[sword-devel] Chapter-centric browsing (was: iPhone frontend alpha screenshots)

Jonathan Morgan jonmmorgan at gmail.com
Mon Nov 24 07:17:53 MST 2008

On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 1:04 AM,  <seb.sword at koocotte.org> wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 07:05:28AM -0500, Ian Wagner wrote:
>> Please let me know any ideas/suggestions you have.
> Really nice !
> I have one suggestion you may find irrelevant: Don't cut on chapters but on
> books.
> I know that most (all?) sword frontend are displaying text chapter by
> chapter, and sword-API is probably build this way; but I think it's a very
> bad idea. Chapters and verses are a common and useful way to locate a text
> fragment, not a way to cut text. This create artificial separations. Except
> for Psalms, books are a more relevant separation, text was not initialy
> written in small parts.
> This may requiere a more tricky usage of libsword, keeping 3 or 4 chapters
> at the same time to display text as if it was the full book.

I think this is in general a good idea (chapters are fairly artificial
and far too often the chapter breaks are off by a verse).  I'm not
even sure that having divisions on books is a good thing.  However,
one thing that does need to be considered if any application goes that
way (and I know of no Sword application that has, though it has been
considered for BPBible and is still sort of on the TODO list) is how
scrollbars and paging should work.  I know I sometimes go to the start
or middle of a particular chapter and:
1. Use the scrollbar as a rough measure of how long the chapter is.

2. Scroll or page up/down to get to the start/end of a chapter from
where I am.  While I agree chapter divisions aren't perfect, it is
generally easier if you have been thrown into the middle of the
chapter by a reference to go to the top and then go down to establish
the context of the reference - this relies on scrolling/paging up/down
being limited by the end of the chapter, and I'm not sure how if at
all you can replace it.  Probably applications have or should have
shortcuts to go to the start/end of a chapter, but even if they did
Page Up and Page Down are wired in actions and "obvious", while doing
something special to get to the start/end of a chapter requires
thought, and I am busy focusing on the task at hand (establishing
context and remembering where I have come from), not on using the

I do think that in general removing the arbitrary chapter limitation
would be a good thing, but these considerations and others could be
important to getting it right.


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