[sword-devel] Android SWORD

mjdenham mjdenham at gmail.com
Wed Jun 9 05:28:17 MST 2010

Hi Troy,

I just thought I would mention that I have also been playing around with

I have spent the last few weeks creating a prototype bible viewer
application for Android, but I just noticed Troy's messages in this forum. 
I took a slightly different technical approach to you and I don't know which
is better and I also came at this project with the aim of creating a mobile
bible viewer I could tweak and improve rather than specifically to write an
Android front end for Sword.  By way of information I thought I would
outline my approach and what led me to start.

I have used Pocket e-Sword for many years but development has now ceased on
Pocket e-Sword and it is already looking a bit old, as is WinMob that it
runs on, so I started thinking what to use in the future.  Although I loved
using Pocket e-sword there were one or two things that I would have loved to
change if I had access to the source but the source was closed.  Most pocket
bible apps seem to be closed source and many charge money or depend on being
on-line so I began to think about writing my own.  I have been writing Java
code for a living since the 90's.  I looked at Java ME which unfortunately
is not supported by recent, popular, trend-setting phones like iPhone and
Android and started going that route but there doesn't seem to be much 
buzz around Java ME  at the moment.  I briefly thought of iPhone but refuse
to learn Objective-C, buy a Mac, and bend over backwards to get the app into
App Store.  Then I realised that Google have built Android primarily for
Java Applications and Gartner predict that by 2012 Android will outsell the
iPhone so I downloaded the Android SDK and am impresed by the application
framework Google have put into Android.  Incidentally I went to a
fascinating talk on Android by Reto Meier yesterday evening.

As Android hosts Java apps so well it seemed a good idea to use java front
to back so I downloaded the  jSword and sword-Common projects back-end to
serve the OSIS documents and started creating a Java front-end for jsword on
Android so I have now been doing that for the last couple of weeks off and
on.  I included the jsword and common jars in my Android app and simplified
the xslt template I found in bible-desktop and now have a basic bible viewer

Troy, I am interested to see that you use jni to access a C back-end.  Is
that right?  Does this give better performance or is there another reason.

In the front end I am currently using a TextView but briefly used a WebView
which has better html support. I may have to switch back to WebView.  I
tried to copy the PocketSword verse selection screen but failed so I am just
using 3 combos for now.

I haven't used Crosswire code before and it took me a while to get used to
OSIS and jsword but the code looks great and I am now familiar enough with
jsword to find my way around the necessary parts.

Here is a screen print of the current state:

For now I am still happily trying to improve on the prototype but I could
switch and contribute to a central project  with others.  My only aim is to
create a good open source bible I can tweak and that others may find useful

Best regards
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