App Update: GoodReader Adds Syncing Options

GoodReader for iPad is a favorite PDF reader. Not only is it easy to use, with a host of features, it is continually being updated and improved. The newest added features revolve greatly around the ability to move documents to the cloud, although some usability and performance issues have also been addressed.

Users can now choose to upload not only files but entire folders to a mail server, MobileMe iDisk, Google Docs, Drop Box, SugarSync,, any WebDAV server or FTP server. Just add the server, then choose which files to sync. However, as good as it sounds, it does not work as well in practice. I tried numerous times to set up a file in Google Docs for syncing and wound up with multiple copies of a file in multiple locations, but could not get the program to sync the file as described in the built-in manual. The magical “sync” button never appeared, nor were any of my files designated with the “sync” icon. I could upload and download files and view them but that was it. A disparity in files was clear. Highlighted text was apparent in the Google Doc reader, but drawn annotations did not appear.

I attempted to use the sync option with Dropbox and was able to sync a document – I think. The elusive “sync” option appeared after I uploaded a file. The file was designated as being set up for syncing. After several syncs, the document remained unchanged in Dropbox and there was a long sync lag as well. I would perform the operation in GoodReader, but twenty mintutes later, the time stamp in Dropbox remained unchanged. It was difficult to tell as, similar to Google Docs, the Dropbox file failed to display any annotations, including highlighting. The inability of Drobox to display GoodReader’s highlights had nothing to do with the syncing issue, as highlights in the original document were not visible. This begs the question: what good is syncing capabilities if changes are delayed and unviewable?

Numerous other improvements have been made including faster searches for large documents. I was able to verify the search results are nearly instataneous. Margins may now be cropped and the cropping is retained for the entire document. While it may not seem like much, this feature means the text is optimized within the screen without having to be adjusted every page. Standard shaped  annotations such as squares and circles may now be enhanced with a scalloped cloud effect.

All of these changes are welcome, although the necessity for some is questionable. GoodReader continues to represent a solid value, even at $2.99, as support and updates are provided regularly. It does run the risk of becoming bloated and overcomplicated. 

GoodReader for iPad is $2.99 in the App Store. It runs on the iPad  with iOS 3.2 or later.   Check after the break for screenshots and the reported changes.



Synchronization with remote servers:
- sync with iDisk, Dropbox, SugarSync and any WebDAV or FTP server
- entire folders as well as individual files can be synced separately
- you can set up many different files/folders to be synced with different servers. Later you can either sync them individually, or sync them all at once by pressing just one button.

Various sync parameters can be adjusted:
- file/folder deletion can be prohibited separately for local and remote files
- a choice of options is available for sync conflicts – “Ask what to do”, “Leave unresolved”, “Local files have priority”, “Remote files have priority”, “Create duplicates”

Downloading-related improvements:
- SugarSync support
- web browser can now be locked with a password
- entire folders can now be downloaded from remote servers, no need to download files one-by-one now
- several files and folders can now be downloaded from remote servers at once – select what you need to download and press the “Download” button
- files and folders downloaded from remote servers can now be saved to any folder, not only to “My Documents”
- files downloaded with web browser are now saved to the current folder
- files and folders can now be uploaded to servers with Overwrite option, no need to delete old ones before uploading
- downloading of files is now continued on the background for several minutes

Other improvements:
- file lists can now be sorted by name, size and date, both ascending and descending orders are available
- PDF files: faster text search in large files – for some files it’s now twice as fast as it used to be
- PDF Annotations: squares, circles and polygons can now be converted into “cloudy” shapes and back
- PDF Crop Margins feature now offers the “Crop to current view” button: zoom in and pan to whatever you’d like to see on the screen after the cropping, and this button will crop out the rest, making the cropped page’s aspect ratio match the screen’s one
- PDF: “Fit to width” preference can now be set separately for portrait and landscape modes
- pictures imported from Photo Roll are now saved to the current folder
- other minor improvements and bug fixes


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