[sword-devel] Why is OSIS preferred? Was Re: usfm2osis.pl

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 30 07:48:28 MST 2008

Adrian Korten wrote:
> Good day,
> I'm a newbie with OSIS. Could someone say why you would prefer one over 
> the other? Or how this relates to how Crosswire handles the files?
> ak
Just a partial answer. This is my opinion.

Why is OSIS preferred?
* The other formats that the SWORD engine supports have deficiencies. 
These are plain-text, GBF, and ThML. To me the biggest problems are:
    ** Plain-text is, well, plain. Most of the e-texts that we make into 
modules have a more robust markup.
    ** GBF is not xml. It does not separate presentation from content. 
Cross-references are ad-hoc.
    ** ThML is xml, but is layered upon HTML. It does not separate 
presentation from content. Cross-references are ad-hoc.
* CrossWire members helped define OSIS as the format of choice for 
Bibles and Commentaries.
* OSIS is a growing, maturing standard, addressing the short-comings of 
other popular formats.
* OSIS is being adopted by publishers and Bible societies.
* SWORD developers are all time-limited volunteers. Most are focused on 
front-end development. While we will continue to support the other 
formats, new module development is focused on OSIS.

Note: At the moment, TEI is being used to develop dictionaries and is 
the preferred format. OSIS will adopt TEI's dictionary definition some 
time in the future.

How this relates to how CrossWire handles the files?
There are several aspects to this:
1) Module creation
    All new Bible/Commentary modules are being done in OSIS.
    Also, updates to Bible/Commentary modules are being done in OSIS. We 
may see an occasional ThML update.
    With regard to GenBook, we are leaning toward OSIS.
2) Filter development:
    The SWORD engine converts module content to requested delivery format.
    The most actively developed filters convert OSIS to Plain-text, RTF 
and HTML.
    New capabilites are being developed for OSIS only. For example, 
today all of our cross-references are to Bible verses. We will be adding 
support for OSIS references to the same and also to specific works.

In Him,

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