Catholic News Live

CNL - iPhone App Screenshot
CNL App - iPhone Map Screenshot
CNL App - iPad App Screenshot

The most up-to-date and comprehensive source of Catholic News on the your phone or tablet.

I like to stay up to date on the latest news and blog posts from high-quality blog sources around the Catholic Church. So, when ManagingNews was released on top of Drupal 6, I created the website Catholic News Live. To get the data more quickly on the go, I wrote an iOS and Android App, CNL, in Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android, and released the app on the App Store and the Android Market (now Google Play).

The app presented some interesting challenges—both when rebuilding the online version in 2011 and when building the app for each platform—including the efficient retrieval and updating of a custom RSS feed and the display of geodata on a map, with pins for stories with geolocations attached.

For the website, since ManagingNews had not been updated for Drupal 7 by the end of 2011, I decided to rebuild the website using some custom code to pull in the news from all the aggregated feeds, parse out geolocation data (with the assistance of some Yahoo geolocation APIs), and provide the appropriate feeds for the app. Speed, efficiency, and error handling (especially with regard to invalid or semi-valid aggregated feeds) were very important and took time to implement correctly.

For the app, working with mapping APIs and the idiosyncrasies of each development platform presented some challenges, but my experience with other apps greatly sped up the process.

Highlights: 
  • Built natively for iOS and Android.
  • Written in Objective-C for iOS, and ported to Java for Android.
  • iOS App is Universal – works great on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
  • App integrates with CNL website to pull in and display RSS data and geospatial data.