A big thanks to the 2,000 people who have downloaded my (unofficial) Two Ways To Live app. It is still on 1,352 devices, so a bigger thanks to those who still have the app 🙂
A while back there was a bit of buzz about this Spritz reading technology that allowed you to read on a screen quickly. These guys were even going to let developers access their API, once you jumped through a few of their hoops and waited to be approved and when they were ready to let people have access. So I signed up for this. But, then I found that someone had read the concept and then coded up their own version and called it “OpenSpritz” (he said it took him 15mins to make) and then another guy ported it to android.
With this technology freely available right now I then thought I could make a Bible reading app. My original idea was that I would pull the verse text from the ESV API (which is what I do from the Australian Daily Prayer app), but I then found a bunch of Bibles in XML format. So I set out to use them.
I found that using the built-in XPath XML parser in android was really slow and so then found another Java module called VTD-XML which uses XPath requests, but is much faster. By way of comparison, I found with the standard XPath request for a single verse took about as much time as it did to pull all of Mark’s Gospel, so that was a big improvement. Still, if you request all of Psalms, it will take a little bit to process.
So as you can tell by now this app is a bunch of existing modules all strung together. Since those modules were opensource and free, I have also released the source code for this app for others to improve on.
It was only a bit later that I realised that I had read this blog post by Doug Wilson, which is him talking about the Spritz reading technology and using it to read the Bible. This means, I probably got the idea from him for this app, but only consciously decided to make it a few months later.
A good mate of mine, Steve Kryger (@communic8jesus), runs the Communicate Jesus blog. In 2011 that blog just made it onto the top 200 Christian blogs, which is no small feat. At the moment, according to really only one source, Communicate Jesus is ranked 247th. It is even beating Ed Stetzer (he is at 261) and is only 4 places below The Briefing.
I once told Steve (a bit candidly) that if he updated his site to be responsive, then I would make him an app. While Communicate Jesus isn’t running a responsive theme, it is running a WordPress plugin called WPTouch that works as a mobile theme, depending on your device.
I have my last two essays for this semester due on Friday, but since I am one of those students I submitted them early. This means I now have some free time… until next semester starts up again.
While I do hope to be spending more time with my family and catching up on things around the house and backyard, I will also be doing some more development work. In the pipeline I have two apps almost ready to be released. I also hope to get some (much needed) updates pushed out.
So stay tuned.