[sword-devel] OSIS Users Manual considered confusing

Kahunapule Michael Johnson kahunapule at mpj.cx
Sat Mar 3 19:09:37 MST 2012

On 03/03/2012 02:55 PM, Matěj Cepl wrote:
>> Wrt USFX - this is simply a XML-fied form of USFM and adds very little
>> to the discussion. It is essentially a structureless mess, replacing
>> each USFM tag with a XML set of tags. If I did not have OSIS, I would go
>> ThML, but certainly never USFX.
> Understood, I will leave US* formats on back burner. Seems like Michael tries to “sell” his preferred format, to which I will resist.

I'm really not trying to sell anything. I make no money on file formats, and it really doesn't affect me one way or the other if you use it or not. I'm just trying to share good advice based on my experience. Take it or leave it.

The main beauty of USFX, in my opinion, is that it adds very little complexity, and preserves the existing structure of USFM. The beauty of USFM is kind of like the superiority of VHS over Betamax. You can argue the "technical merits" of OSIS over USFM until you are blue in the face, and maybe be right in some ways, just as Betamax was technically superior to VHS, but Betamax lost. That is because VHS costs less to implement and gained a vast following in terms of content suppliers and consumers. USFM,
USFX, and USX are superior to OSIS for the same reasons. The two formats, USFM and OSIS, at least as initially conceived, were fundamentally incompatible. Now, I can see a way to make it work by using the Crosswire OSIS wiki as an overriding document with respect to what the best way to make OSIS for Sword modules is. That is fine, because I don't know of any other use of OSIS that touches any project I'm working on. I probably touch some nerves here because of the proud parents of OSIS on this list. That
is their baby. Sometimes you need to change the diapers, and if you don't notice the smell...

Anyway, even Peter sees some value to USFM. If nothing else, the fact that hundreds of Bible translations are in that format or something easily convertible to that format means a lot to me. There are at least 4 software packages for editing and producing USFM in the Bible translation process, and many publication paths that work with USFM and its easy derivatives. Show me that kind of support for OSIS. It should be there at this age of a standard, but is not. Why?

Of course, you can rightly consider both VHS and Betamax obsolete, now. Some day, the same will be true of USFM and OSIS, but not until all of the content that needs to be preserved from both of those formats is safely passed on to a new format that is fully supported. Maybe that new format will just be a more formalized version of the Crosswire OSIS wiki? Maybe USX will take over the world because of its support in UBS and SIL, not just lip service but real code?

The Sword Project is OSIS territory. It is the proving ground for OSIS. Don't take my word for things. Look at the code and the results.

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