Will Scripture App Builder be able to use my Scripture files?

Scripture App Builder can handle two main types of Scripture file:

  1. USFM as used by Paratext.
  2. USX as used by the Digital Bible Library.

Both formats consist of one text file per book.

In USFM, chapters, verses and paragraphs are marked by standard format markers such as \c, \v and \p. You can find the latest USFM definition here: http://paratext.org/about/usfm.

USX is an XML representation of USFM, used by Scriptures in the Digital Bible Library.

Which versions of Android will the apps work on?

The Android apps built by Scripture App Builder can be used on Android versions 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above.

Which versions of iOS will the apps work on?

The iOS apps built by Scripture App Builder can be used on iOS versions 10 and above.

Once the app has been built, how can I distribute it to others?

For Android apps:

  • You can share the app via Bluetooth, Wifi file transfer, microSD card, email, and publish it on the Google Play Store.

For iOS apps:

  • You can test the app with a selected group of users, then publish it on the Apple App Store.

Will people need internet access to use the app?

No. Everything can be packaged inside of the app, meaning that it will need no additional permissions like internet or file system access. However, that may change depending on how you handle the audio files (see further down).

How do we get the audio-text synchronization to work?

There are three different programs that can be used to create the timing files that allow the audio-text synchronization to work:

  1. aeneas can automate the synchronization, processing each chapter in a few seconds. Its accuracy depends on the language and the clarity of the recording.
  2. Audacity, a free audio editor, can be used to create timing files which are then included in the app. It is not difficult to do, but will take time.
  3. HearThis can record the audio and produce the timing files for you.

More details about each of these approaches can be found in the Documentation.

Audio files can get large. Can they all fit in the app package?

There are a number of ways to include the audio files. Which one you choose will depend on what works best for your distribution methods.

  • The audio files can all be included in the app package. This makes distribution easier because everything you need is in one file. However, for Android apps published on the Google Play Store, the package file is limited to 100 MB.
  • For Android apps, an external folder can be used, such as on a microSD card. This requires additional permissions for the app, but may simplify distribution. One possibility is to distribute a microSD card that has the audio Scripture files and the app. Feature phones could still use the audio files and Android phones would get the added benefit of the full app with the text and synchronized audio.
  • If Internet access is not a problem, the audio files can be hosted online for the user to download one by one when they are needed. Again, additional permissions are required. If Scripture has been recorded by Faith Comes By Hearing, it is possible to configure the app to download the audio files which are already hosted on FCBH’s Digital Bible Platform.

Since the raw Paratext files are included, can somebody access them by unpackaging the app?

It would be very difficult. The Paratext files are encrypted when the app package is built so that others cannot extract them to use for other purposes.

Will the app work with our complex fonts and scripts?

SAB allows you to package fonts within the app and is being used successfully with a wide range of scripts.

SIL’s Writing Systems Technology team (WSTech) has developed a system called Graphite which enables complex fonts to be displayed. For Android, the GeckoView viewer component handles Graphite font rendering in Android 4.1 and above. For Android versions 4.0 to 4.3, Grandroid can be used to make Graphite font rendering work, as well as fixing some of the font display problems that can otherwise occur on Android phones.

For iOS apps, we do not currently support Graphite font rendering.

Please try it out and let us know if you are having problems with a specific font or script.