[sword-devel] OSIS:What is the future? Who is using it now?

Kahunapule Michael Johnson kahunapule at mpj.cx
Mon Mar 6 23:06:48 MST 2006

L.Allan-pbio wrote:
>> Please, any of you that have the time, read the manual and provide
>> revisions and comments. As they are actively working on OSIS 2.5, now
>> is a good time.
> Based on your reading, would the upgraded osis spec be usable to
> prepare a module that could be used to generate a printable Sharing
> Bible tract, for example? Back in late 2004, I tried to use osis 2.x
> to prepare such a tract.
It could be used for that, sort of... but I'm not sure why you would, or
what you would print the tract with after you were done, unless you want
to write software for that, too. Is the objective to create a tract or
to create an OSIS document for the sake of using OSIS? If I were going
to write a printable Sharing Bible tract, I would want the end product
to be PDF. Working backwards from there, I would choose an appropriate
tool to generate that PDF file, like OpenOffice.org Writer. You could
cut & paste Scriptures from The Sword Project, draw or insert
appropriate graphics, etc. Then punch the PDF button, and look at the
end product. You could post the PDF on the web directly, or tell OO
Writer to save the document as HTML, and behold, another format from the
same source. All the while, you remain blissfully unbothered by the
intricacies of the underlying formats (OSIS, Sword Module, OASIS Open
Document Text, etc.). You would have used XML, to be sure, since Open
Document Text is just zipped XML, but you would not have had to hand
edit it.
>> From then until now, I don't think the osis spec changed materially (not 
> including the upcoming spec).
> The idea was to have a format from which transforms could be used to
> generate webpages and matching .pdf's for printing duplexed bi-fold
> output. The content was roughly 2/3rds Bible verses and 1/3 "prose".
> My impression was that if it could be done, the markup of the osis
> itself wouldn't be all that different from preparing a General Book
> ... lots of verses, but not any versification structure.
> http://www.bibleinverse.org/sharingbibles/sb12/Sb2FrontPage.html  (draft)
> At that time, it seemed osis wasn't appropriate because that
> functionality wasn't available yet, at least based on the feedback I
> got from the osis list. Has that changed?
Not really. You could do it, but you would be using OSIS in ways that it
wasn't designed to be used.
> The more general question would be ... is the upgraded spec
> appropriate for things like commentaries and "General Books" such as
> SAOA, SME, and/or "The Practice the Presence of God"? Does it have
> capabilites for "page markup" to guide a transform for printing?
OSIS is designed for Scriptures and commentaries on Scriptures. Its
strong point is Scriptures, not general books. It has no page markup for
printing transforms. That isn't its purpose. It is for holding content
and meaning-based markup, not presentation-based markup. If you want
presentation-based markup, look at OASIS, TeX, the Scribus XML format,
or something like that.
> Or am I uninformed and is osis not intended for that kind of module?
I think OSIS is not intended for that kind of module, really. Correct me
if I'm wrong... I could easily have missed something, since my reading
of the specification was purely checking for suitability in encoding the
Holy Bible and some very closely linked peripheral materials, like front
and back matter. You could do a general book in OSIS, but why? Wouldn't
OASIS be better for that?
> Was the "missing pieces" more a matter of transforms? Can GBF do a
> General Book?
GBF was never designed to do a general book. If the book were simple
enough, you could do it, but that is clearly not the right tool for the
job. GBF is a very old (in computer years) format designed to be a
common source for very simple Bible layouts to convert to plain text,
HTML, XML, RTF, TeX, USFM, and various Bible study software formats. By
simple Bible layouts, I mean supporting book, chapter, and verse marks,
Titles of several sorts, a couple of word attribute tags, some
introductory text, footnotes, and canonical Scripture text laid out in
poetry and prose format. I wouldn't use GBF to write a general book. I
would use it to generate OSIS rather than generate OSIS directly. (My
current GBF to OSIS converter is in need of update when I get around to
it, but it generates something most OSIS users would consider reasonably
close to the current OSIS.)
> Can osis be used to convert much of the content of CCEL which uses
> (mostly?) ThmL?
Probably... but it may take some manual labor. Would it be worth it? If
some compelling OSIS applications come along later, maybe it would be
worth it. It would probably be better to wait for OSIS 3.0 for that,
though, just to see what happens.
> If not, is such capability envisioned for osis 2.5 or subsequent versions?
There are others who are more qualified to answer that. Chris?

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