app store

The Mass, Explained by an App

Mass Explained Logo

The Mass Explained App for iPad looks like a pretty awesome app ("coming soon") from Agnus, LLC. I haven't seen the app in action (just screenshots), but even if it's just a bunch of static pages like an interactive book, it looks like the content is high-quality:

iPad Mass Explained App

I really hope the app function as good as it looks. If so, I think this would be a good template for other similar apps explaining sacraments, sacramentals, the Rosary, prayer, saints, the Vatican, etc.

Basically take encyclopedic knowledge of a Catholic subject, and marry that with some great illustrations, images, and 3D models, and make a very nice interactive app or iBook. I would buy the whole series!

Jesuit App for iPhone and Android

The Jesuit Conference today announced the release of the Jesuit App, a mobile app that lets people find Jesuit locations in the US, see Jesuit news, and view Jesuit prayers and spiritual works.

Jesuit App for iOS

The Jesuit Conference hired me a few months ago to build this app for them, and it's the third iOS app I've built, and the second Android App. I built the app on top of the open source Catholic Diocese App, and hope to continue making that project more flexible, and even easier for Catholic Dioceses and organizations to adopt for their own great mobile apps.

Quick Resizer - My first Mac App

I've created a few iOS and Android apps for mobile devices and tablets, but just a few days ago, my first 'desktop' app (for Mac OS X 10.7+) was released on the Mac App Store.

Behold, Quick Resizer ($0.99 on the Mac App Store):

Quick Resizer Main Screen

I created the app mostly because I realized I would often drag an image to Photoshop to simply resize it from something like 1024x768 to 500 pixels wide, constrained. Quick Resizer makes resizing JPEGs and PNG files super-easy, and everything can be done from the keyboard (or the mouse, if you're so inclined).

Developing for the Mac is a bit different than the iPhone, but Objective-C and the libraries included are very similar, so it wasn't like creating the first iOS app!

Why I don't develop for Android first

I developed my first iOS app about a year and a half ago, and it has seen over 2,500 downloads (it's a free app, and pretty useful, albeit only for a certain portion of people living in St. Louis, MO).

I developed my second iOS app (a companion to a news aggregation website that's existed since 2009) in April 2011, and in the first month alone, it was purchased ($0.99) over 300 times. In the months that followed, the app has consistently sold over 50 copies, sometimes more than 100, without—literally—any marketing on my part. Just an occasional plug on Twitter or at a conference. That's it.

I then decided to finally take the plunge and try my hand at redeveloping the app for Android (my first Java/Android project), and worked very hard to make the app run as good, and sometimes even better on Android phones (anything running 2.2+...).

Sales per app marketplace
Translation: Why I won't develop for Android first (no matter the marketshare).

The first month of sales have been more than disappointing; after 8 sales on the first day—most to friends who I specifically asked to download the app and test it*—the app has sold maybe one or no copies each day since, and all in the U.S. (The app has four five star reviews, the market page, icon, etc. are all very good quality—I spent a lot of time on the text, design, icon, etc., even forming everything to Android Market/platform standards instead of reusing iOS resources).

Catholic News Live mobile app for Android

Just wanted to announce here the immediate availability of the Android version of the Catholic News Live Mobile App. You can buy the app for your Android-powered device on the Android Market: Catholic News Live.

The Android version joins the iOS version that's been out for about a year now, as well as the website, all three in combination allowing you to follow the latest Catholic News wherever you are, on whatever platform you use! Read more about the Catholic News Live mobile app »

Here are a few screenshots from the app on an Android phone:

Catholic Apps make faith aids mobile

I'd be remiss to not mention a very well-written article in the Denver Catholic Register by Julie Filby: Catholic apps make faith aids mobile.

In the article, Julie does a great job explaining apps and their growing prominence in the lives of the faithful, along with some tips from Mark Hart and I:

Today’s technology offers Catholics many tools for praying, communicating and learning about their faith. One such tool comes in the form of “apps.” [...]

While members of the younger generation used to be the primary users of apps, driving sales and popularity; today all age groups are using them.

This market is still a moving target, and I'm anticipating some great new apps for the faithful—as well as some great updates to old ones—in the coming months. In fact, thanks to the generosity of @kliftonjk, I have two Android devices on which I'm developing an Android version of Catholic News Live!

Sanctifying Mobile Technology - #CNMC11

CNMC 2011 017
My best zen face. (Photo from Scott Maentz).

I just finished my workshop presentation at the Catholic New Media Celebration entitled "Sanctifying Mobile Technology." I talked about some ideas I have to help Catholic parishes and organizations spread their mission through iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices.

My full presentation was recorded, but I don't have the video yet. However, I do have all the slides, and tons of links, over on the presentation page here on Life is a

You can view photos from CNMC '11 in the linked Flickr group.

Apps I Like: BreakTime - Great for Desk Workers

Since I've started working full-time as a web developer a few years ago, I've probably spent more than 8 hours every workday (and a few hours most weekends) sitting perfectly still at a desk, moving only my fingers, and occasionally my arms, to type, move a mouse, and drink something here and there.

With reports that working standing up isn't really all it's made out to be (you still need to move around, and you're moving pressure points from your lower back to your lower legs...), and other reports stating that it's more about periodic movement and stretching that will help with musculoskeletal fitness, I've been thinking more about ways I can force myself to move.

Breaktime App for Mac

Catholic News Live App on the App Store!

Catholic News Live AppA companion app to the Catholic News Live website, my new CNL app has been approved for sale on the iTunes App Store.

You can purchase the CNL app for $0.99 here, or read more about the app (and see some pretty screenshots) on the Catholic News Live website. Catholic News Live delivers the latest Catholic News to your computer and iPhone, and pulls in news from over 50 different Catholic sources, every five minutes.

The App's highlight features are the ability to view news on a world map, and to share news via whatever social media you use. It's a very simple, but very powerful little app that will help you stay in tune with what's going on with the Catholic Church.

Archdiocese of St. Louis has a new App - Catholic STL

I'm happy to announce that my first iPhone App—Catholic STLhas been accepted by Apple for the iTunes App Store, and is available for free starting today!

Archstl Mobile App - Catholic STL Icon

The Archdiocese of St. Louis also announced the App this morning, and has a 'mobile app' section on the website with screenshots, an introductory video, and more information about the App. The App is free, so what are you waiting for? If you live in St. Louis, or are visiting, go ahead and download it now.

The App basically lets users find parishes and sacrament times/parish information in the first section, read news in the second section, and read and post prayer requests on the Archdiocesan website in the third section.