[sword-devel] Bible Software Review

Jonathan Morgan jonmmorgan at gmail.com
Wed Apr 30 21:17:15 MST 2008

On Thu, May 1, 2008 at 1:33 PM, Chris Little <chrislit at crosswire.org> wrote:
>  Jonathan Morgan wrote:
>  > On a different point, if we genuinely believe that Sword for Windows
>  > is not or should not be undergoing active maintenance then we should
>  > probably remove it or de-emphasise it.  It is quite understandable
>  > that an average user like him will look at the website, find a product
>  > entitled "The Sword Project for Windows", assume that it is the best
>  > software offered by CrossWire for Windows, try it, dislike it, and
>  > then avoid CrossWire software in future.
>  The SWORD Project for Windows is the only full-featured frontend for
>  Windows. Indeed, it is probably the most full-featured frontend for
>  Sword, period. You can complain about the interface. I think there are
>  definitely easier to use and more polished programs (at least in some
>  respects), but they are all lacking features.

I don't want to get into a lengthy debate, but a full featured system
that is not used will not help anything.  I, for one, will not use
Sword for Windows in its current state, and I think you can see in his
response to it how the average user will respond.  [note that I have
considerable exposure to usability ideas, so I tend to view
goal-directed design and usability as more important than feature

>  Bible Desktop suffers the inherent lag of JSword behind Sword (so
>  drivers for GenBooks, for example, are still lacking I believe).
>  GnomeSword may once have been buildable on Cygwin, but it isn't
>  presently. And SwordBible certainly shows some definite promise, but I
>  think it's still a bit basic at present.

How about BPBible?  I'll willingly admit to bias here, but I claim
that it supports most features that ordinary users will actually use
(Install Manager style support is an exception, but that is currently
a work in progress), and does so in a way that I hope means users will
like it and use it.

>  Regarding the review in general, I can't help thinking we were a bit
>  cheated. We got low marks on support, though we've actually got very
>  good, prompt support at present (between email & the forums). I find no
>  record of the unanswered email he claims to have sent, so I'm willing to
>  place the fault on him (such as he didn't actually send the email, he
>  managed to make it look very spammy to the filters, or he acted like a
>  jerk (since I just delete rude messages)). His discussion of the forums
>  is just plain inaccurate.
>  I'm still pretty well certain that we have the widest selection of
>  modules among free programs, too, so it's a bit annoying that programs
>  who've copied our library got higher marks. It seems like we ought to
>  get a little credit for the fact that The Word, e-Sword, Online Bible,
>  and Zefania are all enjoying content that came from us.

I would have thought that e-Sword has more modules than we do.
Anyway, you can't really expect a person investigating the usefulness
of available software to determine whether it has been helped by the
work of others.

>  Only a 3 of 5 for extensibility? Based on his own criteria, he's wrong.
>  His assessments of the UI & searching are partly legitimate and partly
>  due to inadequate documentation (which is to say that he doesn't know
>  about the search functionality) or his not reading the documentation.

Again from the usability point of view, I claim that if a person
cannot use a feature, the fact that it is there does not help them.
However, I have certainly had no trouble searching with Sword for


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