[sword-devel] Unicode Bible program

sword-devel@crosswire.org sword-devel@crosswire.org
Fri, 25 Feb 2000 18:12:22 GMT

Without any real knowledge of Unicode, I would like to add my support for
moving Sword (and BibleTime) to Unicode at some point relatively soon.  For
those of us that only need ASCII, it will cost us a little in processing
and storage, but in order to have a product that is useful for more people,
I think the "cost" is acceptable.

I think that the direction should not be a knee-jerk reaction, but should
be planned and phased in when appropriate.

The only down-side I see is that we may cause ourselves to be out of the
realm of possibilities for current generation Palm-Top systems, or older
desktop systems that some missionaries, clergy and others may be using.  We
may already be out of range of those platforms anyway, but I thought I
would bring it up as an issue.

Paul Gear writes:

> Joel Mawhorter wrote:
> > On Thu, 24 Feb 2000, Troy A. Griffitts wrote:
> > > > Since SWORD is written in C++, Unicode support would have to be done with a third
> > > > party library. Using a library would allow processing of Unicode text but there
> > > > isn't any consistent way to render Unicode text across platforms. I'm not really
> > > > familiar with the SWORD code; would anyone care to comment on how easy it would
> > > > be to subclass SWText to create a Unicode text class? Does anything in the
> > > > parent classes assume 8 bit chars?
> > >
> > > I'm sure we would all love for this project to support unicode.  If I
> > > knew anything technical about unicode I'd comment on if there is
> > > anything that would hinder you from subclassing SWText and creating your
> > > own.  I believe the code is modular enough so that if say, the search
> > > method did ASCII specific things like the call to strstr(...), you may
> > > still override the search method in your own SWText subclass and provide
> > > unicode searching algorithms.
> > >
> > > I would love to learn more and take out all 8bit dependencies to help
> > > you, but it's just a question of time.
> >
> > I understand that completely! I don't expect you to put aside what you're
> > doing to look into the Unicode issue. There are a lot of people who need SWORD
> > who don't need Unicode. I am reading through the Unicode standard now and
> > experimenting with different options. If there is anyone on this list who is a
> > Unicode expert, I'd really appreciate some help in understanding some of the
> > issues involved.
> >
> > I realize that SWORD is quite modular, however, since there would be very
> > little code shared between the ASCII portion of SWORD and any Unicode
> > extensions, I'm not sure that adding to SWORD would be the best option.
> > Besides Java provides some very compelling reasons to use it for Unicode
> > support. I was playing around with a Java Swing demo program today and I
> > inserted some Hebrew characters into an English text string. Not only did it
> > display them but it got the right to left order correct without me having to do
> > anything. Java has a lot of things like that built in that would need to be
> > done manually in C++.
> Some more comments (i am not an expert, but i've looked into it a little):
> - 7-bit ASCII is a subset of Unicode.  If you use UTF-8 encoding (not what Java uses,
> but what XML uses), then all of the 7-bit codes convert over directly.
> - Eventually all of Sword _must_ support Unicode, because that is the way the Web is
> going, given that XML is defined to be Unicode, and currently the best standards for
> text markup use it.
> Because of this, i believe that adding to Sword is the best option.  If Troy's Java
> bindings can be made to work, then there is no reason we can't use a Java frontend
> plugged into the Sword libraries.  (That would make me a much happier and more
> productive programmer, too.  :-)
> > > > Troy, would
> > > > it be possible to include new software like this under the SWORD umbrella?
> > >
> > > Of course.  That's what CrossWire is for:  to sponsor opensource
> > > ministry projects.
> >
> > Great. I'm not interested in forging out on my own even if a program seperate
> > from SWORD/BibleTime is needed.
> >
> > ...
> > > there is a cvs module: jsword that you can checkout that include many of
> > > the sword classes ported to java.  I've done quite a bit more that I
> > > have not yet checked in.  I was doing it for fun on the bus ride to
> > > comdex last year and have since lost my laptop nic pcmcia card.  I'll
> > > move it to a floppy and check it in if anyone is interested.
> Definitely interested, Troy.

   Darwin Gregory

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