I’ve volunteered as an app developer for the Bible Society of Myanmar for over 10 years. I’ve previously developed Bible apps for both iOS and Android platforms. When it comes to maintenance, it is quite challenging.
Using SAP software eased me a lot. However, on the Apple platform, due to Apple’s policy, which prohibits spam-like content, I’ve faced a problem for over two years. I’ve been unable to update or add new Bible apps because they are flagged as spam. I’ve attempted to use different themes and colors, but it hasn’t been successful. Instead, they’ve advised me to create a single Bible app that allows users to download any Bible version they prefer. As a temporary solution, creating an SAP-clone all-in-one app is straightforward. However, as I mentioned earlier, long-term maintenance becomes a significantly painful issue.
I’ve noticed that there is the possibility of adding or updating app content from local or internet servers in the future. Does this mean that SAP will support the system I described above?
In short, it’s similar to a Scripture App Administration Web Portal where the admin can upload USFM files in various languages. A single SAP app would then allow users to download Bibles in different languages, much like YouVersion.
Scripture App Builder now has the ability to create packages for translations that can be used in the ScriptureEarth app on the iOS platform. This app has about the same functionality as the individual apps that SAB can produce. I hope they will eventually do the same for the Android platform, since maintaining the hundreds of apps we have on that platform is frustrating and time consuming.
With the iOS Scripture App, you can create a container app which can download and “run” asset packages. You can see the description of this feature in the Scripture App Builder: Installing and Building Apps on Mac documentation. What you need is:
- iOS Container App - has a URL to a server which serves the asset packages
- Web server - server that displays a web page with a listing of asset packages that when tapped download the package
- Asset Packages - builds of apps as asset packages (all the resources of an SAB app in a zip file)
Here is an example of the Scripture Earth iOS container app. You can try it out on an iPhone or iPad (or Apple Silicon Mac). Scripture Earth already had a website which they extended to catalog asset packages published from Scriptoria and implements a web page which is viewed in the app.
If you don’t have a web server with a catalog of apps (most people wouldn’t), we have been working with a student group from California Baptist University to produce a web application that will work with Scriptoria to receive notifications of publications and display the list of asset packages in the container app. The project is mostly finished, but the documentation is not ready. It currently requires some hosting service (vercel, netlify, node on a server) and Firebase as the backend. We would like to switch the backend to Supabase instead and working on that).
We have multiple translations across 11 languages (more than 1 for each language). Where we have 13 apps on Google, we group them into 6 apps for iOS to avoid this issue. Some of our languages can group like this (e.g. isiZulu, isiXhosa, Siswati and isiNdebele are all Nguni languages, so we have 1 Nguni iOS app where we have 4 Android apps).