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OpenSpritz Bible v2.0.0

This is a bit of a novelty app. The gimmick is that you can read quickly without having the ordeal of moving your eyes. In essence, a single word flys at you and your brain kinda absorbers the text.

This app had been broken for some time (maybe 3 years?) as the source where I was getting the Bible text went under. In the past, there was a bit of a Bible download management system where you could download and chose different versions and then the app would parse an XML file. With this update it is just using the ESV, essentially repeating code I used in the last update in the Inductive Bible Study app.

There are limited with the using the ESV, you can only pull down 500 verses at a time, whereas in the past you could read a whole book at once as all the content was downloaded locally. There ESV can let me download an XML of their Bible, but that will cost me about $100 a year. Due to the novelty of the app, not having a big audience and this app is free, I don’t think it is worth it.

Update has been pushed to the Play Store and this site. I’ve pretty much given up on Amazon as their app console process is painful.

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.

OpenSpritz Bible visual tweak

OpenSpritz Bible comaprisionI use Bitbucket for managing my Android code. They are free and allow you as many repos of any size that you want. Last month they changed the way they sort your repos with the introduction of “projects”. I decided to move my two open source apps into a “project” called open source and set the permission for that group to be public. Anyway in doing that, it changed the repo’s link, which meant I had to update this app with the new open source link. I think if someone goes to the trouble to code something that you use and makes it open source, you too should respect their licence and make your stuff open source as well.

Anyway, since I had to update this app with a new link, I thought I might fix a few other things with the interface. They are minor, and only took me half a lunch time to fix, but I think it is a better improvement. The main visual change is the progress bar isn’t at the bottom of the screen, but is now under the Spritz section. This makes it even easier to see where you are in the progress of your passage. You eye moves even less. Also the open/close view text click wasn’t working very well, so I replaced that with a toggle button which seemed to have fixed the issue.

Like always this update is on the Google Play store and also on the portifilo page.

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.

Milestones updated

I have updated a few of the app pages with their new downloaded milestone counts for September. The new entries are:

321: 17th September 2014 – 200th download

mobile multiply: 14th September 2014 – 7,500th download

OpenSpritz Bible: 10th September 2014 – 100th download

Two Ways To Live: 17th September 2014 – 2,500th download

Thanks to all that have downloaded these apps.

I should probably point out that these stats are counting total  downloads (from the app store), not what is currently installed on people’s devices. OpenSpritz Bible is my worst app for retention with 70% of people uninstalling it.

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).