arXiview: A New iPhone App for the arXiv

Over 9 months ago I decided to apply for teaching tenure track jobs. Then the economy took what can best be described as a massive, ill-aimed, swan dive. Thus creating an incredible amount of stress in my life. So what does a CS/physics research professor do when he's stress? The answer to that question is available on the iTunes app store today: arXiview. What better way to take out stress and at the same time learn objective C and write an iPhone app that at least one person (yourself) will use?

What is arXiview? It is yet another arXiv viewer (there are two others available, last I checked, along with an iPapers application which I believe also allows you to acess the arXiv.) What is different about this viewer? Well it is, I think, the first iPhone application to allow you to search the arXiv by date (based upon the undocumented API interface for date searches...if this goes away I'm going to have to switch to my own database on Scirate.) Conveniently this means that it is very easy to surf the last few weeks of arXiv postings. What other features does it currently have? Well from the website:

  • Browsing arXiv categories by date. Keep up to date not just on the latest days posting, but postings from the last week or any date you wish. The first iPhone arxiv browser to offer full date browsing.
  • Search the arXiv by author, title, full text, with and without restrictions to specific categories of the arXiv.
  • Save preprints to your iPhone for later, offline browsing. Organize your offline readings in self-named folders.
  • Email yourself or others preprint information for later reference.
  • Read PDFs in both landscape and portrait mode.
  • Arrange arXiv categories and subcategories in an order of your preference, for quick access.

Of course I'd love to hear any feedback if any of you decide to plunk down the big $0.99 USD and buy arXiview: complaints, feature requests, bugs, etc.

Screenshots:


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The iPhone is a great gadget (as a phone, it's okay. Personally I wish it could be made a bit louder as my ears, they ain't so good at that hearing thing.) Here are the apps I've found that I use the most. (Excluding google maps, the built in email and browser, and the phone functions, of course…

If I look at today's papers in a particular category (hep-th, say), does the app lump all the cross-postings and replacements in with the new papers? Both of the other arXiv apps do this: all three types of papers appear in a single long list without any sort of division to indicate, for example, where new postings end and replacements begin. My primary use case is checking the day's new papers, and including all the other postings without any sort of demarcation kills that.

Hello Robert,

Because of the nuances of the current arXiv api, for a given day the listing only posts papers that were posted on that given day. That means that it catches every single new paper, the cross listings, and not the replacements. I believe all the other apps are using the arxivs RSS feeds which only give a single day in one dump (though they should be able to sort them rather easily.) The arXiv API teams has said they will be soon releasing the full date search and I should be able to add updates and such, but they said "two weeks" a while ago. With the full, proper, date search it might be possible to do exactly as the days listing for past days.

I guess I'm only concerned with the current day's papers: are these sorted into "new", "cross listed", and "replaced"? Or is a date just a date, with no distinction between "today's papers" and "last Tuesday's papers"?

"Replaced" doesn't ever appear. "New" always appears. "cross listed" is erratic in that the "cross listed" papers don't necessarily appear on the same day they appear on the arxiv (they appear on the day they were first posted, but this isn't the same day they appear on the cross listed section of the archive post.) Hopefully the new arxiv api will allow me to distinguish the cross listings better. But one thing I should do is to mark them cross listed which I can certainly do in my next version.

So you already have 2 other competitors? I think you should produce new features soon!

I think if you want to read the new papers, the arxiv website might be the best option with Safari [but I don't know how it displays pdf. I don't have an iphone. So excuse my ignorance.]

Does your app flip pages to landscape when you flip the iphone? If it does and you keep the price so low, I will buy it when I get the iphone :D

Well, good luck with the job search. At least you still have an iPhone to pawn if it does not go well.

I would be very interested to hear more about the undocumented date sort in the arXiv API. I'm currently using an ugly hack to do this in my own php script. Who do I have to bribe to get the details?

Integration with BibDesk would be nice. This is good stuff.

Ah, you mean like sending yourself an email with the list of saved files (or even sending a bibtex record for a single arxiv record)?

Excellent! I just downloaded the app, and it works precisely as I hoped it would. I've deleted the other two arXiv apps and put this one on my front page.

Thanks for a nice app.

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