I love solving problems, even when the problem is really just an inconvenience masquerading as something prohibitive.

One thing I do each morning is read the Daily Office selections from the Book of Common Prayer, a collection of prayers and readings from the Anglican church, written in the 1500’s (if you’re already heading for ‘Close Tab’—hang on, this isn’t just about the Bible). There’s a number of ways for me to accomplish this, but what I really needed was:

  • Accessibility for my mobile device for reading during my morning commute on public transit
  • Quick access to the audio version, as this is best for mornings when I’m driving
  • An interface that doesn’t distract me by being clunky or offering ads

In exploring other options, nothing quite captured what I was looking for. The absolutely fantastic YouVersion Bible app doesn’t offer these readings on the same schedule (which is really important to me—people across the world read the same Scriptures on the same day). There were also some other options in the App Store, but they were generally poorly designed or overly complicated.

No matter what you believe or do for yourself each day to quiet yourself internally, you’re not going to succeed at being consistent if your methods aggravate you. I needed to remove my frustrations.

So, I built this application for myself. I’m making it available publicly on the chance that this helps someone else in the world.

What’s it do?

It’s really, really basic at this point— intentionally. It’s designed to be fast and clean.

When you open the app, it goes straight to a selection of today’s readings. Simply tap the one you want and a window pops up, displaying only that text. There’s also a simple pause/play button for the audio.

That’s it.

Download for iOS (Universal)

Download for Android (2.2+)


How’s it built?

Not only did I use this opportunity to solve a problem for myself, but I also used a few tools I might not have otherwise to gain some experience.

Instead of building in pure Objective C, I used Appcelerator Titanium. Why? I wanted to see if its reputation as a faster way to build an application held water. I figured you could hardly get more simple than this, so it’d be a good test in start-to-finish development. Plus, I wanted to see how maintainable one code base compiling to two platforms (iOS and Android) could be. On the whole, I’m pleased!

I’m using the ESV Bible Web Service API to pull the scriptures and display them on click. Why? Well, try looking for a good API with Scripture and let me know if you find anything better! Seriously, ESV provides access to these Daily Office Readings via their API, and I could easily use only that to power the app.

Lastly, since their feed is only available in XML (womp womp), I wrote a script (using some open source resources as well) to translate the feed to JSON. Why? Two reasons: I’d rather build a script and use JSON in the app because it’s easier and I might as well have the API in the app point to my servers instead of a third-party. This would allow me to adapt without pushing an update to the app itself.

If I don’t use it, why does it matter?

I simply want to share how rewarding it is to solve your own problem using your own skill, then share it with others freely. It’s a different sensation than only producing something for others.

I encourage you take a break from transforming everything into a product all of the time, and choose to freely offer the fruits of some of your labor (if you don’t already). Chances are, you benefit already from someone else choosing to do exactly that, especially in an open source community.

Want blog posts sent directly to your email?

Sign up to get emails from Logos Creative! You'll get the latest blog posts and an occasional extra email. Unsubscribe (easily) at any time.

October 30, 2012 — 76 Comments — In Android, Apple, Blog, iOS
  • Kimberly G McGarr

    Thanks Cliff! I think I will enjoy adding this to my devotion time as I commute. Blessings to you for sharing. Hope you are doing well!

    • Cliff Seal

      Thanks, Kim! I hope you enjoy it.

  • Heather Rainey

    Downloaded it! Can’t wait to check it out. So proud of you!

  • jacob

    I tried it out, and I really like its simplicity. Where did you get the audio narrating the readings? I like the guy’s voice, and am wondering how I can get a copy of it (if possible).

    • Cliff Seal

      I’m glad you like it, Jacob! The audio files are also supplied by the ESV API.

      • Jacob

        I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I think that it would be good to include somewhere on the page for the day a reference to where we are in the calendar. So, it would indicate third Sunday after epiphany. Seems like that could be cleanly added.

        What version of the bcp are you using?

        • Cliff Seal

          Good idea, Jacob. I’ll look into that.

          The readings follow the Daily Office Lectionary found in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).

          • jacob

            How difficult would it be to make available the ’28 version? There’s a loyal following that’s only going to get larger.

            Are there any apps out there that contain the rest of the BCP?

            • Cliff Seal

              The issue is that the BCP is very difficult to find transposed into usable data for applications—so far as I know, the ESV API is the only one doing this at all. I don’t have control of which versions are getting used, I’m just making use of what’s available. If I find another one, I’ll definitely look into it.

              As far as other apps, one of the reasons I built this was that I found everything else lacking overall, but you may be able to find something with more text.

  • Michael

    Been using the app for a week and I like it. However, the last few days when I launch the app it freezes on the cover page. I can’t get to the daily readings. What’s up?

    • Cliff Seal

      Thanks, Michael! There was a bit of an issue while I changed some DNS settings, but it should be back to working now. Is it still giving you trouble?

      • Renee

        I was having the same trouble, but I reinstalled and its working now!

        I really like the simplicity of this app. I’ve been using it daily for a week now.

        • Cliff Seal

          Good to hear, Renee. Sorry for the trouble!

          • AndrewKr

            I’m having this trouble on iOS 7.04.
            It worked one day and hasn’t worked since. I’ve reinstalled but no change.
            Help!

            • Hey Andrew,

              Sorry you’re having trouble!

              You need an internet connection to have the app load. I’m running 7.0.4 and I know what causes the ‘freeze’ on app load, so this is my best guess as things are working for me.

            • AndrewKr

              Thanks for the reply. I always run this on my home network so an internet connection is available.
              I haven’t changed anything, but today it all worked!
              Don’t know why the change, just glad it did change. 🙂

  • Bob

    I have been using and enjoying the BCP Readings on Android. However, I have been getting Runtime Error the last couple of days. I did an uninstall/install with no change. What is the fix?

    • Cliff Seal

      Thanks, Bob! I’m working through an issue with the API’s hosting company right now. I hope to have things back online later today.

  • A. M. Greene

    This is absolutely fabulous. Exactly what I needed to integrate my ancient devotions with my electronic lifestyle. Many, many thanks and blessings in Christ Jesus,

    A. M. Greene, an Anglican clergyman

    • That’s great to hear, my friend. I really appreciate you stopping by to tell me.

  • Kathryn Keyes

    Hey, thanks, I love this app! I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on how to easily keep record of when (date/how many times) one has read the daily readings?

    • Interesting question, Kathryn. I’ve just made it a part of my morning, so I’ve never thought about a ‘history’ of sorts.

      • Kathryn Keyes

        Yeah, it’s cool to read something “for the first time” and realize you’ve read it 3 years ago etc. Anyway, no big deal, just a thought 🙂

  • mark

    thanks for this app. Would love to see some way to adjust the font size. Please.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Mark. I’ll look into it.

  • Pingback: Coding in the Open - Logos Creative()

  • Pingback: 3 reasons my smartphone is helping me encounter God | tension&colour()

  • Matthew Smith

    Love the app- been having an issue with the Scripture displayed being different from what’s listed. Today’s first reading says Ps 26, 28 but when I click on it it says Ps 37:1-18. All the others are similarly wrong. Help?

    • Yep, I’m working on a bug that’s affecting the difference between what might show in the initial screen and the reading that actually loads when you open it. Generally, it seems that the app is opening the correct reading each day, but occasionally showing older ones under certain conditions. I’ll keep you posted on an update. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Stephanie

    Apocryphal books aren’t loading when on the day’s lectionary. Love this app for readings on my daily commute !

    • Unfortunately, apocryphal books aren’t available to display in the app. The ESV only offers the canonical ones. 🙁

  • Roger Schmidgall

    Simple elegance–great app! Mine never shows OT passages, however. Only gospel, Psalms, and NT readings. Solution?

    • Hey Roger,

      The current Old Testament readings are from the Apocrypha. Since the API I use doesn’t offer those, the app just hides them. OT readings will show back up later on.

      • Roger Schmidgall

        Ah…makes sense. Thanks!

        Any thought of including Prayer of the Week or other special prayers according to the calendar? (Without making the app complicated, of course!)

        Keep up the great work!

        • I’ve looked into the other BCP components, but I’m limited by what’s offered in an API.

  • Kevin O’Coin

    I am a huge fan of the app. I use it every morning. One thing I would like is to have a “play all” button so I don’t have to switch back and forth between the home screen and each reading. Is that possible to do?

    • Thanks, Kevin! That’s a pretty common request that I’m looking into for a future version.

  • Josh

    Thank you so much for your hard work on the app! It is my favorite app of the day. As a Pastor, I have recommended our whole congregation to download and use it. God’s Richest Blessings! – Klondike Church, Pensacola Florida (www.lovepensacola.org)

  • Gpope

    Appreciate and use this app daily. This week the narration is stopping about 3/4 of the way through. Anyway to get it fixed? I listen on an iPhone 6

    • Good morning! I haven’t heard of anyone else having this issue. Is it possible you have a spotty internet connection?

  • bruce646

    Is there a way to display the readings for a feast day? For example today March 25 is The Annunciation but the readings are the regular Daily Office readings

    • Not currently, but I’ll take that into account for future versions.

  • Linda

    I downloaded the app but it is stuck on Easter Sunday and does not update. I have the latest Apple update. Any fix?

    • Easter is a season in the liturgical calendar, so it’s not stuck on a particular day. 🙂

  • Christine Anderson

    For the last couple weeks, the Old Testament reading is no longer included in the daily readings. How can I get them back!?

    • At times, the Old Testament readings are from the Apocrypha, which isn’t offered in the app right now.

  • Fr. Don

    I use this app daily and love it, but the voice recordings never complete to the end of each reading. This is very frustrating (especially when driving). Can you fix this?

    • This is usually caused by a spotty internet connection. Not too much I can do about it at the moment, unfortunately.

      • Don Shepson

        I don’t think this has to do with poor internet reception: I have 5 full bars and LTE when I use this app. The playback never makes it to the end of any of the readings. Its very frustrating. Does anyone else have this problem too?

        You said you like fixing problems… (see your opening line above). Thanks!

  • manderson

    To add to the below comments… The voice recordings always cut off before the end of the reading for me as well. This is very consistent and happens with each reading, every day, and has since I downloaded the app a week or so ago. I always listen in the car over 4G LTE. Of course, spotty connection could be the reason, but it is so consistent that it strikes me that this is not the cause. Here are some details that hopefully can help you troubleshoot…

    1. Occasionally when the recording cuts off there is an error message on the screen: “File Error: unable to configure network read stream”

    2. It always cuts off a few lines from the end. This is regardless of whether it is a long recording or a short recording. The consistency of *where* it cuts off is what leads me to believe that it is not simply caused by a spotty connection. After it cuts off I am always able to start the next reading without any issue and it plays until a few lines from the end and cuts off again.

    3. After it cuts off the “Play”/”Pause” button at the top does nothing.

    4. If you go back to the scripture listing screen and click on the same scripture again you are able to hit play and it starts from the beginning

    Hope this helps. The app is great and I’d love to see this issue resolved.

    Thanks!

    • Seth Palmer

      I have had the exact same issues as manderson. I enjoy listening to the readings on this app in my car on the drive into work and would love to get all the way through it. Unfortunately, all 3 of the above error messages or components happen each time I try to listen to the passages, whether on a WiFi connection at home, or on LTE cellular connections with 5 bars.

      Thank you so much for developing this app – and thank you in advance for working to fix the issues here 🙂

  • Phoebe Love

    I love this app. and use it everyday but the last 2 days it will not load in either my phone or I-pad. I’ve tried re-loading it from I tunes but it still won’t work. Any suggestions. It’s the one app. I use everyday!

    • I’ve had some trouble with my server, but I’m looking into it and it should be working for now.

  • Philip

    The app needs serious fixing. The audio reading stops after about 80% complete. Now the Scripture reference numbers that are in the list and on top in the heading, are out of sync with the actual passage that comes up. Correct and update please.

    • I’ve been tracking down the audio issue for a while and am working on a fix. Unfortunately, it seems to only happen in certain situations, so it’s hard to know what to do.

      Are you updated to the latest version of that app? I haven’t references and passages be out of sync in a while. Try refreshing the scriptures (top right of main screen) and make sure the proper date shows above the scriptures.

      Finally, please consider being a little kinder in your wording. I’ve worked on this app and released it for free because I want to give back. It takes a lot of knowledge and time to do something like this. If you would like to expedite the process through a donation so I can hire some assistance, I would be happy to accommodate that. Just get in touch.

  • Kirsten

    What’s going on with the app? The daily reading references are different than what gets pulled up as the passage. Frustrating! Because I have really appreciated this app for the reasons you created it. Please adjust/fix this bug so the app can continue to be used and enjoyed.

    • Thanks, Kirsten. This seems to happen somewhat randomly, so I’m trying to track down what’s happening.
      In the meantime, I’ve fixed the problem for today and it should be back to normal.

  • Leigh Ann Weber

    The app has stopped working with the most recent update on my iPad and iPhone. It opens, but does not display the readings. Please try to fix this, as I listen to the BCP every morning with this app. Thanks for your efforts!!

    • I’ve had issues with the service that provides the readings, as it sometimes shows no readings for the day. I’ve manually fixed it today and should be back to working like normal. Try tapping the refresh icon in the top right.

      • Leigh Ann Weber

        Good morning. Same problem with the readings not showing. Seems to happen after an IOS update. Can you fix it again?

  • Anne Lowry Pharr

    I love this app and enjoy using it daily; however, The audio recordings always cut off before the end of the section for that day. I get a message saying something about it being unable to configure, but I do not know what to do. Is there a way to resolve this issue so that I can listen to the entirety of each of the readings every day? Thanks for the help and for a wonderful resource!

    • Hi Anne,

      This appears to be a problem with the service provider I use to get the audio. I’ve been trying to work it out with them, but I’m going to end up having to rebuild that portion on a new provider.

  • Pulling Pastor

    App is great! Clean. Fast. Simple. Direct. One question. I swear the voice is the same voice actor who does “Dear Kitten.” Put me out of my insert and tell me . . .

    • Haha, some quick Googling makes me say it’s likely not the same person. I believe ESV’s narrator for the version used in the app is David Heath, whereas “Dear Kitten” is Ze Frank. 🙂

  • Dan McCarter

    I love this app and use it daily. I am having trouble when clicking on the arrow so the man with the nice voice will read it to me. It returns a blank screen and the only way I have been able to solve this is to delete the app and re download it. I was trying to demonstrate this to a friend yesterday when this happened.

  • Leigh Ann Weber

    Wont load today 🙁 Just looking at the opening screen… I’ve reloaded, re-started phone, etc… help? Also, have issue with recording stopping a verse or two before the end of the passage. Love your app and appreciate your efforts to get these bugs worked out.

  • Note to Logos: BCP is a good 32-bit app, which needs to be upgraded to 64-bit in order to be compatible with iOS 11 coming out later this year. After one installs iOS 11 to your apple device, all 32 bit apps probably will function. It may be as simple as recompiling the old app in 64 bit mode. It need not be rewritten in Swift; Objective C us still supported in Xcode 8.3

  • Caroline Norris

    Hoping you will update this app. It is the best out there for Daily Office readings. I use it everyday! Thank you so much for your service. God bless you!

  • Mark Wilhelm

    Are there plans to update I’d app for ios11? I am getting warnings that it will not be supported in future versions of iOS. I really like it . It’s exactly what I need. My wife and I use it together daily.

  • Tamesha Kirkland

    Hello! I absolutely love the BCP app. When I found it and found that it was on the same schedule as my printed copy, I was like YES! I wanted to thank you for creating this very simple app, as it has helped me with keeping my quiet times consistent. Do you plan to update it sometime? If so, quite a few of us are looking forward to it!

  • Jon Byron

    I’m getting compatibility warnings on my iPad regarding this app. I really like the app and so the question is are you going to upgrade it for the future iOS versions and, if so, when?

  • Kathryn Simmons

    I am very interested in any information on the update as well. Please consider pursuing the adjustments meeded to make this a 64-bit app…though I recognize making such a transformation could be a time-consuming endeavor. This Daily Reading app is such an asset to our fast-paced lives. Hoping…and praying…an update will be feasible for you!

  • Leigh Ann Weber

    I love this app and use it daily. Recently the audio files have started stopping midway through. They used to stop maybe a sentence or two before the end of the reading, but now they’re stopping much earlier. Does the app need to be updated?

    • Lisa Seppanen

      I have had the same issue with the audio stopping midway. I hope the app can be fixed.

  • Luke

    This is great, but it’s super disappointing that it is only for iOS/Android. May I help port a version for Windows-phone and in the future Librem 5 phone?