For the last two weeks, all my ampers sites have been down, along with the Australian Daily Prayer app. This was caused at my hosters end, where they had two major server failures and then they had to manually restore everyone’s account.
I don’t pay for hosting, so on one level, I am grateful that they put in the effort in restoring all my data, even though they don’t get anything out of it.
About two or three weeks ago my website SSL certificate expired, which caused a “Not secure” warning to be displayed on all my sites and it also broke the Australian Daily Prayer app.
It tuned out that my free hosters had an issue with their LetsEncrypt process, so I tried a few things to get everything up and running again. I got a 90 day SSL cert from zerossl.com. This allowed my main site ampers.x10.mx to work. But that didn’t solve my Daily Prayer app issues or my subdomains.
I then tried to find a free wildcard SSL service (I found three different ones), but all of those required you to have access to enter a DNS TXT (entry which my hoster didn’t allow) or to place a file in a folder called /.well-known/acme-challenge. I found that I couldn’t place anything in the /acme-challenge folder as I would always get a 404. Again this was a setting on my hosters end.
Today my hosters got their LetsEncrypt process up and running again, which means I also got my subdomains and app back up and running.
Sorry to everyone for the downtime. I do this stuff as a hobby and because I am cheap I try not to pay for hosting or SSL certificates.
For a little while, the Australian Daily Prayer app wouldn’t update the service content if you changed the date. The card at the top would display the right day and saint/festival, but the morning and evening tabs would still be displaying the current date. This bug turned out to be a relativity simple fix by changing the FragmentPagerAdapter to be FragmentStatePagerAdapter. However, I was already deep into readjusting the whole app to be running on the AndriodX libraries, which meant this fix got rolled up into a bigger update.
From the users perspective, not much will appear different (maybe the menu), but under the hood hopefully it will work smoother on newer phones (the last update was from October 2019).
There may be other bugs in regards to the content of this app, ie some days a Psalm doesn’t appear, or the readings might be a bit off, etc… That is more to do with the website it is pulling from, and not necessarily the app itself. I run that website, so the issue is still on me, but those content bugs may not have been fixed in this update.
Integration to the Inductive Bible Study app isn’t working, I think it may have to do with that app receiving requests from this app (which I probably forgot about it in the last major update). This may be a feature I will put back in.
Once I was able to log back in there was some subdomain permission settings and SSL certs that needed to be set up. It seems to be going ok.
I think there is a display bug in the android app, in that it doesn’t deal with you selecting any old date, as it will display the same readings and prayers for whatever the current day is. (The website allow you to go to any date). I will try and find time to tweak this.
It seems that in my last update to get everything up to API 29, it caused an issue with the Australian Daily Prayer app. It turns out that from Android 9, by default http calls are blocked to encourage everyone to switch to https.
Now, after I released the previous update my Pixel 2 stopped working so while I am waiting for that to be fixed I am on my old Nexus 5, this is on Android 8. Still, today I tweaked the app, (assuming this was the issue), to make https calls to my dailyprayer website. Turns out I already had an SSL, so I didn’t have to tweak anything on the server, just the app.
I have already emailed all those who asked about the issue, and one person has gotten back to me saying it is now working on Android 9 from the Play Store. Hopefully, that is the new norm. APK on this site is also updated.
Google has reset the minimum target for all of their apps on the play store. So today, since it was too cold to go outside, I thought I would re-roll a few of the easier apps in a new SDK. I also played with using Android App Bundles for publishing the final versions to the play store and I got to re-setup my development environment on my new PC.
The following apps now have a target for Android 10 (one version higher than the current minimum).
There are no visual improvements to these apps, which I think most of them now need. I would like to update them to a more material design (except for the Australian Daily Prayer app), but I do need to find that time. They also all have a swipe out menu from the left, and in Android 10 you can now make that gesture to mean “back”. Still, I was happy to see a few thousand active installs (devices online in the last 30 days) using my apps.
Hopefully, I will also get on and update my last two apps (OpenSpritz Bible and Inductive Bible Study). These ones are more functional than the others, and I do have more updates I would like to do. But the main issue is finding the time. Maybe we need more cold snaps.
Like always you can also find the updated APK files for these on this website.
This website has been down for nearly a week, but today it came back up. I use a free web hoster so I really can’t complain too much, as you do get what you pay for. While waiting for this to come back up I did set up a new account with another free hoster and was seriously considering moving everything off this site to them. That would mean a fair bit of re-setting up (emails, web apps, domains, app updates etc), so I am kinda glad I didn’t have to do that.
The Australian Daily Prayer app is dependent on this site to pass the readings and prayers of the day to it. This meant that for the last week the app has been broken, displaying a connection error. Thank you to those who emailed me to let me know that the app wasn’t working. As you can see now, this site is back up, and so is the app.
Just after Christmas, I received an email telling me that the Australian Daily Prayer app had been removed from the Play Store because it was in violation of their metadata policy. The email didn’t say exactly where I was in violation, so I didn’t know exactly what I should change. One of the issues could have been excessive detail – even though they give you a text box that is allowed 4,000 characters!
Anyway, in my description I removed the list of features and a few days later (without notification – would have been nice for them to also email me to say it was back) I saw that the app was republished in the Play Store.
Here is the offending text which seems to have violated the metadata policy:
Features: – Defaults to the morning or evening service based on the time of day – Displays the Common Worship translation of the Psalms for group readings and defaults to the main Psalm of the day – Displays the ESV text of the readings for the day, including the mp3 download link – Displays the festivals and daily saints and the collects on the appropriate days – Colour scheme changes depending on the church season – Can jump to any date – Displays the 39 Articles – Swipe from the left of screen to open up the menu; or press the button on the top left – Integrates with the Inductive Bible Study app
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…
Crossway updated their ESV API to version 3 which last week caused a bit of a problem with the Australian Daily Prayerapp 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.