[sword-devel] Bible Software Review

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Thu May 1 07:38:21 MST 2008

Jonathan Morgan wrote:
> On Thu, May 1, 2008 at 4:03 PM, Daniel Owens <dhowens at pmbx.net> wrote:
>> average users aren't familiar with regular
>> expressions. A regular expression builder dialog would be fantastic. 
> I don't agree with the regular expression
> suggestion.  It is true that most users aren't familiar with regular
> expressions.  However, regular expressions aren't a feature that most
> users will need to use.  I understand regular expressions well, and
> search the Bible frequently, and yet I have never had cause to use
> regular expressions.  I suspect that only people who understand
> regular expressions well will actually want to use them.  Most Bible
> searches are satisfied by multi word or phrase search, which is quick
> and easy and anyone who has used Google can understand.

I worked for 15 years for a full-text online retrieval company (that 
will remain unnamed) and being a geek at heart, I am very familiar with 
regex and other boolean searches.

I think that there are some regex capabilities that users do want and 
this is where a RE builder is useful. BibleDesktop has one for that 
reason. With it you can build:
Words that must be present (Most engines either default to implied OR. 
Some to AND. There needs to be a way to specify the other.)
Phrase searches (Some users don't know how to use quotes)
Approximation searches (e.g. look for words whose spelling is unknown, 
such as the name Abemalik.)
Wildcard searches (e.g. words starting with)
User's need a way of either finding all hits or the most likely hits. So 
we have prioritized search.

The short coming of most of our search engines is that it searches the 
entire Bible but verse by verse.
There needs to be a way to search only part of the Bible. BD provides 
this in the RE builder with predefined and user defined ranges.
There needs to be a way to search for against more than 1 verse at a 
time., as verses are an artificial construct. The RE builder does not 
expose this, but BD provides the ~n nearness operator for this, where n 
is the number of verses to consider.

Applications can hide the complexity of RE with custom searches.
For example, (BD does none of the following)
It might be reasonable to click on a Strong's number and then find all 
the verse that use it.
It would be good to have a "focus" ability, where a user can search the 
results of a search.
It would be good to have a "similarity" ability, where a user can find 
statistically similar verses.
It might be cool to have the ability to do a cross-reference search 
against commentaries, e.g. find all commentary entries that refer to a 
particular verse.

In Him,

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