim%202.0.webloc?w=d5892ef8". The content on this site is simply: "bplist00Ń SURL_ /http://dl.dropbox.com/u/23420016/Verbatim2.html

10:21 AM

You're dragging the URL, which is only the web address. "Webloc" is short for "web location" - the file contains the address of the program and nothing else.

You need to download the file itself as an HTML or Source file, depending on your desktop browser. Check your browser's documentation on how to do this.

When done correctly, you should see a file on your desktop that's called "Verbatim2.html", and about 385 KB in size.

If it's significantly smaller than that, you never saved the full file.

3:17 AM

I tried to run a html file with jquery mobile by linking to the .css and .js but that did not work.

did you copy the full code into script tags? it looks like it.

5:42 AM

I wanted Verbatim to be a full stand-alone program with no outside dependencies, so anyone could grab that program, run it anywhere, and it wouldn't get lost.

Everything Verbatim needs, including the html, the css, jquery, jquery mobile, and every last graphic (in base64) is all in that 1 file.

To save space, gain a slight speed advantage and discourage tampering, I compressed the code, too.

You should be able to use jquery mobile via outside links, however. You need to make sure your links are correct and that you're installing jquery itself first (jquery mobile doesn't already include jquery).

9:58 PM

Could you please consider releasing an official app for the iphone/itouch/ipad please? No one is making a memorization program out there just for memorizing lyrics to songs and this is perfect. But I can't always connect to the network/internet to reach it. And it'd be cleaner to just have it as an application. Thanks SO much. Please do this as I'd BUY it and I'm sure hundreds or even thousands of others would too...

2:12 AM

Unfortunately, I don't have an Apple developer account, so I can't turn it into a native app.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to use Verbatim 2 offline:

1) Download a free browser, such as Terra ( http://itunes.apple.com/app/terra-web-browser-tabs-full/id394704159?mt=8 ) or iLunaScape ( http://itunes.apple.com/app/ilunascape-3-web-browser/id380065805?mt=8 ), both of which let you save web pages into their app.

2) When you have internet access, get to Verbatim 2, and save it to the browser app.

3) Once you've done that, you'll be able to access the browser app anytime you want to, even without an internet connection.

This is how I use it on my WiFi-only iPad when I don't have a connection.

11:05 AM

What a fanastic application! This was extremely helpful for me in delivering a speech.

7:22 AM

I was successful a year ago mounting the file into dropbox.
These last two days I've spent literally hours trying several browsers to get the appropriate files into dropbox.
- I load Verbatim 2 page in my browser.
- Enter and save the text.
- Go to Dropbox and open the file which appears correct with text.
- Then I go to Dropbox and/or a browser via iPhone.
- The Verbatim file opens without text.
I lost count of how many times and how many ways I've tried this.
Can you help?

7:38 AM

I apologize for the confusion, rydmn.

Verbatim saves its text in the memory of whatever browser you're using when you enter the text.

For example, if you're on a desktop, and you save text in Verbatim while using the Chrome browser. If you try opening Verbatim on the same computer but with another browser, say, Firefox, you'll find that the text is missing. However, when you go back to Chrome, the saved text will be ready for you.

If you want to test yourself on the iPhone browser, you'll need to enter it via the iPhone browser.

For iOS, what I do is generally copy and paste the text I want to use into Notes.app. Setting this up in Notes gives you a good chance to set up the line breaks the way you want them, too.

Once you have the poem set up the way you want it in Notes, select and copy the text, start up Verbatim 2 in the iPhone browser, and then paste the text in and save it as you normally would.

After that, any time you want to practice with that text, it will be there in the in the browser waiting for you!

Another nice thing about using Notes to help, is that you can save all your favorite speeches, lyrics, poems, etc., is that you can simply go to Notes to switch between them as needed.

3:01 PM

Hi! The links you've provided to verbatim2 don't seem to work.
Any other way to use this? Many thanks!

Dropbox error:

Something went wrong. Don't worry, your files are still safe and the Dropboxers have been notified. Check out our Help Center and forums for help, or head back to home.

12:51 PM

This is a fantastic tool! I read what you wrote about saving everything as a text file modified so that you can quickly copy and paste. However, if you are taking "wishes" I would like a way to save the text in the tool as a standalone so that I can save and access it anywhere using the Dropbox idea. Copying and pasting in a phone does not work so easily. Anyway, thanks so much!!!

6:26 PM

Hi! I love this app, although I have one little problem that I don't think anyone else has mentioned.

I'd like to use it on my PC browser, rather than my iPhone, as it's easier to sit with a guitar and use the program to memorize songs.

However, it only seems to remember one song at a time, whereas the implication is that it should be able to remember a number of files that one can then choose from.

I've tried it in four different browsers with the same result. To enter a second song, I have to delete/overwrite the first one.

It's not THAT big a deal as it's easy enough for me to paste in a new song (I store them in simple text files, formatted in a suitable way for Verbatim). But I just wondered if I was doing something wrong or if you're even really supposed to be able to store more than one piece?

~ DC Cardwell

4:57 PM

Is there any way to release as a downloadable program that I could put on my laptop?

I would also love to be able to have more than one poem saved at a time.

Thank you

1:23 PM

It's a completely self-contained file, so just download the following file onto your laptop: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/23420016/Verbatim2.html

You'll still need your browser to use it, of course.

I haven't been able to program it to use more than 1 piece, but I have found a workaround. Just keep your pieces in one or more text files, and switch between them as needed.

12:16 PM

Ok, how do I do that. I put the url into my browser and the application came up. I did not see anything that said "download"

Thank you

8:09 PM

To save the program to your desktop/laptop computer:

1) Bring it up in your browser
2) Right click, and you should see a selection such as "Save Page" or "Save Page As..."...select this option.
3) Make sure you save it as "Page Source" or "HTML". Do not save it as "webarchive" or anything similar to that.

To make sure you've done all this correctly, try running it from where you stored it, and it should run in your browser.

10:40 AM

Good Afternoon,

I am testing verbatim 2.0 for an Arabic poem, and I was successful in getting it to accept a standard Arabic font, and it does display from R-to-L, but not 100%; it is putting the numbers on the wrong side of the text; I also wish I could attach mp3 clips for pronunciation. And how do I save it for future reference? And then be able to create another lesson that is different?

And is there a way to increase the size of font? Arabic is notoriously small compared to the same size font in English.

And the 'test recall' methods are not working for Arabic - how can that be fixed, please?

Thank you!