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Minor New City Catechism widget patch

Hopefully I now have got the hang of Android widgets. I noticed that after the new update the questions weren’t moving:

I first thought the date calculation was off by one week, but as I dug into it it seemed that it wouldn’t go back to the correct position if you opened up the answer for that question. I have also tweaked the widget code a bit making it a few lines shorter here and there. Hopefully it means it is more robust

The widget should now work as planned. If you do go forward or back and open up that answer, you should be able to leave it there and the next time the widget updates it will take you back to the week/question you should be on.

Fingers crossed.

New City Catechism date patch

NCC widget ScreenshotI must admit that I am a bit slack with checking in with the New City Catechism every week. But for this year I am going to try and check out each question per week (as it is intended). However, for awhile I have noticed that the widget would always default back to question one, and since the beginning of this year the actual app seemed to be having trouble working out what question it should be displaying.

I’m on the cusp of releasing a new app and I generally only like working on one app at a time, but the date not changing correctly finally annoyed me so much that I sat down last night to fix it. This is the second patch I have tried for the widget, so fingers cross this one will work.

I have just push the new update to the Play Store and if you can’t wait for that to update you can download the APK from the portfolio page.

2015 in Review


As I did for 2014, I thought I should post on what I achieved in 2015. Last year seemed to be the year of the update with no new apps released. I don’t feel that bad as some of the updates were as big as whole apps. Also two of my apps crossed over the 10,000 downloads mark.

I am working on a new app that should be out by the end of the month (hopefully!), stay tuned…

I also just started a new twitter account, @ampers_apps which will hopefully give more updates about what I am up to for 2016. Feel free to follow that.

Anyway, below is a quick rundown of how my apps went this year.

A simple gospel presentation by Glen Scrivener
Sep 16 (1.2.0): Added in 9 more languages
Total installs for 2015: 357

Australian Daily Prayer
Displays the 1995 Australian Anglican Prayer Book morning and evening services and uses the 2005 Weekday Lectionary.
Dec 11 (2.0.0): Whole new interface rewrite, now in Material Design.
Total installs for 2015: 315

Communicate Jesus
Displays content from the Communicate Jesus blog run by Steve Kryger
Oct 15 (2.0.0): Updated interface to Material Design
Total installs for 2015: 81

Mobile Multiply
Simple discipleship program written by Francis Chan
Apr 15 (2.5.0): Added Spanish translation
Total installs for 2015: 6,400

New City Catechism
A modern weekly catechism written by Tim Keller
3rd Feb (4.0.1): Added in Spanish introduction
2nd Jun (4.1.0): Added in a home screen widget
23rd Jun (4.1.1): Tried to fix a widget bug
Total installs for 2015: 5,688

OpenSpritz Bible
Allows you to quickly read the Bible without moving your eyes.
Total installs for 2015: 453

Two Ways To Live
Simple gospel presentation by Matthias Media
Total installs for 2015: 3,247

Who Will Be King?
Children’s version of Two Ways To Live by Matthias Media
Total installs for 2015: 117

I also added a websites portfolio to this site to showcase a bit more than the android apps that I make. In 2015 I updated this site, Canberra Christian Conventions and Body@Work Physio websites. I don’t really have the stats for all three of those to say how much exposure they all got.

For a general overview of how my apps are going, here is how they stood on the 1st of January 2016. From the table below it seems that there are nearly 22,100 ampers apps currently installed on android devices*. Comparing the below table with one from October 2014 (Total: 14,423/19,499) , you can see that the retention rate has dropped to 57% from 74%, but overall numbers has increased (as you should expect) and most apps have doubled in total installs.

end of 2015 stats* Current installs does not including the direct downloads from this site, and it does not include inactive devices. This means someone may have installed one of my apps and then bought a new phone and just threw the old phone out without uninstalling it.

New interface for Australian Daily Prayer

daily_prayer_comparisionI have finally done what I wanted to do with The Australian Daily Prayer app. Now, instead of displaying a web view, this app displays the content nativity in Android layouts and widgets. It now has recycler views, are expandable tabs, pager views, hiding toolbars and floating action button. Also it still changes theme colour based on the church season.

Previously I had made my website output some JSON data for this use, but I never got round to implementing it. Now that I have, this means the app will use less internet data. Previously the webview would come in around 750kb*, now the JSON data is about 50kb.

If anyone else out there wants to suck down the some JSON data this app uses, they can read about using it on the daily prayer site.

It should be noted that this update is just for the displaying of the data in the android app. The data still comes from the website. While testing this app I found some errors in the data which I will go back and fix up (things like “22th” and not “22nd”, one <br> tag being broken etc…).

It has also been pointed out to me that this app doesn’t show the Australian Lectionary readings. If I knew what those readings were, I would implement them. I only go with the Church of England’s 2005 Weekday Lectionary because they provide a grid (pdf) in how to work out what readings go where. If anyone knows of some lookup table for the Australian Lectionary that I could see that would allow anyone to work out the readings for say 5th of June 2018, I would appreciate it.

This update will be on the Google Play store soon and is on it’s portfolio page.

*This may only be on first load, as your browser may cache some of the page after that.

Communicate Jesus in Material Design

Screenshot_2015-10-15-15-57-18Communicate Jesus is my least popular app on the Google Play store. This is probably because you can just visit the website without the need to have an app at all. As this is really a testing app for me, I went ahead and looked into the new Android Material Design, and if I screwed it up, it would only affect 14 people who currently have the app installed on their device.

Anyway, I have now updated this app to use Material Design and it should even be backwards compatible to Android 2.2 (Froyo). I have no idea what it actually looks like on devices running that, but it compiled and didn’t throw up any errors. I think the app looks much much better.

I have updated the APK and screenshots on both the portfolio page and the Google Play store if you want to check this new version out.

Since I have now worked out how to make things in Material Design, hopefully other apps I have made will make the move soon….

Canberra Christian Conventions new site

ccc_siteAs hinted in my last post, I have now added to my website portfolio page one more site.

I have been helping out with Canberra Christian Conventions for maybe two years now. I sit on the Requip team and do things for their website. A while ago they bought the theme The7 and I helped roll that out to their conference arms (Mens, Womens and Requip) to better advertise their events. The main site however was getting more and more long in the tooth. Anyway, after some work, last night we made the main site go live.

While The7 is a robust WordPress theme, it still didn’t do what we wanted it to do for our homepage, so I coded it myself. The homepage has three distinct layouts for different size screens, and if the conferences have more than one image they want to display (sometimes Requip has 2 or 3 conferences on the go at the same time), the page will randomly pick one to display on the homepage (at the moment they all have one image).

I also tried to mimic the top nav bar for desktop and mobile. Personally I don’t like the mobile navigation, but since that is what the theme does, I tried, as much as I could, without relying onany extra javascript libraries to pull it off. And it kinda works alright.

I have heard that on iPhones the page “sticks” to the top. I am yet to get my hands on an iPhone to test and see what it does. If you have any other comments about the site and how it performs in different browsers, please let me know.


ampers websiteI have updated the theme for this site. I was getting a bit bored of it and I think this one looks simpler and might be quicker to navigate.

The new theme is a free one called TA Portfolio. I have made a few adjustments, such as colour, image sizes, hiding titles to fields I leave blank and threw in a timeline, just because I could.

Now that the theme has been improved, I think I should also go back and improve the wording and images on the portfolio pages. But all in good time.

I have also added a website portfolio item to showcase some other sites I have made. There is another web site I will add to that portfolio page, but I am going to wait till the new update is live (stay tuned).

3-2-1 app: Now in 15 languages

3-2-1 languagesA while back I stumbled upon this Welsh youTube translation of the 3-2-1 Gospel presentation. I then got back in contact with Glen Scrivener to let him know that I planed on putting this video into the android app. During the discussion I learned that there was another Welsh video in the pipeline and there was a spreadsheet that had a whole bunch of other translations in it. I then set out to add a few more languages to the 3-2-1 app. The funny thing is, that the new Welsh video never surfaced, so of the new languages, Welsh is without a video.

The other new videos are is the English one with subtitles applied down the bottom. I had the most problem with the Hindi script displaying down the bottom. Hopefully there is enough time on the screen for the words to be read on the screen.

There was also a problem with the German text, in that a small bit of one section was missing. After trying to seek out this text, in the end I just used Google Translate. I hope no one notices which bit.

I can’t read, write or speak any of these languages (apart from English), so if you can and find some issues with the text can you please let me know and pass on some suggestions on how it could be improved.

Below is a quick summary of what is in the new 3-2-1 app. Like normal, if you don’t use the Play Store, you can side load your kindle or other android device by downloading the APK from the portfolio page.

Translation content (Red is new content)

Language Video presentation Text presentation Localised images Course content Prayer & What’s next page
Spanish Subtitled
Hindi Subtitled
German Subtitled
Dutch Subtitled
Norsk Subtitled
Portuguese Subtitled
Swedish Subtitled

I am still yet to update the tablet images on the Play Store, but hopefully they will come soon.

NCC Widget patch

widget questionIt seems that there is a bug in the New City Catechism widget. The cause is related to the widget not finding the start date preference in the app, so it doesn’t know what question to start from. When it looks, it seems the app is not in memory and the preference can not be found. I have experienced the error, but when I did, I wasn’t near my PC for me to run diagnostics on it.

Based on the 27 error reports I have received, I think I have solved the issue, but I am not 100% sure. It is now set to say that, if the date preference can not be found, then set the week to start on to be 1.

This has just been pushed to the play store (and on this site), so it should update soon on your device. Hopefully this will stop the error from appearing. I will be looking at the error reports to see if more come in on the new version.

Sorry to everyone who has experienced this crash, and thanks to all who sent back the crash report. It is useful when lots of people sent the same error.

A widget for New City Catechism

I wanted to make an android widget for one of my apps for a while now, just to see if I could. Way back in August last year, on twitter I said I would start working on one after October. It seems October 2014 turned into May 2015, this was because I wanted to release mobile multiply in Spanish first.

widget question widget answer

Anyway, I have just pushed the new update to the play store which contains the widget. This lists all the questions in a stack view, and when you touch them it will display the answer in a slightly bigger card, due to the answers being longer than the questions, they need more space to display. This works in English and in Spanish. There is even a setting to choose if you want to show the adult or children’s answers.

I only have my one phone screen size to play with, so sizing objects can be a bit tricky.  Hopefully it will work. Also I had to up the minimum android version to display a stack widget. This mean the update is only for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above. Before Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) was supported. According to Android stats. Gingerbread has about 6.25% market share, and only 1.18% of my users are running it. I think this is an ok loss of support.

And while I was looking at stats, New City Catechism has just crossed over the 11,000th download. It was only at the end of March when it got to it’s 10,000th.

NCC 11000 download