[sword-devel] Sword Project at BibleTech

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Sun Jan 27 22:54:10 MST 2008


Thanks for the report!! I would love to be able to have attended, but
alas, school and life schedules just did not cooperate this year.

On Jan 27, 2008 11:19 PM, Karl Kleinpaste <karl at kleinpaste.org> wrote:
> I thought to write just a couple notes on what happened at BibleTech
> this past weekend that was specific to Sword Project matters.
> Troy did his first presentation early Friday on Sword internals.  I
> wasn't there (I was listening to/participating in another presentation)
> but from others' comments I heard repeatedly, it went over very well.
> Olive Tree people spent time talking with Troy about using Sword
> software internally.  It wasn't clear to me from what I heard whether
> they had any further expectation that their use would extend to end
> products that would be seen by their consumers.
> Wycliffe/SIL are taking strong interest in Sword software generally,
> insofar as they are already generating Sword-format modules out of their
> existing reference materials.  Also, they are taking specific interest
> in GnomeSword, both generally as it is already useful on laptops, and
> more specifically for potential use on the OLPC, in which SIL is
> investing significantly for forthcoming field trial use.  The big deal
> there is whether the necessary libs exist on the OLPC, and if they
> don't, how much trouble it will be for SIL to bring the needed libs
> along for an OLPC-specific custom build of GS.
> SIL have commentary modules in which there are large blocks of text --
> dozens of paragraphs -- providing considerable overview of long series
> of verses, following which is single-verse-keyed specific breakdown and
> comment.  Neil Mayhew of SIL wanted to go over in some detail how this
> could be viewed with GS, and after some good bit of discussion, we came
> around to the idea of producing pairs of commentary modules out of such
> resources, in which a "fast" commentary would be the verse-keyed
> content, expected to track immediately by verse as the user navigates,
> while a "slow" commentary would be comprised of the larger overview
> section, that being in turn range-keyed to the entire series of verses
> under consideration.  For viewing in GS, the scheme would be to open the
> "fast" commentary in the usual integrated commentary window while the
> "slow" commentary would be opened in a separate dialog commentary
> window, with its synchronization button enabled.  Thus, both
> commentaries would track as expected, but the "slow" one would be kept
> at hand without ongoing change until the entire section under
> consideration had navigated into the next range boundary.  Frankly, it
> was lots of fun to hang out in the hotel lobby with 4 or 5 other guys to
> talk over and debate this sort of interface.

I have worked with Neil in the past up in Calgary (and Daniel too) on
this and other issues.  We never did quite reach a conclusion.  Your
suggestion here does sound promising, especially if the suggestion for
the Companion= option becomes a reality.  I don't see why it couldn't
be done, either, so that will be interesting to hear what you have to
say about it.  I'm also curious if he mentioned how their work with
the module conversion and other work has progressed since I was up in
Canada three years ago.  I never heard if they were actually using any
of the Sword front-ends or not.

> New users of Sword software like SIL present a lot of interesting new
> lines of thought to consider.  Having completely new insight into their
> problems is hugely useful.
> One possible configuration file addition was debated during this: A
> "Companion=<module>" specifier, so that one could automatically induce
> the opening of a second module when the first is accessed.  There is no
> expected implication of any change to the Sword engine by this; it is
> entirely a UI implementation issue.  But it has good application here,
> so that opening the "fast" commentary would also induce the "slow" side
> to come to life as well, and in some other areas, such as NET Bible,
> where its notes module is properly considered a companion module to the
> text-only Bible module itself.  Multiple companions are possible, too.
> On Friday, Troy opened his second session on Sword stuff by demo'ing
> some of the new web tools he's been working on, and I demo'd both the
> Windows UI and GnomeSword, and I believe we were quite well received all
> around.
> One criticism that we heard as we began to demo was from a woman who
> teaches Greek at a Dallas university, who complained of module
> repositories like ours offering old resources, specifically naming
> Matthew Henry Commentary as one she objects to.  Troy offered response
> to this along the lines that we'd be happy to offer any modern resources
> we can get our hands on, but that content providers prefer restricted
> access via copyright.  I spent lunch with her and part of our
> conversation included observations on having tried to contact content
> providers regarding access to their materials, but (often as not)
> failing even to get the basic respect of acknowledgment from them.
> I find this whole issue peculiar in light of having attended ABS'
> presentation on how they view the changes to the net.landscape which
> include their recent release of 28forGod.org, in which one can get the
> entire Contemporary English Version in 28-minute audio segments over 40
> days to hear the entire NT.  They're just giving this content away, and
> they consider what they've done to be revenue-neutral overall.  This was
> reinforced when I spent an hour or so talking with a representative from
> bible.org, producers of NET Bible, regarding matters of their internal
> political landscape and how it affects the wider availability of their
> materials.  They are neither gaining nor losing much by having
> distinguished their free Sword module (with limited notes) from their
> "premium" $20 version (full notes).  I guess there's some uncomfortable
> reality to be wrangled with there, too.
> Let me finish by saying that it was especially cool to meet Troy and
> others like Daniel in person and spend a couple days with them.
> Community is much improved when it is at least occasionally done
> face-to-face.
> --karl
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