iPad friendly Church websites and content

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.
jbh001
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iPad friendly Church websites and content

Postby jbh001 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:44 pm

I'm considering purchasing an iPad, and was wondering about it's usability for Church. I already have the scriptures and hymns on my iPhone. But it occurred to me that since much of the Church content I would be looking for is already available in some form or other at lds.org, that what might be better than a dedicated iPhone/iPad app is web content that is instead iPad friendly. This might mean:

  • Redesigning scriptures.lds.org;
  • More use of of HTML5, JavaScript, etc. and less use of Adobe Flash;
  • Being able to easily find and access the hymnbook and Children's Songbook in various languages, and with full music layout.
  • Possibly redesign of the Church's interactive music player such that it will work on the iPad or in any HTML5 browser without needing Adobe Flash.
  • Easier access to PDF content such as Church magazines and lesson manuals, and/or making these available in ePub formats.
In short, for Church, I'd like to be able use my iPad as a hymnbook and Primary songbook (in the language of my choice); for scripture study (in more than one language) and for following along in Gospel Doctrine; following along or teaching from various lesson manuals, as needed; using it to present the home/visiting teaching message from; watching general conference; interacting with the ward/stake websites and their associated calendars and directories.

The above functionality might be exclusively web-dependent, or a mix of web-based and dedicated app-based services. For the dedicated apps, I could see them functioning somewhat like iStake in that from time to time, you would download or update new content for offline use such as church magazines or lesson manuals.

Unfortunately I don't have the means to contribute to making any of this happen. I'm just sharing some thoughts about how I envision this technology being used from a Church standpoint.

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Postby garysturn » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:27 pm

I find flash applications very temperamental and often have to close and reopen those apps. The company I work for uses a lot of flash applications and we constantly have to close and reopen the pages. Flash might be OK for ads but it is not very stable for interactive applications. I would like to see the Church move away from flash just for those reasons alone.
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:50 pm

Oh, my. A post advocating church direction based on a single-vendor device that isn't even shipping yet, much less adopted in large numbers. Why does the phrase "carried about with every wind of doctrine" come to mind? :D

I would not expect the church to be making any changes until the trend is clearly established. Projections thus far have been varied. And the problem with moving to new standards is who is being left behind? Not to mention the headaches of trying to write to a "standard" whose implementation is quite varied.

I know HTML 5 can support off-line apps. And frankly, I think to meet the goal of keeping up with the Sunday School lesson, you'll find that an off-line app is better. I wouldn't expect the church to be scaling the servers for acceptable response times during the Mountain Time Sunday School block. ;)

From what I've seen, the church doesn't develop software unless they have to, or no one else will do it. They developed PAF when there was nothing else affordable. They stopped developing it when commercial alternatives came along. Given that the market is going a fine job with apps for the current crop of mobile devices, I suspect the church will put their limited resources into other ventures and any change will come about during routine re-design of the site.
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Postby RossEvans » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:22 pm

RussellHltn wrote:From what I've seen, the church doesn't develop software unless they have to, or no one else will do it. They developed PAF when there was nothing else affordable. They stopped developing it when commercial alternatives came along. Given that the market is going a fine job with apps for the current crop of mobile devices, I suspect the church will put their limited resources into other ventures and any change will come about during routine re-design of the site.


I am agnostic on issues related to either HTML5 and the iPad (both interesting but new). But I disagree with the generalization about mobile development. In fact, there are now several officially sponsored "community" projects on the table for mobile devices, despite the presence of some commercial apps and other free ones. Scriptures and the new Mobile Member project, for example.

There are probably other factors (perhaps trying to control security and content more centrally?) that might be in play in the decision to sponsor such projects. In any case, the new "community" development model, which is really Church-directed, is another possible venue. These projects are still not free (to the Church IT management), but they might leverage resources by recruiting volunteer developers to do some of the work.

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Postby jbh001 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:16 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I would not expect the church to be making any changes until the trend is clearly established.
So, this August then? :D

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Postby jbh001 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:33 pm

RussellHltn wrote:They developed PAF when there was nothing else affordable. They stopped developing it when commercial alternatives came along.
Unless you look at it from the standpoint of nFS being the next version of PAF, just pushed into cloud computing. Besides, I thought the purpose of PAF was to feed submissions to the original Ancestral File (which has morphed into nFS).

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:47 pm

jbh001 wrote:So, this August then? :D


The crystal ball would be much clearer. (Would tea leaves be against the Word of Wisdom?) :rolleyes:
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:55 pm

jbh001 wrote:Unless you look at it from the standpoint of nFS being the next version of PAF, just pushed into cloud computing.


I guess that's a alternative view. nFS is one of those things that only the church is in a unique position to do.


jbh001 wrote:Besides, I thought the purpose of PAF was to feed submissions to the original Ancestral File (which has morphed into nFS).


First I've heard of that. Maybe at some point it became that. But PAF 1 came out before the IBM PC - or at least before it became affordable for home use. PAF 1 ran on CP/M. I first saw FamilySearch(DOS) on a Epson 386 with a CD drive. As such, I think PAF pre-dates the time when AQ as we know it was even practical.

It would be interesting to hear the full backstory on that.
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Postby rickybloomfield » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:13 pm

I'm currently working on updating my LDS Hymns and Children's Songbook apps to have a single app for the iPad. I've got the basic functionality working, but there are a lot of quirks in porting to the iPad that I'm trying to work through. I won't make April 3rd, but hopefully later this year. The app will remain free as always, although I'm accepting donations (I'm trying to save up for an actual iPad for testing).

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:36 am

jbh001 wrote:So, this August then? :D


Or if we are waiting for HTML 5 it might be year 2022 :-)

Isn't that when Ian Hickson said it would be complete?


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