iward or istake on Android OS?

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
wilsondn-p40
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iward or istake on Android OS?

Postby wilsondn-p40 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:52 am

Does anyone know if this is in the works by anyone?

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Postby RossEvans » Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:53 pm

wilsondn wrote:Does anyone know if this is in the works by anyone?


Not that I know of.

Since the iWard and iStake apps are based on the data exported from the Local Unit Web Site (LUWS), it is technically easy to download the data in vCard format and load it directly into your Gmail contacts, which then would propagate to your Android phone automatically. That would provide most of the functionality of iWard, which is basically a glorified directory.

Unfortunately, that workaround would seem to violate church guidance because Google Gmail contacts are hosted on a third-party server. Of course, since that guidance is published only on this forum one lesson is not to read this forum -- most members don't -- so you won't be accountable for violating the guidance. :cool:

Note: That's an exaggeration, meant half in jest. The restriction against uploading to third-party sites is also published in the LUWS terms of use, but I doubt that more than 1 percent of users ever read that fine print.

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Postby RossEvans » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:15 am

As a footnote, since I also am frustrated by the lack of ward-directory tools for the Android, I have been in touch with a couple of third-party developers about adding generic functionality to their contacts apps to provide local maintence directly on the Android device. At least one has accepted the suggestion as a future enhancement item.

Meanwhile, I have been experimenting with workarounds of my own, which are probably too klunky for most users to tolerate.

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Postby RossEvans » Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:05 pm

In the absence of a member-directory application for the Android, for my own use I have settled for now on using a spreadsheet app on the phone to view the export files. (I am trying Documents to Go, which is a commercial app, for general spreadsheet use. There are some alternatives.)

Any of several .csv files could be used, probably most easily by saving and formatting them as .xls files on a PC and copying them to the phone. For general membership use, the basic directory downloaded from the LUWS site would work for this purpose. This solution certainly does not provide all the functionality of a dedicated app, but at least the basic information is there for browsing.

Meanwhile, I also have loaded the leadership export files in a SQLite database on the phone, which has lots of flexibility for anyone who can write simple SQL at runtime. (Select the Deacons; select the home teachers of new converts; select the Primary parents; select the prospective Elders, etc.) I have actually done a lot of the back-end SQL work that solves many of the data problems in advance. But there is not a friendly GUI. The identical database file can also be used on PC, Mac or Linux platforms with a variety of software. I may decide just to distribute the database in that generalized form if there is interest.

It is tempting to try building a real app for the Android, but I would have to climb a big learning curve for the Android front end. So many ideas, so little time.

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Postby wilsondn-p40 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:21 am

Thanks for your ideas. I have been pretty happy with the importing of a .csv file into my google contacts. It is pretty simple to add them to a group and then deleting them once a month to add a new file is pretty easy. not great but it works, I just want to have the auto update functionality of directly connecting to lds.org ward list. Let me know if you hear anything else, I'm hoping that Android development takes off as more handset companies come out with Android enabled devices, i'm definitely a big fan of the mobile OS.

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Postby RossEvans » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:32 am

wilsondn wrote:Thanks for your ideas. I have been pretty happy with the importing of a .csv file into my google contacts. It is pretty simple to add them to a group and then deleting them once a month to add a new file is pretty easy. not great but it works...


Beware that if the source of your csv file is the Church web site (LUWS) or MLS, loading them into Google Contacts collides with Church policy prohibiting such downloads from being uploaded to a third-party server. Frustrating to know that, but there it is. :(

I believe this would constrain not only Android users, but also users of the Palm Pre, which can sync its contacts automatically with Google Contacts.

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Postby wonko » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:41 pm

boomerbubba wrote:Beware that if the source of your csv file is the Church web site (LUWS) or MLS, loading them into Google Contacts collides with Church policy prohibiting such downloads from being uploaded to a third-party server. Frustrating to know that, but there it is. :(

I believe this would constrain not only Android users, but also users of the Palm Pre, which can sync its contacts automatically with Google Contacts.


The Pre segregates the sources, it only merges them in the interface, so it would not automatically upload things to google contacts. Unfortunately adding anything directly puts it in your Palm category which is backed up on Palm's servers. So there is no real way to do it at the moment.

There would be two ways around this on the Pre. You can either have a program that keeps them locally and have it connected to the contacts program. Or even better, access a member's ward list LDS account directly from the phone just like a Google account so it can stay current without all the effort to keep it current.

Another variation might be to have some kind of exchange server account attached to a member's login that could upload ward schedules, contacts, and even have calling specific tasks pop-up. (Think financial clerk needing to reconcile the accounts, and prep for end of year)

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Postby Ryan Gardner-p40 » Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:38 pm

boomerbubba wrote:Beware that if the source of your csv file is the Church web site (LUWS) or MLS, loading them into Google Contacts collides with Church policy prohibiting such downloads from being uploaded to a third-party server. Frustrating to know that, but there it is. :(

I believe this would constrain not only Android users, but also users of the Palm Pre, which can sync its contacts automatically with Google Contacts.


You can turn off contact syncing on android so your contacts are not automatically synced. You can then use the free program on and Android market "vCard IO" to load in the vCard file you download from LUWS.

http://www.cyrket.com/package/vcard.io

vCard IO is an oss project hosted on google code.

Its interesting to note that the vCard file supports images for the users which the LUWS doesn't currently support spitting out in the vCard file. (shame)

So... there's an easy way to get the contacts on your phone if you are on Android - but you have to give up contact syncing if you want to do it without running afoul of official Church Policy.

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Postby RossEvans » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:18 pm

Ryan Gardner wrote:You can turn off contact syncing on android so your contacts are not automatically synced. You can then use the free program on and Android market "vCard IO" to load in the vCard file you download from LUWS.

http://www.cyrket.com/package/vcard.io

vCard IO is an oss project hosted on google code.


Yes, I have tried that app.

The problem, as you have noted, is that turning off contact syncing is ordinarily global, and syncing contacts is a very desirable feature for all my non-church contacts.

An Android user can also designate certain groups of contacts to be synced or not. But there is no way in vcCard IO to load the vCard contacts directly into a user-designated group. The developer has accepted my suggestion for such an enhancement, but I have no idea when it might be programmed. If you like that idea, go to the app's page and star Issue 15. A related feature for maintenance would be a function on the phone, not the Google web site, to delete contacts from a certain group so it could be reloaded from scratch in a batch update. (That would accommodate deletes from the ward list or other master database.)

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Postby mkmurray » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:44 am

Ryan Gardner wrote:Its interesting to note that the vCard file supports images for the users which the LUWS doesn't currently support spitting out in the vCard file. (shame)

I'm actually working on a piece of code that programatically downloads the vCards from LUWS and then injects the household photos in each individual entry automatically for you. I think I'm about done:

http://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2151
Many questions are already answered on the LDSTech wiki. Check it out!


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