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New City Catechism app will be pull from Google Play

I first made the New City Catechism (NCC) Android app back in June 2013. I think it was first called Weekly New City Catechism. It basically displayed a simple webpage that I had made which had all the NCC questions displayed in a responsive way. The main reason I made this app was because there wasn’t one available. I also liked the idea of showing the current question for the week. I figured the reason there were 52 questions was because of the 52 weeks in the year.

In December 2013 the executive director of The Gospel Coalition (TGC) got in contact with me and wanted to see if this app could become the official one. I was thrilled with this idea and made a few adjustments to make it look more like their official webpage and called the app just New City Catechism. Tim Keller even tweeted a link to my app. After that I kinda lost contact with TGC, but that wasn’t before I saw a beta version of a redeveloped site (not the one now) and I also passed on the Spanish translation of catechism that I had gotten my hands on.

Fast forward to last week, where it looks like the NCC has been re-launched with a new website, Apple & Android apps and even a paper version – all brought out by Crossway. In no way do I want to compete with or be seen to be against Crossway or the other people behind the New City Catechism. Since they now have a presence in the Google Play store, I think it is time that I must decrease so they can do their thing.

I emailed Crossway my plans and also my concerns about losing functionality. I offered my code and Spanish text, but they didn’t seem to need it. This is completely fine – if I’m honest my code would probably have been useless to them.

The functions that I think have been lost in the new app are:

  • it doesn’t progress through the questions each week, ie every time you open your app you have to advance to the question you want to go to; and you can’t set a start date from when you want to do the catechism
  • there is no widget to display the weekly question on your home screen
  • no links to the videos
  • no Spanish translation

They said they would be working on some of these features in the future.

My course of action is to put up a new screen on start up, wait a week or two so the update has a chance to push out to as many devices as possible and then pull the app from the Play Store. I was going to nuke the whole app, but I think people may miss the functionality, so if you have the app now, just don’t uninstall it. I will also leave the latest APK on this site.

This has been one of the more successful apps of mine. I don’t put this down to my great code, but to the great content of the catechism. I will post again in a few weeks with a re-cap of this app, once I have taken it off the Play Store.

15,000 downloads for #NewCityCatechism android app and other milestones

I have been a little asleep at the wheel with my Android development. This is due to some personal things going on, and a laundry rebuilding project I’m doing at home. For the time being things will still be slow in this area. However, I noticed that a few milestones for total downloads have been reached.

The New City Catechism app crossed over the 15,000th download, and at this point in time there are around 10,0000 devices that still have it installed. I’m pretty happy with that retention rate. I noticed on the day that the app clicked over to 15,000 total downloads there was a small spike in installed. Looking around twitter I saw that Alistair Begg and his ministry Truth For Life tweeted a webpage that links to this app.

NCC daily downloads

I also noted that OpenSpritz Bible app crossed over 1,000 downloads (with only a 20% retention rate) and that my new Inductive Bible Study app has been downloaded more than 100 times (at the moment it is actually 172 time).

As with all these milestone updates, I would like to say “thank you” to everyone who downloaded my apps, even if you uninstalled it right away. Thanks for taking the time to at least check them out and my prayer is that you learned something new about the God who is really there.

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.

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

Minor update for New City Catechism

A minor update has just been pushed to the play store for the New City Catechism app. This now includes the catechism introduction in Spanish (thanks Eduardo Barrientos) and I also took out the little zoom in and out controls (if you are running higher than honeycomb). Pinch to zoom still works, but now those little buttons shouldn’t annoy you.

You can wait for the play store to update, or you can download the APK from the profile page now (and if you run a kindle and want to side load it).


The New City Catechism android app is now available in Spanish. Big thanks to Eduardo Barrientos for his translation skills. Not only is Spanish added to the app, it is also added to the mobile friendly site, so if someone tweets from the app, it will link back to the mobile site.

Other new features include video thumbnails to the adult English version (this increased the file size a bit) and you can now choose between Bible versions. ESV or NIV with the English and RVR1960 or LBLA for Spanish.

Stay tuned for the app store to update or you can download it from the portfolio page now.

It is finished

I have now finished my Bachelor of Theology, assuming I pass my last essays. Speaking of essays, I have just uploaded the one I wrote for this year (I did another pastoral care subject and since they contain personal information in them, I won’t be putting them online).

Now that I am finished, I hope I will be able to put some more time in to making and updating my android apps.

As of today this is where my apps stand:

app count


The total count is 14,423 apps currently on devices compared with 19,499 that have been downloaded. This means overall my apps have a retention rate of about 74%. (To be fair, some perform way better than others, so that stat is a bit inaccurate).

In the last week I have pushed out a minor update for OpenSpritz Bible (ESV has been removed and fixed a search bug) and I have started on a Spanish translation for the New City Catechism that hopefully will be out in a few weeks.

I have a long list of things I would like to make, add or improve… lets just see what happens.