The new YouVersion Bible app for Palm’s WebOS platform was approved and released in Palm’s App Catalog early last week. We’re excited for this release and have big plans for future development on the WebOS platform. You can download the app now from Palm’s website (http://goo.gl/hcbO) or search for “youversion” in the App Catalog on your Palm Pre or Pixi.
This release represents our first effort at providing a robust YouVersion Bible application for Palm’s budding platform and should be considered a “beta” release for two reasons.
Functionality is limited to what is possible on our mobile website. This beta release is a simple embedded browser that makes accessing our mobile website (http://m.youversion.com) quick and easy.
We have big plans for future iterations of this application to bring it from “beta” stage to a full-featured native YouVersion Bible app.
We love our Palm users…you’re some of the most vocal and passionate users we have and we’re aware of your deep desire to see YouVersion be amazing on WebOS phones. We share in that desire, and are excited to see the webOS platform grow and expand so we can expand our development efforts. Look for more webOS updates throughout the year.
We’re launching a new Bible application today that’s compatible with most Java-enabled phones and it’s available for download now. This app will give you access to the entire Bible (41 translations in 22 languages) on any phone that can run Java apps with a screen resolution of 240×320 or 320×240.
This release is significant for many reasons, but the most important reason is that the Java Bible app will be targeting hundreds of millions of people around the world that live in less developed countries and don’t have good mobile data connections or powerful smartphones. This includes India, China, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. We’re most excited about the possibility of giving away millions of free Bibles in places where the Bible isn’t readily available.
Why is this app different?
Since most people associate mobile applications with smartphones like the iPhone, we thought it would help if we explained why this app is different.
Because of the basic nature of Java phones and the limited availability of mobile data connections, we’ve intentionally kept the Java Bible app simple. To accommodate as many phones as possible, we built two versions: (1) a “bundled” version that includes the ASV Bible and doesn’t need a data connection to read the Bible and (2) a “lite” version that necessitates a data connection to read the Bible.
Both the “bundled” and the “lite” versions can be downloaded directly to your computer and then transferred to your Java phone manually to allow people with zero mobile data connection the chance to have the Bible on their phone. But, of course, if you do have a data connection you will still be able to download the app from http://youversion.com/download just like all of our other Bible apps.
What is a “Java-enabled phone”?
Java (J2ME or Java ME) is the most ubiquitous application platform for mobile devices. Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Sony, Nokia, and others offer handsets that run Java applications. For example, if you have a Motorola Razor or a Nokia E63 (two of the most popular phones in the world), you can run Java apps. Even Windows Mobile devices can use this app.
How to Download
The easiest way to download the YouVersion Bible app for Java is to visit http://youversion.com/download from your Java-enabled mobile phone. From there you’ll be taken to the Java application store where you’ll be able to download the right version for your phone.
Phase one of YouVersion’s scaling process was completed a little over a week ago. It involved both hardware and software upgrades to help handle the increased traffic from both website visitors and mobile application users. You can read more about that process here, but we’re already seeing drastic improvements in up-time and reliability.
While the engineering side of YouVersion’s scaling was under way, we quietly started a project to scale our support infrastructure to better serve the millions of new users that are being added to the YouVersion community. With YouVersion adding more than 10,000 new users every day, it was apparent that our former support setup wasn’t going to work.
Nearing the end of 2009, we set out to overhaul our user support infrastructure so that it could scale to serve tens of millions of users efficiently and effectively.
First, we moved from GetSatisfaction to Zendesk (http://support.youversion.com). Zendesk allows us to support users one-on-one through a private ticketing system while maintaining an open forum environment where the YouVersion community can help each other find answers. Second, we assigned a single person to be responsible for ongoing support. This doesn’t mean that one person has to answer every support request. Rather, this person is responsible for making sure the YouVersion community is cared for, heard, and helped. It’s more of a leadership role than a “customer service representative” role.
The most important change has been who supports the YouVersion community. While we have a dedicated support manager to guide and lead in this area, we’re going to start leaning on volunteers to provide answers and troubleshoot problems for other YouVersion users. The volunteers we’re trusting with this role are handpicked to join this team; the YouVersion Community Champions.
If you’re interested in being a YouVersion Community Champion, here’s what we’re looking for:
- Used YouVersion for at least 4 months on a very regular basis
- Very familiar with the main website and at least one YouVersion mobile application
- Displayed the ability and willingness to meaningfully help other YouVersion users in the public support forums by answering questions or providing guidance
We’re excited about how this new approach to user support will provide value to the entire YouVersion community. If you’d like to know more about volunteering for YouVersion support or in other areas, go to http://goo.gl/9CkB. If you’d like to sign up immediately, go to http://goo.gl/XixQ.
With the new system in place, we’re confident that we’ll be able to continue to effectively support the ballooning YouVersion user-base as it grows into the tens of millions. And what’s more, we’re prepared to make constant adjustments and improvements as necessary to make sure the YouVersion community is always well cared for.
In our continued efforts to keep up with the growth of YouVersion in recent months, we’re scheduling some downtime tomorrow morning to spend some time upgrading our hardware. YouVersion will be down for an hour (or less) between 9am and noon CST. We’ll post from the @YouVersion Twitter account when maintenance begins and again when we’re finished.
Sorry for the inconvenience. We promise to work as quickly as possible.
For the past few weeks our team has been focused on bringing stability and reliability to the YouVersion infrastructure. You can read a few posts about the process here and here. I am pleased to announce we have completed the first phase of that process, and had a very successful and stable weekend…more here and here.
As you are aware, YouVersion is growing at an amazing rate – over 1/2 million new mobile users added in the last 30 days, and over 250,000 new registered web users this month alone! We are not seeing growth slow down, so we are also preparing for continual scaling (phase 2, 3, etc.) to be able to handle the additional users.
Finally, with all this scaling and infrastructure talk you might be thinking we have stopped ongoing development…well, that is not the case! Look for some fun and exciting releases and announcements in the coming weeks.
As you may know, YouVersion grew by leapsandbounds in 2009, and 2010 is already shaping up to be a record-setting year for Scripture engagement on the web and on mobile phones. January is on track to see more new accounts, more new Bible app downloads, more YouVersion.com unique views, and more time reading the Bible than we’ve ever seen before.
But with growth comes the challenge of scaling to accommodate it. God has brought together an amazing team of talented developers and engineers that have made it their single focus to stabilize and expand YouVersion’s infrastructure to handle the current load and prepare it for the increasing demands of new user-accounts, hits, downloads, and minutes reading the Bible.
Today we completed the first phase of infrastructure expansion and you should already start to feel the increased speed and better up-time from the changes we’ve made so far. Continued server and code-base optimization will take place over the next several weeks with ongoing evaluations and tweaks throughout the year.
As a side note to these challenges and our response to them, the YouVersion team is incredibly thankful for our users. You’ve been patient, courteous, helpful, and encouraging through this phase of growth and we don’t take that for granted. We know that God has big plans for YouVersion in the coming months and years and we’re honored to partner with you to see His plans come full circle.
(As a reminder, if you have questions, problems, ideas, or praise for the YouVersion team, you can post them to our community forum at http://youversion.com/support.)
Over the past few months YouVersion has been growing at an explosive rate, and for that we thank you! Many of you might not realize, but in the last 30 days we have added over 1/2 million new mobile users to the iPhone, Blackberry and Android Bible application and that continues to grow. In addition to those new users, we are seeing significant growth in mobile web usage as well as traditional web usage of YouVersion.com. We are excited to see so many millions of people interacting regularly with Scripture.
However, with the great news of new users…and people being able to engage in Scripture, the reality is we have had a few rough days this month, specifically on Sundays. As we see huge amounts of people using the Bible Application our core server infrastructure has not been able to handle the peak load. What we want you as our users and partners to know is we are very sorry for this issue. We are highly committed to addressing these current problems, and building a solution that will have the capacity to handle millions and millions of new Bible users each month. We have already made some major changes and improvements this afternoon, as well as initiated a plan to triple our server infrastructure.
As challenging as these past few days have been…we are excited and encouraged about the future. The idea of reaching hundreds of millions if not billions of people with the power of God’s Word is unfolding as a reality! We thank you for partnering with us and ask for your continued prayers and support as we continue this exciting journey.
We’ve been looking forward to this announcement for some time and I’m glad to be able to finally tell you about a new addition to the growing list of offline-available Bible translations for the iPhone and iPod Touch Bible app. Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, the New Living Translation is now available to download so you can enjoy it anytime and anywhere, whether you have a network connection or not.
We’re highlighting this addition specially because you’ll have a limited amount of time to take advantage of it. The NLT will be available for download for 90 days and will remain there forever (unless you delete the Bible app from your device, heaven forbid). Again, we want to thank Tyndale House Foundation for their generosity in making the NLT available offline for this time.
To download the NLT, or other offline translations, open the Bible app on your iPhone or iPod Touch (make sure you have a network connection) and tap the “More” option in the dock at the bottom. From there, go to Settings, then Offline Translations. Scroll down about half way and select New Living Translation from the list of options. Then tap Download Translation and the app will begin downloading the offline translation for you.
The download may take a few seconds or minutes depending on the speed of your connection, but once it’s finished the NLT will show at the top of the Offline Translations list. When you’re reading the Bible, to switch to an offline translation, just open the translation selector (near the top of the reader) and look for the translation that has the little icon to the left of it.
Thank you for using the YouVersion Bible app. More than 3.3 million people have installed YouVersion on their mobile device. Know anyone who could us a free Bible on their phone? Send them to http://youversion.com/download.
The YouVersion offices have been buzzing with anticipation for version 2.2 of the iPhone Bible app that has just been made available in the iTunes App Store. We’re excited to put this new version in your hands before the New Year because it includes some amazing new features! Let’s take a look.
When you open the new version, you’ll see a welcome screen that gives you the option to “Sign In to YouVersion.com” or “Create An Account.” If you choose not to sign in now, you will still be able to sign in later within the app.
Most of the new features in this version are related to the advanced Reading Plans options. The first time you open this section, you’ll see the option to “View All Plans” or “View Default Plan.” If you choose to stick with the default plan, you’ll still be able to go back and take advantage of the advanced features later.
Choosing “View All Plans” will take you to a list of all available reading plans from YouVersion.com. From here, you can sign in with your YouVersion.com account to see the plans you’ve started already or to start a new plan. Tapping a reading plan in the list will show you the details of that plan.
When viewing the details of a reading plan, you’ll have several options. You can view a sample of the plan (View Today’s Reading), start following the plan (requires sign-in), or stop following the plan (if you’re already following that plan). You can even read a description of the plan, see your start/end dates, percentage of completion, or get more information about the provider of that reading plan.
When you tap “View Today’s Reading,” you’ll see the list of reading selections for today which you can choose to read, along with the option to go to tomorrow’s reading assignment or share your plan on Twitter or via email. If you’re signed in and looking at a plan you’re following, you’ll also see check-boxes to mark off what you’ve read. (Your progress will be synced to your YouVersion.com account.)
Tapping a selection in the list takes you to a modified version of the main Bible reader. Notice the different dock at the bottom of the screen. That simple tool will allow you to jump between all the selections for that day. As you read, the app will track your progress for you. So, when you return to the list of today’s selections, you’ll notice that your plan is already checked off for you. If you didn’t actually read a particular selection, just uncheck it.
If you don’t have a YouVersion account yet, you’ll be able to sign up for a new account from anywhere within the Reading Plans section of the app or from the Settings page.
We hope the new Reading Plan features will help you meet your Bible reading goals for 2010. As always, to download this application or the YouVersion Bible app for Blackberry or Android, go to http://youversion.com/download from your mobile device.