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Retiring the Communicate Jesus Android app

This app never really did what I wanted it to do. I wanted to test out push notifications in Android apps, so when the website updated you would get an alert to go read it (of cause it would come with an option to turn this off). But I never got round to implementing this. (I also thought it would be good promotion for my friend’s site).

I configured the app to work around a previous theme for the Communicate Jesus website. Since then the site has changed a little, so some of the native menu links give you 404’s. I have also never been a huge fan of “site apps” – you might as well just save a bookmark on your phone’s home screen to the site you want and view it in the browser and not bother with an app at all.

This app wasn’t very popular. Since its launch in June 2014 on the Play Store, it has only been downloaded 161 times. In the last year, it was downloaded once on Amazon. I’ll leave the APK up on this site (of which it has been downloaded 98 times)

Mobile Multiply targetSdkVersion API 26 update

This app is really long in the tooth, it could do with an update where everything is displayed using the material native UI. But for now, I have just done a quick update to get it to the Google Play new standard. The app bar was using some old libraries that I had to run a bunch of function override’s to get it to work on the settings screens, and also it has lost the menu icon on the top left. But I don’t think the menu was that useful. You can still side swipe to access it.

I found a bug when you rest to the default language. This has also been fixed

The new update is live on the Google Play and this site. It is currently pending on Amazon.

Two Ways To Live in French

Two weeks ago someone on Twitter asked if it was possible for this app to be done in French. It already has Chinese in it, so the framework to change to another language was already in there. Also, the official site already has the text in French, so really this was a bit of a copy and past job.

I haven’t really invested much in this app, as I don’t own the rights to it, but if you think there is a need for this material in your language and either you want to translate it, or it’s already up on the official site, then I will see what I can do.

This update is on the Play Store, this site and is pending review on the Amazon store.

Who Will Be King? targetSdkVersion API 26 update

While this app was meant to be updated last because of its placement in the alphabet I jumped to this one because Google pulled it from the Play store. This was because this app is aimed at kids and it didn’t have a privacy policy. Anyway, I quickly whipped up this fantastic privacy policy and added that to the meta information on the Play store. So, while I was at it, I recompiled this using the Oreo SDK libraries.

The app is now up on Google Play and this site. It is currently pending on Amazon.

Australian Daily Prayer targetSdkVersion API 26 update

Continuing on the Play store push to update all new apps to Oreo (Android 8.0), I have updated the Australian Daily Prayer app to conform to this new standard. There could be some minor improvements that come with the updated libraries, it may be hard to notice.

On the web side of things for this app, I have tweaked it a little bit, mainly dealing with the new ESV API. This tweak also affected passage headings in the app, which this new version should fix up.

Also, hopefully, I have improved the error message about the API reaching its limit due to too many requests per day. I honestly didn’t think this app was that popular to reach the daily limit. I think sometimes some web crawler hits the site causing a bit of request in a short period of time. Also, some amateur hackers try to hit the site trying to do an SQL injection using queries that have things like “1=1”, “1=2” or “AnD BenchMark” in them. (This won’t actually do anything because the website doesn’t run an SQL database, the site’s data comes from csv and xml files, some of which you can download and see from the site easily enough.) But these attempts also make queries to the ESV API, again bumping up the requests per day. Ideally, I will mitigate these queries, maybe in the future…

The new Australian Daily Prayer app is live on the Google Play store, this site and on the Amazon Appstore.

321 targetSdkVersion API 26 update

Google Play has said they want all their apps now to be at their SDK API version 26, or Android 8.0 or Oreo. I thought I might slowly re-roll my apps to conform to this standard, starting in alphabetical order.

To update to the newer version I had to update the permission requesting, so now users are prompted at the start if they want this app to save movies to their file system. Also, a bunch of libraries have been updated, so possibly it might be quicker or more secure.

While I was updating 321 I also came across a bug that meant you could keep on clicking the download image to download your video you may not have, and every time you clicked it would queue that download again, meaning that if you click multiple times when your download was running, you could end up with the same file multiple times in your “movies” directory. I have fixed that.

I would like to also give this app a more visual overhaul, but that will require more time.

This update is now live on the Play Store and on this website. Amazon sent me an email saying they have improved their app submission process, but because of a simple click on their system, this app is now locked for review and I can’t update it till 7:30 pm tonight – even though I hadn’t even uploaded the new APK… So I might give that a pass for now…

ESV text in Australian Daily Prayer fixed

Crossway updated their ESV API to version 3 which last week caused a bit of a problem with the Australian Daily Prayer app and website. I have since registered the Australian Daily Prayer app with them and have adjusted how the data is pulled on the website, so now both should be displaying the daily readings correctly. The app doesn’t need to be updated as it pulls the content from the website.

If this app ever gets popular the API usage has a limit that may get hit, but I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.

2017 in Review

So 2017 felt more like treading water for ampers apps, or if anything it went a bit backwards.

There were no new apps this year and I pulled one of my most successful app because Crossway filled the void and made an official Andriod app for the New City Catechism. On Amazon, my Inductive Bible Study app got suppressed as it was claimed that I was breaking copyright for using the ESV – even though I am using a legitimate Bible API (it’s even open source so you can see how it works). I told this to Amazon but they said I had to contend the claim with Crossway, and I kinda didn’t bother as my Amazon presence is really small. Besides if you want to sideload any of my apps, this site has the APK’s.

Life also got in the way a bit. I stepped up my role at church a little and sold and bought a new house. 2018 looks no different with time restraints as I am now working one day a week at Church as a youth minister, still working my normal job and have my normal family commitments.

Below are how my apps went over the course of 2017 (not including APK downloads from this site):

321
A simple gospel presentation by Glen Scrivener
Total installs for 2017: 187 (Google) + 17 (Amazon)

Australian Daily Prayer
Displays the 1995 Australian Anglican Prayer Book morning and evening services and uses the 2005 Weekday Lectionary.
A few typos were corrected throughout the year, but a new app is not needed for the changes to take place.
Total installs for 2017: 401 (Google) + 129 (Amazon)

Communicate Jesus
Displays content from the Communicate Jesus blog run by Steve Kryger… (I’m thinking I should really pull this app as it doesn’t really work and was more going to be a test for push notifications which I never got round to)
Total installs for 2017: 20 (Google)

Inductive Bible Study
An easy to use method to study the Bible on your own or in a group.
Total installs for 2017: 891 (Google) + 268 (only until 22nd July when it was suppressed on Amazon)

Mobile Multiply
Simple discipleship program written by Francis Chan.
Total installs for 2017: 4,038 (Google) + 176 (Amazon)

New City Catechism
A modern weekly catechism written by Tim Keller.
12th April (Final version) was pulled from the Play Store
Total installs until 12th April: 2,207 (Google) + 1,336 (in doing these stats, it seems I never pulled this from Amazon)

OpenSpritz Bible
Allows you to quickly read the Bible without moving your eyes.
Total installs for 2017: 337 (Google) + 53 (Amazon)

Two Ways To Live
Simple gospel presentation by Matthias Media
3rd May (1.1.1) Fixed a typo
5th December (1.1.2) Fixed another typo
Total installs for 2017: 2,502 (Google) +22 (Amazon)

Who Will Be King?
Children’s version of Two Ways To Live by Matthias Media
Total installs for 2017: 69 (Google)

Comparing from last year, it seems my apps are on a decline. While overall installs have gone up about 10,700, active apps, those used in the last 30 days, has gone down by about 3,000 this year. Still, that is with no advertising, removing one of my most popular apps and not introducing anything new this year. Really things are just ticking on.

 

Fixed typos in Two Ways To Live and Australian Daily Prayer

I was tidying up my emails last night and noticed that someone has previously emailed me pointing out a typo on the welcome screen for the Two Ways To Live app. This has now finally been fixed, and the update has been pushed to the Play Store and the portfolio page on this site.

Also last weekend someone tweeted to me pointing out another typo in the Australian Daily Prayer app. Since the data is pulled from a website, it was easy to update without having to re-roll another app with the correction embedded in it.

If you do find any more typos, please let me know. Hopefully, I won’t take months to fix them…

Canberra Men’s & Women’s Christian Convention websites

I have been a bit quite on the app front. (I have recently picked up an extra role at church, so this may mean even less time for apps.) However, I do help out with Canberra Christian Conventions with their website.

We have just released the new sites for the Men’s and Women’s conventions this year.

The images we used this year were taken and tweaked by our communications team. I’m really happy how they have turned out. Making them ourselves means we had lots of flexibility and optiones on what we could take that was consistent within the theme.

Some of the features of the sites are:

  • Using the Divi WordPress theme
  • Email pop up that allows you to copy and past a pre-written email in your mail client, or if you use Gmail a button to do that automatically for you
  • Correct use of meta fields for Facebook sharing
  • The forms are JavaScripted in by elvanto and are then custom styled within the site
  • Google maps are themed using Snazzy Maps
  • I also turned on the SSL certificate we got with our hosting so everything is on https

Overall I think these two conference sites are up there with the best Australian Christian conference websites available (and we looked at a few for ideas). Check these conferences out at:

https://canberrachristianconventions.org.au/womens
https://canberrachristianconventions.org.au/mens