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New App: Inductive Bible Study

Screenshot_2016-01-28-17-30-37I have been leading Bible studies on and off for about 8-10 years. During this time I have used many different methods, study guides, booklets, materials etc… however, about 4 (or so) years ago I saw the Inductive Bible Study method demonstrated and I got hooked. I liked this method as it is simple, completely focused on the text and is easy to reproduce (ie you can teach someone else to do the same thing easily).

I pretty much made this app for my own use, as every week (or fortnight) I would use this method in preparation for Bible study. Then as a group we would use the same method together. While using MS Word for preparing the study and saving it to a device or printing it out is possible, I’m hoping this app means I don’t have to copy and past any Bible text, nor have a need to use paper. Also, 1 minute after the study I can email the group a pdf of the notes I had made.

So hopefully, since I think there is a need for this app, others might also use it. The app can pull down a Bible passage (with or without the translators headings) and then be saved so you can mark up the text. I used an open source module for the marking up, so in return this app is also open source and be downloaded here.

Within the app here are instructions for each phase of the method. These instructions are a bit technical, but I figured, if you have it with you all the time, you can use it as a reference to go back to if you want (or just ignore them and tweak the process to suit your own needs). I’ve also put these notes online, just because I can.

So check out the app on the Play Store or to side load it, you can download the APK from this site.

New App: OpenSpritz Bible

bible squarex512I have now pushed another app to the Google Play store. This app is probably the trickiest app I have made as it actually does something, ranter than just displays information.

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.

In the process I also found a Bible passage parser, so that was worth using. It was in JavaScript and not Java, but I cheater and ran it through an internal webpage/WebView to use it. This may have been a bit over kill, but it seems to have worked.

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.

So head on over to the Play Store (when it gets updated), or the app page to download it (now).

New App: Communicate Jesus

logoA 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 initially thought the android WebView would act the same as a mobile device and WPTouch would recognise it and act accordingly. However I found that I had mixed results with the style coming down. To get around this the apps styles up the page once it has been downloaded, using a bunch of post JavaScript injections. This means the page kinda “pops” when it is loading, going from blank text to the pretty theme. It also means I can control the look a bit more. I have removed the change to the full theme button and the top webpage bar. The theme didn’t seem to have a search box, so I put that in the app as well.

So anyway, this has just been pushed to the Google Play store so it maybe a few hours before this link works, or you can head over to my own profile page and download the APK from there.