[sword-devel] WWW interface wish list

Rev. Michael Paul Johnson sword-devel@crosswire.org
Fri, 28 Feb 2003 10:00:22 +1000

1. Preservation of poetry & prose formatting.

2. Easy import of text from OSIS or GBF.

3. Can be run on a web hosting account without root access (like eBible.org or RainbowMissions.org). It can be implemented in Gnu C++, Perl, or a few other languages, but I have to be able to easily adapt it with respect to URIs, directories, and the actual user name it runs under.

4. Portable enough that many people can easily add it to their sites.

5. Configurable UI language as well as support for Scriptures in various languages.

6. Native support for other than the KJV versification scheme (i. e. verse bridges as in the Tok Pisin Buk Baibel and many English paraphrases, the Greek Majority Text versification, the UBS4 versification, etc.). This is admittedly a feature of the engine more than the interface, but it affects the interface.

7. (But not least!) Absolute accuracy in the rendering of the text.

Point #1 may require some people to reprogram their brains with respect to Scripture. You might think that Scripture is a set of neatly nested Testaments, books, chapters, and verses. That is only partially correct. Scripture is more correctly viewed as a collection of books and letters written in poetry and/or prose with paragraphs, sentences, and poetry verses. There are also the Psalm titles that really aren't part of verse 1, but are part of the chapter. Many Bible translations add section titles to help you find your place that aren't part of the Bible text.. The logical divisions of these two views do not conveniently nest in XML style, except at the Testament and book levels. You cannot conveniently nest both views together. Indeed, one chapter in John really starts in the middle of a sentence, the way I read it in Greek. One or the other view has to be made dominant, and the remaining view relegated to "milestone" status. Which makes more sense depends on your display and lookup models. Making the paragraph and poetry structure dominant makes proper display easier. Making the versification structure dominant makes verse lookup easier. A milestone for a verse marker is easy: it is just a tag that says a certain book, chapter, and verse starts at this point, but does not contain the verse text. A milestone for a paragraph basically says "a new paragraph starts here" but does not contain the text of the paragraph. Likewise a milestone for a verse says "a verse initial line starts here, and subsequent lines should be indented" or "a verse secondary line starts here, so indent it a little and indent wrapped lines more." Take a look at a printed NIV or at http://eBible.org/web/web.pdf for examples of the formatting that I'm talking about. GBF really uses milestones for both (and is a bit modal even there, because proper interpretation of paragraph and line end markers depends on if a poetry mode or prose mode tag was read last).

Just some food for thought...

Rev. Michael Paul Johnson
Servant of Jesus Christ
President, Rainbow Missions, Inc.
Senior Editor, World English Bible
http://eBible.org/mpj/   mpj@eBible.org
Phone: 011+675+737-4519