[sword-devel] Bible Software Review

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Thu May 1 04:54:11 MST 2008

On Apr 30, 2008, at 11:33 PM, Chris Little wrote:

> 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.


I agree with your comment regarding JSword's inherent lag. However, it  
is much less. With the infrequent releases of the SWORD engine and  
because the SWORD engine is not a moving target, it is possible to  
close the gap. Once JSword is feature complete, it will be easy to  
stay with the changes to SWORD.

By the way, we have full support for GenBook.

I'm really not interested in competing with SWORD so I haven't done a  
side by side comparison. The way I see it BibleDesktop and SWORD  
represent two different work flows. A user will find one more  
comfortable than the other.

Also, it is the user's judgment as to whether a feature matters or not.

The lag of BibleDesktop WRT SWORD include the following:
No Personal Commentary.
No significant persistence. BD does not remember where the user last  
let off.
No integration with dictionaries other than Strong's and Robinson's.
No ability to hide letter decorations (e.g. cantillation, vowel  
points, accents)
No ability to transliterate.
No search of more than one Bible at a time.

I'm not aware of any others. I am aware of these because people ask  
about them or because I want them.

Some day BD will catch up with these:
After our "any-day-now" release, I'll be working on adding Personal  
Commentary and lots of persistence features for the ELEPHANT release.  
To me, the ELEPHANT release will make BD full-featured.

Parallel search is fairly trivial and I just haven't gotten around to  

I've looked into letter decorations and transliterations and it would  
require using ICU4J, greatly increasing the size of the program, which  
I am not willing to do. I may add it as a plug in feature so people  
can choose to take the hit, but it will be a ways out.

BD has some distinctives:
UI that adapts to the OS. I.e. on Win95, Win98, WinME, WinXP, Vista,  
Mac, Gnome, ... it looks like a native application. This is a Java  
Nightly build.
Complete, up-to-date manual.
Full image support.
Full right-to-left implementation of the whole program.
Side-by-side visual diffs of same language Bibles.
Passage set view rather than chapter at a time. The user can show a  
discontiguous set of passages.
Robust Lucene usage: e.g. stemming for different languages, indexing  
of notes, of cross references, search for misspelled words, ...
Large TEI support. (currently part of the nightly build, but we are  
readying our next release)
Able to handle every beta module. (part of the nightly build)
The installer shows modules by type and language, where the language  
is not merely a code.
The installer tells people how large the download is, before they  
start the download.
Ability to choose a font for modules on a per language basis as well  
as a per book basis.
And for me, having a Mac at home (my windows machine died) and Linux  
at work, and Windows at friends home, I like the ability to run BD  
from a USB stick on any of these platforms.

We have two separate efforts underway to re-write BibleDesktop, that I  
am not a part of, that will add the ability for the user to re-arrange  
the UI to their own preferences and to allow plugin of added  
abilities. This latter is perhaps the most exciting as it would allow  
a developer to design a capability in isolation and allow users to  
optionally add it.

Working together for His Glory and His Kingdom,

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