Updated Gospel Library app for iOS: Behind the Scenes Print E-mail
Written by Emily Fairchild   
Wednesday, 28 August 2013

When the iOS Gospel Library team received the request for an upgraded app for iOS devices, they were eager to complete the task. It was time to do it. And it was time to develop and design it differently than it had been done before.

The app would need to be able to add new content, implement changes, and ship upgrades in a new way. Within 48 hours the team had drawn up plans for new development, design, and testing processes for the app’s structure, and came up with ten design principles to improve the app’s user interface.

The team posted a mission statement at their workstations as a reminder. The whole purpose for the Gospel Library app is to “deepen, broaden, and improve gospel learning and teaching by giving members mobile access to all published Church content in an easy and immediate offline experience.”

Most important was the platform redesign. To push out content updates without the app becoming unstable content is now added in a separate process; the user won’t need to install a new version of the app every time new content is published. For example, new issues of the Ensign, any corrections to content, other new additions to the library, etc., will appear the next time the user opens the app. When the next set of features or bug fixes is added, it will happen without interference.

The app’s platform also expands to fit new library content. Engineer David Weiss described how they mapped it all out. “We took actual note cards, one representing every publication the Church has ever produced, and made a place for each one in the system. If the Church were to make all of that material available, we’ve designed the app to fit it.” Mapping things in the real world helped the team create a better user experience.

This potential of the app is what excites developer Stephan Heilner. “When the app shipped,” he said, “my wife asked, ‘Well, now what are you going to work on?’ But we haven’t crossed the finish line. By shipping the app we’ve just crossed the starting line. Now we will keep working to improve the functions and features of the app.”

One of the feature details Heilner was particularly instrumental with was the content highlighting feature. After a concentrated effort on the highlighting feature, the app now highlights with a more realistic display of translucent colors, and the Bezier gradient style gives true scripture-marker authenticity. “It’s details like these that maybe not many users will notice, but they really make a difference.”


Weiss added, “We’ve found that people are annotating a third more than before. The designers on the team selected a more user-friendly typesetting that makes reading easier. They did a great job making the experience more realistic for users to study content.”

Throughout the development process there were over a thousand testers for the app. To help on such projects, volunteers should browse through and join projects on the LDSTech Projects page. When you join projects on LDSTech, you will receive notifications to participate in beta testing and other development. The testers for the iOS Gospel Library provided critical feedback for the app during the creation phase and they will be instrumental as the team keeps working.

Another great place to discuss the app is the LDSTech Forum. It receives almost-daily posts about various aspects of the upgrade and users are invited to go participate and learn from others about the app. To submit feedback for the Gospel Library app, send your comments and details about which device you’re using to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . On the other end of your email are Church-service missionaries Elder and Sister Gunn and Elder and Sister Smith, called to help manage and direct user feedback to all the right people and solutions. You can follow iOS Gospel Library pages on Facebook and Twitter for the latest app information and tips.

 
LDS Tools App Print E-mail
Written by Greg Duerden   
Monday, 25 November 2013

                                      

The LDS Tools app is available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry to get your directory information, event calendar for your ward, branch, stake or district.. Clerks and executive secretaries can download additional membership data and reports for their ward, branch, stake, or district.

This app is available in many languages. It is available in the Internet 10 languages for both iOS and Android, as well as in English, Spanish, and Portuguese for the Blackberry.  LDS Tools is currently only available in English on Windows phones.

LDS Tools is available on LDS.org and includes the following in the on-line drop-down menu:  Notes & Journal, Calendar, Maps, Directory, Patriarchal Blessing, Mobile Apps, All Tools, Newsletters, Lesson Schedules.

Clicking on Mobile Apps lists:  Gospel Library, LDS Tools, Mormon Channel, Bible Videos, Book of Mormon, LDS Music, LDS Youth, Scripture Mastery, Ensign.  Each app lists the phones (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Window phones, etc.) or platforms (Apple and/or PC) they are available on. There are also EPUB files of Church Publications for E-Readers.

The main languages availability for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, for all mobile apps are: Chinese,  English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

New releases are promised early next year (2014) for iOS and Android to include a new maps menu, allowing users to locate meetinghouses and temples; and the ability to update their household visibility settings. (Note: In some countries, due to privacy laws, members are opted out by default, and members will have to opt in to make their information visible in LDS Tools.)

 
LDSTech Church-service Missionary Profile: Sister Kylie Knight Print E-mail
Written by Rachel Brutsch   
Thursday, 09 May 2013
service missionary kylie knight

Sister Kylie Knight knew she would serve a mission, but when and where was another matter.

“It kind of got to the point where I was putting it off,” she said. “My dad brought it up; he was saying I should do a mission before school. I thought school first.”

Sister Knight attended Westwood College in Colorado for a year, where she studied 3D Game Art and Design. Then financial issues put her education on hold and returned her attention to serving a mission.

“God has a way of telling you, ‘No, you need to do it this way.’ You don’t want to argue with God; He always wins in the end,” Sister Knight said.

She turned in her mission papers in fall 2011 and was called to serve a full-time proselyting mission in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission. She began serving in February 2012, and after six months was transferred home to Utah to finish her mission as a service missionary.

“I was called out to Minnesota because there were people I needed to be with and be there for. Once I had fulfilled my duties out there, I was needed at home for other things,” she said.

 
LDSTech Broadcast: Introduction to LDSTech Print E-mail
Written by Rachel Brutsch   
Monday, 29 April 2013

Date: Friday, May 3, 2013
Time: 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time
Topic: Introduction to LDSTech

*Click this button to watch the broadcast live at 12 p.m. MST on May 3, 2013

Are you new to LDSTech, or would you like to learn more about using its features or how to get involved as a volunteer or Church-service missionary on LDSTech projects?

This month’s LDSTech broadcast will feature an introduction to LDSTech by principal engineer Tim Riker. He will give an overview of LDSTech and its purpose, the tools and resources available, and instructions on how to participate in the LDSTech community as a volunteer.

Included in the presentation will be information on using tools such as the wiki, forums, Google Groups, JIRA, Swarm, and the new iOS installer to assist with development, testing, and support of projects hosted on LDSTech.

How to Attend the Broadcast

To attend the LDSTech broadcast, click the Watch Now link at the time of the broadcast. If you would like to watch the broadcast in person, you may join us in the Riverton Office Building (3740 West Market Center Drive, Riverton, UT, Ground Floor, Zion Room A).

Each broadcast is recorded, so if you miss one, you can re-watch the recording at any time. In fact, if you arrive late to the broadcast, you can rewind the broadcast and play it from the beginning. See the Broadcast Archive to view previous broadcasts.

Asking Questions

Remote viewers can ask questions through Twitter during the broadcast. If you don’t already have a Twitter account, you can sign up for one at Twitter.com. When you ask a question, include the hashtag #ldstech in your tweet. For more information, see Twitter and LDSTech.

 
Ways to Watch General Conference Print E-mail
Written by Rachel Brutsch   
Friday, 05 April 2013

The 183rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will convene in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, 2013, with general sessions each day at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. mountain daylight time.

People can watch or listen to conference using a variety of broadcast channels:

  • Conference.lds.org: Video and audio in 16 languages.

  • Mormonchannel.org: Video and audio in English only.

  • Mormon Channel mobile apps: Video and audio in English only.

  • BYU.tv: Video and audio in English only.

  • BYU.tv International: Video and audio in Spanish and Portuguese.

  • Facebook.com/LDS: Video in English only.

  • Mormon Channel on Roku: Video only in American Sign Language, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. (Search for general conference under the “Spiritual” category.)

  • Local cable and radio stations. Visit www.bonneville.info for broadcast information, or check local listings.
  • Check out this infographic (click to enlarge) for more information about general conference and technology:

     
    LDSTech Broadcast: Clayton Christensen Print E-mail
    Written by Rachel Brutsch   
    Friday, 22 March 2013

    Date: Friday, April 5, 2013
    Time: 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time
    Topic: Clayton Christensen

    *Click this button to watch the broadcast at 12 p.m. MST on April 5, 2013

    This month’s LDSTech broadcast will feature a presentation given by Clayton Christensen at a devotional for Church employees in the Information and Communication Services (ICS) department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Blaine Maxfield, the Managing Director of ICS and Chief Information Officer of the Church, will conduct the devotional.

    Clayton Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth, and his ideas have been widely used in industries and organizations throughout the world.

    He is the best-selling author of nine books, including “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” which received the Global Business Book Award as the best business book of the year in 1997 and was named by the Economist in 2011 as one of the six most important books about business ever written.

    More information on Clayton Christensen is available at his website, www.claytonchristensen.com

    How to Attend the Broadcast

    To attend the LDSTech broadcast, click the Watch Now link at the time of the broadcast. If you live or work near Riverton, Utah, you can also come to the Riverton Office Building (ground floor, Zion Room A) to view the pre-recorded broadcast.

    If you are attending online and arrive late or miss the broadcast, you can rewind or re-watch the recording at any time. See the Broadcast Archive to view previous broadcasts.

    Asking Questions

    Because this event is being pre-recorded, Clayton Christensen will be unable to answer questions from remote viewers via Twitter.

     
    LDSTech Conference Postponed Print E-mail
    Written by Rachel Brutsch   
    Thursday, 21 March 2013
    The LDSTech Conference, previously planned for April, is being rescheduled. April will instead feature an LDSTech Broadcast of guest speaker Clayton Christensen. More details about that broadcast and the next LDSTech Conference will be shared as they become available.
     
    LDSTech Broadcast: New LDS.org Search Print E-mail
    Written by Rachel Brutsch   
    Friday, 22 February 2013

    Date: Friday, March 1, 2013
    Time: 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time
    Topic: New LDS.org Search

    *Click this button to watch the broadcast live at 12 p.m. MST on Mar. 1, 2013

    This month’s LDSTech broadcast will feature a presentation on a beta version of LDS.org search. Stewart Shelline, LDS.org solutions manager, will demonstrate this prototype search experience and answer questions.

    “Our current search has done an adequate job at helping people find things, but there were a number of areas in which we could improve,” Shelline said. “Through feedback and research, we discovered that people usually come to LDS.org with a goal in mind. For example, they come to prepare a talk or lesson, answer a question, or complete a task.”

    The new search offers a smarter search experience that is designed to meet the user’s goals. Among its new features are increased precision in locating specific content and clustering search results in categories familiar to Church members, such as scriptures, magazines, manuals, hymns, or General Conference.

     
    Directory 2013 Beta Testing Delayed Print E-mail
    Written by Rachel Brutsch   
    Friday, 11 January 2013

    Beta testing for Directory 2013 has been delayed. Thank you for your interest in assisting with this project. More information on directory updates and testing will be available at a future date.

     
    RootsTech 2013 Family History and Technology Conference Print E-mail
    Written by Rachel Brutsch   
    Tuesday, 19 February 2013

    The third annual RootsTech Family History & Technology Conference will be held March 21–23 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    According to its website, RootsTech “is a conference with a unique emphasis on helping individuals learn and use the latest technology to get started or accelerate their efforts to find, organize, preserve, and share their family’s connections and history.”

    Attendees can learn new skills from more than 250 classes, hands-on workshops, and interactive presentations at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

    New to RootsTech 2013 is Developer Day, a collaborative environment where developers can discover resources and trends within the family history industry. It will also include information on app building and marketing as well as tools and services from sponsors, vendors, and exhibitors.

    RootsTech 2013 also features the Developer Challenge, a competition to create an application or service that helps accomplish genealogical goals. The entry deadline is February 28.

    Pricing for a 3-day pass is $149 through February 22, then $179 through March 16. Beginning March 17, a 3-day pass will cost $219. A day pass costs $89, and a 3-day student pass is $39.

    More information and registration for RootsTech 2013 are available at rootstech.org.

     
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