So—apropos of nothing…
What do you look for in a devotional app?
When I say devotional app, I’m thinking of something like, say, the Forward Movement app for the iDevice prominently featured in my sidebar. It contains the Forward Day by Day devotional and it has the Episcopal Daily Office on it as well as some other stuff. I know Church Publishing has got an app out there as does the Church of England.
What’s your sense of these things? Have you used them? Do you like them? What do you like most? What really annoys you about them? What’s that one thing that would make it even better? More features or less features?
The one thing I want in one of these apps would be music for singing whatever devotion is being done. I understand it can be tricky to get all the copyright permissions, but I want so badly a convenient tool for singing the entire daily office.
The most useful BCP app I’ve seen so far is Electronic Common Prayer. You get to bookmark favorite Psalms and canticles and services, and can access every reading and the Offices. It has major problems though – it’s $10, which is way too expensive, and the thing STILL hasn’t been updated at all – it’s still on version 1.0.
I’d like to use the Church of England’s app, but it requires a subscription.
I wish TEC would be on the ball about this stuff – you can find thousands of free, accessible, aesthetically tasteful Bible apps, but none for the BCP or the Offices?
One stop shop. I don’t want an ap that directs me to a web site for this material and another for that. I want it pulled together and served up, or I might as well use a book. (Which is what I’m going to do anyhow, let’s face it.) It should include the offices, as the basic standard for devotions, and other material both as separate and as options to plug into the offices as appropriate. (So, if I’m praying the office with my bound BCP, I could use the ap to add in the antiphons, indexed to find the appropriate ones for the season/day Or, if I’m praying the office from the ap, the appropriate antiphons would be inserted into the body. This could be done conservatively, as with antiphons, or extensively. Forward Movement’s Day by Day meditations could be plugged in after the second canticle, for instance, or between creed and the Our Father. All of this, of course, would be pre-set but also able to toggle on the fly. So you could normally have the office served up with full options, but any given day you could turn off the bells and whistles without changing your default.
Or, even better, I could just use a book…
I think this is actually an argument against a one-stop-shop app. Like Aaron, I will probably always use a book for the office. An app might work best for individual short prayers, like those in the St. Augustine’s prayer book, rather than something more formal. In fact, I might actually use an app like that to find a topical prayer while waiting in line somewhere or riding the bus, etc.
Well, for one, Android compatibility. Two, aesthetically pleasing. So many apps are really quite ugly, or they just haven’t been updated in forever so they don’t look quite right. Open source would be nice, I feel like that’s fitting for a church-related app.
I think the best way to go for devotional apps is to configure it so it’s ready to go for a beginner so they can jump right in, but to give it plenty of options more tucked away for someone who knows what they like.
Android compatibility is pretty much a must, Windows Phone compatibility would be nice. Actually, I don’t use any devotional apps at the moment partially because I don’t know of any for Android. It would also be nice if they unobtrusively popped up a note each day with a line or two of something either from the psalms or listing the saint of the day or something, since it’s easy to forget an app that never calls attention to itself.