Rick Meyers on e-Sword HD

Rick Meyers, author of e-Sword, has kindly agreed to answer a few questions in the wake of the release of e-Sword HD for iPad. He’s extremely busy at the moment, so I doubly appreciate his willingness to make himself available to us. What follows is an unedited version of our “conversation.”

Bible Software Review: What led you to create an iOS version of e-Sword and why is it only available for iPads?

Rick Meyers:

Mobile/Tablet                          O/S Share
Market Share of iOS                  63.5%
Market Share of Android         21.0%
Market Share of Java ME            9.3%
Market Share of BlackBerry       1.8%

BSR: I can hear the voice of many Android users asking themselves, We’ll we ever see an Android version of e-Sword?

RM: MySword is pretty good and has access to all of the many user group modules.

BSR: I know quite a few people who get confused with names like e-Sword, MySword and The Sword Project. Is there any relationship between e-Sword and the other two?

RM: You forgot SwordSearcher :-) Only our relationship we share in Christ!

BSR: e-Sword has a very large and active user base. In fact, one of its great strengths is the impressive amount of user modules available in every conceivable language. How is all this going to fit with the current ”official-modules-only” approach of e-Sword HD?

RM: Version 1.0 cannot have everything!  I am currently working with Josh Bond and others to integrate the massive user group module library.

BSR: Given the fact that e-Sword has traditionally been considered freeware, how did you come to the conclusion that you were going to charge $4.99 for the iPad app? Is this a change in your philosophy as a Bible software developer?

RM: e-Sword is still free, so no change there.  Everyone who begged me to create an iPad app said they would pay for it.  So I made the large investment in development costs to create the app, thus I am holding them to their word :-)

BSR: Since Bible Software Review has a certain academic edge to it, could we expect to see any Greek and Hebrew resources soon? What about the ability to search Greek and Hebrew?

RM: I already have Greek texts working quite nicely, but there is even more that I wanted to do with the texts so I chose to hold off until the next update.

Thank you very much!



e-Sword HD for iPad

The popular e-Sword program is now available for iPads. This first release includes a good number of the features available in the desktop edition, but only official modules can be added to the app at this time –although no Greek, Hebrew or foreign language Bibles are yet available–, and costs $4.99. The interface will look quite familiar to long-time e-Sword users.

The following video is a quick and dirty presentation of the program (make sure to watch it in HD!).



Note that the video does not show off all the features available, just a few of them.



BibleWorks Running on Mac OS X

I’ve been holding off writing this post. Others have already announced earlier today the availability of a Public Preview Mac Installer that allows BibleWorks version 9 to run on Macs. Bootcamp and virtualization software were already viable alternatives to run the program until now. Today, however, there is a third possibility: using Wine’s compatibility libraries.

I know from experience that BW 8 (I don’t have version 9) works very well under Parallels or VirtualBox. If you own a reasonably powerful Intel Mac and are running Lion or Mountain Lion, that’s your best bet. It remains to be seen how well version 9 will perform under Wine.

The reason I wanted to wait before letting the cat out of the bag is that I needed to be sure how “Mac native” this option was. I can’t deal with the technical side of things here (I leave that to programmers and others more knowledgeable than me), but I do have to agree here with Kevin Purcell’s assessment that using Wine (like WORDsearch or Bible Explorer) is not exactly taking the Mac native route.

I have enquired about this and BW’s staff have been kind enough to explain some of the specific details. The good thing is that most of BW’s excellent features will work, at no additional cost, on a Mac. However, from a user experience point of view, this is certainly not a native Mac app, as can be surmised by watching this video. So, if you own an Intel Mac and use BibleWorks 9, you can now test the public preview and tell us all about it. BW is committed to fixing any compatibility issues that might appear and improve the overall performance of the program in due course.


EDIT (October 4, 2012): The web page http://www.bibleworks.com/content/mac.html has been edited slightly in order to reflect the exact nature of the Mac native version, which now reads “Native (a Mac port running on custom WINE libraries)”. Further down, under Details, the following explanation is given: “The native Mac version of BibleWorks runs on OS X using customized compatibility libraries (WINE) by CodeWeavers. It runs directly on OS X without a virtual machine or machine instruction emulation. The underlying technology uses WINE and xQuartz libraries”.

As usual, BW has been very responsive to user feedback and quick to clear up any misunderstandings. Now everybody should be able to know what to expect.



Accordance 10 is Here!

Today is launch day for Accordance 10, sporting a brand new user interface that offers the same power and flexibility we have come to expect from Accordance Bible Software. There are lots of visual changes at first sight, but also major enhancements in the handling of the Library, as well as improvements in the area of searching and many others. Some of the UI changes will need some getting used to, but the workflow should be easier and faster.


Also, great news for Windows-only users: Accordance 10 will be available as a native Windows application in 2013!

This is taken from the official Press Release:

New features of Accordance 10 include:

• Single-window interface with a professionally designed aesthetic

• Fully customizable toolbar offers instant access to features and resources

• Integrated Library panel lets you browse, explore, and search your Bibles and books

• Flex Search finds variations of the words and phrases you search for

• Automated search modes anticipate the kind of search you’re doing and how you want the results displayed

• Themes offer attractive out-of-the box solutions for customizing the look of text

• Search analytics have been redesigned and made easier to customize

• Reading Mode offers a full-screen reading view of any open Bible or book

Accordance 10 can be purchased with a Starter Collection of Bibles and books for just $49.99. Larger library packages and upgrade discounts are also available.



Reina-Valera 1909 Spanish Bible with Strong’s Numbers

There are a number of Reina-Valera Bible editions currently available. The most widely used in Spanish-speaking countries is probably the 1960 version (although there have been other revisions published since then). However, these Bibles are all copyrighted and it is not always easy and/or financially feasible to include them in software packages. This has resulted in the widespread use of RV1909, or even earlier editions, since these are now public domain texts. But the use of less than perfect e-texts, as well as the inherent difficulty of sometimes outdated expressions or words, can be problematic at times. I remember very well when I first began to use Bible software (feels like ages ago!) and kept finding typos which I then reported to almost anybody who offered electronic Spanish Bibles back in the day. Needless to say that things have improved a lot nowadays, but still there was something that I felt was sorely lacking.

In a loose kind of way –particularly so in the most recent incarnations–, Reina-Valera Bibles have followed  the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus, and have adopted a formal approach to Bible translation, while preserving, at the same time, a really good literary style. In this sense, the 1909 edition has struck a nice balance. It is a PD text that follows very closely the traditional Hebrew and Greek texts and still reads quite nicely. So, seeing that none of the other versions (including those based on the Critical Text) were readily available, this one seemed like the best candidate to use as part of a project I had had in mind for years: an electronic Spanish Bible tagged with Strong’s numbers that could be used by everybody and further developed with other types of tagging in the future.

I am happy to report that the first stage of this project is now ready for prime time. Reina-Valera 1909 with Strong’s Numbers is currently available for the following Bible programs: Accordance, Bible Analyzer, e-Sword, SwordSearcher and theWord. It should be coming soon to BibleReader and PocketBible. In the meantime, if other companies not mentioned here want to offer this title to their customers, they are welcome to contact me. My goal is to make it as widely available as possible. Please note that I don’t send the files to individuals, and that the terms and conditions may be different from one software vendor to another. Once they get the files and produce their module, everything else is entirely up to them. The only general condition is that the module should be locked (i.e., users cannot modify it) so that changes can only be implemented by the editor (in this case, me!). However, users are welcome and encouraged to email me typos and suggestions.

This is still a work in progress but already fully useable. The power and flexibility of having a Spanish Bible tagged with Strong’s depends largely on the application being used, but in some cases it can be pretty amazing, as I will try to show in future posts.

EDIT (July 13, 2012): The Bible is now available as a SWORD module add-in and can be used by a wide range of Bible programs that use this particular format.



Reina-Valera 1909 con números de Strong

Existen en la actualidad diversas ediciones de la Biblia Reina-Valera. La que más se utiliza en los países de habla hispana probablemente siga siendo la versión de 1960 (pese a que desde entonces se han publicado otras versiones). Sin embargo, todas estas Biblias se encuentran bajo copyright y no siempre resulta fácil o económicamente viable incluirlas en un paquete de software. Esto ha provocado que se extendiera la RV1909, o incluso ediciones más antiguas, ya que se trata de textos no sujetos a derechos de autor. No obstante, el uso de textos digitales que distaban de ser perfectos, así como la dificultad propia de algunas palabras o frases anticuadas, podían plantear problemas. Recuerdo muy bien cuando me inicié en el uso del software bíblico (¡parece que hace siglos!) y no dejaba de enviar correcciones a casi cualquier compañía que ofreciera versiones electrónicas de las Biblias en español. Huelga decir que actualmente las cosas han mejorado mucho, aunque todavía hay algo que seguía echando en falta.

Tradicionalmente, la Reina-Valera ha seguido el Texto Masorético y el Texto Recibido de una forma más o menos libre –especialmente en las versiones más recientes–, y ha adoptado el método de la traducción formal, preservando, al mismo tiempo, un estilo literario de gran calidad. En este sentido, la versión de 1909 mantiene un excelente equilibrio. Se trata de un texto de dominio público que se atiene a los textos tradicionales hebreo y griego y cuya lectura resulta agradable. Así pues, viendo que ninguna de las otras versiones (incluidas las basadas en el Texto Crítico) estaban fácilmente disponibles, me pareció que esta era la mejor candidata para utilizarla en un proyecto que había tenido en mente durante años: la creación de una edición digital de la Biblia castellana con los números de Strong que pudiera ser utilizada por todos y emplearse posteriormente para añadirle otro tipo de etiquetas o códigos en el futuro.

Me complace informar de que la primera etapa de este proyecto está acabada. La Reina-Valera 1909 con los números de Strong se encuentra ya disponible para los siguientes programas bíblicos: Accordance, Bible Analyzer, e-Sword, SwordSearcher y theWord. Pronto lo estará también para BibleReader y PocketBible. Mientras tango, si otras compañías tienen interés en ofrecer este título a sus usuarios, sírvanse contactar conmigo. Mi objetivo es que goce de la más amplia circulación posible. Tengan en cuenta, eso sí, que no envío los archivos a particulares, y que los términos y condiciones de su uso puede que sean diferentes según el programa. Una vez que entrego los archivos y las compañías de software crean sus módulos, todo lo demás depende de ellos. La única condición general es que el módulo esté bloqueado (esto es, que no pueda modificarse), de manera que solamente pueda realizar cambios el editor del mismo (o sea, yo). Sin embargo, invito a todos los que usen este módulo a que me comuniquen cualquier error que puedan encontrar y a que me hagan llegar sus sugerencias a través del correo electrónico.

Se trata de un proyecto que sigue en marcha (especialmente el Antiguo Testamento), aunque puede utilizarse perfectamente tal como está. Las posibilidades y la flexibilidad de poder contar con una Biblia castellana con los números de Strong dependen en gran medida de la aplicación con la que se trabaje, pero en algunos casos, como pretendo demostrar en próximos artículos, resulta realmente espectacular.