What’s new in Bloom 4.5 beta

For those of you helping us out by running and giving feedback on the Bloom beta channel, thank you! You are a vital part of the Bloom team. We are now moving on to building Bloom 4.6, and will release new editions of the 4.5 beta if you find any problems with it.

Here’s what’s new in 4.5 beta:

:star: We have adjusted the background colors in order to provide a higher contrast for those with poor screens, lighting, or vision.

UI Languages

:star: Bloom’s programmers can now specify “fallback languages” for the Bloom user interface. Previously, the fallback was always English. Now, for example, if we have a UI translation in a Mayan language, we would set the fallback to Spanish. That way, if something on screen has not been translated yet, the user will see the Spanish, rather than the English.

Edit Tab

:star: Bloom has a way of changing the layout of a page to match one of the template pages. Now, in the “Choose Different Layout” dialog you can now tell Bloom to make that change for all similar pages in the book. This makes it easy to, for example, add a place for a sign language video to all pages.

Talking Books

:star: In Bloom 4.4 we added the ability to record entire text boxes, instead of each sentence. Starting with Bloom 4.5, Bloom can find where in the recording each sentence starts, so that your book can still highlight individual sentences as they are read. We will be improving this feature in the next couple of versions. Current limitations: Windows only, latin scripts only, will work best for scripts with pronunciation close to Esperanto. We may get these limitations removed before 4.5 leaves beta and becomes the Release.

Books for the Visually Impaired

We have improved advice given in Image Description Tool, simplified it, and added a checkbox for stating that the image should not be given an image description (e.g., because it is purely decorative).

Sign Language Books

:star: The Sign Language tool sometimes has problems, particularly with memory use, so for now it is only available if you set Settings:Advanced:Show Experimental Features and set up Settings:Bloom Enterprise. But it’s certainly usable if you’re ready to start experimenting!

:star: The Sign Language tool has been simplified.

:star: The Sign Language tool now displays information about the video, including length, aspect ratio, and codec.

:star: The Sign Language tool now has a tool for trimming the beginning and end of a video. Currently the trims are not permanent until you publish the book to ePUB, Bloom Reader, or a Bloom Pack.

You can now get a list of sign languages by entering “sign” in the “Lookup Language Code…” dialog.

Note: Some “2-in-1” laptops (like Microsoft Surface) have both a front and rear-facing camera. Bloom does not yet have a way to switch between these cameras. If the user doesn’t normally use the rear-facing camera, then a fix is to go into Windows Device Settings and disable the driver for the rear-facing camera.

Publish Tab

When publishing digital books, Bloom now removes unused branding images.

The PDF generator can now handle books with Device 16x9 layouts, and you can upload them to Bloom Library.

Getting the Beta

If you already have a beta version, Bloom will automatically ask to update itself. Otherwise, you can get 4.5 from the Bloom downloads page. The linux version will follow shortly. As usual, you can have the Release & Beta versions installed at the same time , and open books on either.