Project: Relight as a Downloadable App in App Stores

This project has been underway for a couple of months, but it was difficult to find the time. Providentially, I was recently laid off. I’m doing everything I can to find a job, but in the meantime, I do find myself with a bit more free time than when I was gainfully employed and working 40 hours a week. Sarah and I will be financially alright for a while, as she’s working and we have some savings to fall back on.

As I seek to find a job, I’ve started work on a project I mentioned in another thread: making Relight into a downloadable app, particularly on iOS and Android, but also in the future for Windows and Mac.

My hope is to have something live at least for TestFlight around the time I’m starting a new job. We’ll see. Anyway, here’s a sort of punch list of things that need to happen for this to go live, together with some explanations for why these are important components. I’ll use this thread to update users on how things are going.

I should note that iOS is being prioritized because it’s what I’m capable of testing. 80+% of the work for iOS will carry over into Android, so it makes sense for me to work where I’m most familiar. Once iOS is launched, I’ll start on Android. If iOS takes 3 months to launch, you shouldn’t expect it to take another 3 months for Android to launch, since most of the work will already be done.

Make Capacitor Xcode App

This was actually shockingly easy to do. It’s already done and I’m able to deploy the app to my personal iPhone. The problem is that it’s lacking many native browser features (since it’s running stand-alone instead of inside of something like Safari or Chrome) that make it effectively unusable. But the basic concept of “make app run as native app” is already proven and working.

  • Status: Done, basically.

Upgrade to Nuxt 3 and Vue 3

The first step is upgrading the front end frameworks upon which Relight was built. Relight was built on Nuxt and Vue version 2 because that was what was available at the time. This will need to be upgraded before work can begin in earnest on a downloadable app because I will need to write a fair amount of new code to support certain features I believe users will expect out of a downloadable app. The upgrade will be a lot of work, but it will make writing that new code easier, and it will also mean less technical debt than if I were to choose to plow ahead in Nuxt/Vue 2 and upgrade later.

  • Status: In Progress. Full Bible study functionality has been accomplished. I still need to handle studying of other resources.

Redesign Settings to Feel Native

This isn’t a large project, but the plan is to make the settings dialogs feel more native to iOS/Android (respectively). I’ll be using a front end library for this like Ionic or OnsenUI, so it should go pretty quickly. There will likely be some need to stop this library from overriding existing styles, but I’m hoping that won’t be too big a pain.

  • Status: Started (a little)

Add Basic Support for Things Like Back/Forward Navigation

Creating an app means you lose all of the built-in browser features like back/forward buttons. I’ll need to add these for a minimum viable product (MVP) to be even remotely usable. This will involve a little design work in terms of finding a place for them. I’ll also have some other minor tasks to do like dropping the navbar enough so that the notch on recent iPhones doesn’t cover up the Omnibar, etc.

Once this is done, I should be able to put a functional TestFlight beta out for people to experiment with.

  • Status: I’ve started exploring this (simple footer bar with back/forward buttons exists and works), but won’t really have a full checklist until the other work is done and I am able to use it as a sort of daily driver.

Add More Complex But Important Features Like Support for Tabs and Tab Groups

This might seem like overkill, but without this support, you might as well just add the Relight website to your phone as Sarah demonstrated in this video. When you run Relight without all the native browser features, you quickly realize how much you’ve come to rely on them. Tabs and tab groups will be important. We may also add support for bookmarks so that you can save passages in the Bible and other resources and get back to them quickly.

When I start working on this, there will already be a TestFlight available

Compile Necessary Assets for an iOS App Store Release

Apple requires things like screenshots, app icons, descriptions, and a bunch of other things to actually go live. This will mostly be something Sarah does, so it may be done by the time I’ve done all the other work. At this time, we can go live, but possibly only with the KJV.

Secure Permission/Licensing from Crossway to Put the ESV in a Downloadable Relight App

We’ll have to see where we’re at with securing permission from Crossway to use the ESV in a downloadable app. Licensing the ESV is a non-trivial financial expense for Relight at this time, and if they will require more money in order to be able to license the ESV for a downloadable app (instead of just on our website/web app), we may have to delay until I’m able to make more money or we get enough users donating to cover the costs.

We’re planning to start discussions with them once we feel like we have a better idea of how much work will be needed on the previously listed steps, so that we can provide them with an approximate date for when we’d need the permissions/licensing.

We may decide not to launch an app on the App Store until we have this secured, since it’s a fairly important feature to a lot of user and the lack of it could cause the app to get buried in search results on the App Store, since many will simply not be interested in an app that only has the KJV. For what it’s worth, dedicated users will still be able to get the TestFlight beta and use it with just the KJV (I believe we can have up to 1k beta users).

  • Status: Pending more dev work to get a sense of scope so that we don’t start these negotiations too early.

Create Android Project and Acquire Testers

Once iOS is live or nearly ready for being live (just pending ESV licensing), we can work on the Android app. I don’t own an Android device, so I’ll mostly be working in a simulator. We’ll initiate a big push to try to get testers for Android so that we can feel confident the app is stable and ready before we release it to the Play Store.

Status: Not started, although please feel free to reach out with your contact info so we can alert you if you are interested in becoming an Android beta tester.


Honestly, I’m really excited to be working on this again and I cannot wait to get an app out. I’m going to be working on this as much as I can between looking for work and other responsibilities. We appreciate your patience and we’re hoping it pays off really soon.

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Exciting news, brother! Prayers for you in this endeavor and in finding a new job.

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Prayer as you and the family transition this change. Aside from the layoff news This is a very exciting update. Looking forward to what’s to come!

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Continuing to pray for you all

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Exciting news, David! I’d be happy to beta test on Android and can likely rally up some others from our church if needed. Relight is a fantastic resource and I hope it’s a successful project, both technically and financially.

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