Looking Through The Window At Accordance

John Fidel

December 26, 2006

An article written by John Fidel, CPA. Copyright © 2006-2009 by the author. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce any part of this document without obtaining permission from the author.

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Looking Through Windows at Accordance Bible Software

I am in the process of writing a comparative overview of the premier Bible software programs. My background is firmly grounded in the Windows PC arena. However, after reading so many rave reviews about Accordance Bible Software for Mac, I did not feel I could possibly write this overview without looking at Accordance Bible Software. So, I went to their website and started poking around, watched a few demos, and then downloaded the demo with the Mac Emulator. After using the demo for a week, I contacted Accordance and obtained a full Accordance package to review.

This article will discuss the following:

1. My experiences, thoughts and comments using Accordance Bible software with the Mac emulator;

2. A brief discussion of the outstanding features Accordance offers; and

3. A few examples of how I integrated Accordance and other Bible software in my Biblical studies.

The installation:

First of all let me state for those readers who are Windows based, there is a difference between Windows and Macs.  It is recommended by Accordance to spend some time learning about these differences with the resources they have made available on their website. I agree: Read the manual on how to install and setup the BasiliskII Mac Emulator. It will provide you with important information. There is a manual that is installed with BasillikII on your hard drive, which is not the proper manual to consult. Use the manual on the Accordance website.

Once in the Mac environment I commenced to set up Accordance, which went smoothly. It is important to put the installation CDs into the drive and have them recognized in Windows before opening the Mac emulator. I suggest caution for those that are apt to try too much tweaking of the Mac system. I love to tweak things and as a result crashed the system a few times. With this being an emulator, tweaking is not advised. If you do crash the emulator, the manual will provide you a way of reinstalling it without having to reinstall Accordance.

It is my impression that Accordance is doing everything they can to provide Windows users the ability to use their software, including support for the emulator and detailed manuals. This is not the type of installation that allows one to put the CD in the drive and start using the software. However, if the user will read and follow the detailed instructions, the installation should go well.

Accordance Bible Software:

After looking through the manual and watching the demos I had a good idea of how the program worked. Still, to get the most out of the program I recommend reading the Accordance manual. I realize in today's world reading a manual sounds a bit extreme, but you will miss out on a lot of powerful features available with this program if you don't. Another great source of instruction and information is the Accordance Blog site. It is well written, enthusiastic and very helpful in providing tips and guidance. Lastly, check out the Accordance forum for tips, help and suggestions.

I have been blessed in my studies through the use of Accordance Bible Software. It is just as they advertise it to be: Bible centric, combined with a very elegant design. Once setup and running, this program will provide very powerful Bible research and resources that are only a few clicks away.

Here are a few of the areas that Accordance excels at:

  1. Searching. All the windows in Accordance are search based in design. They are consistent from window to window, text-to-text and tool-to-tool, which makes things easy to use. While it took some effort to learn how to use the software, experiencing the enjoyment that so often is expressed by most users of this program has been the reward. The Accordance Blog here has a good article on the learning curve. I would agree that the learning curve is not steep, there is just a lot to learn.
  2. Search Construction Boxes. For Windows users this would be comparable to a Graphical Search or Query. The search construction boxes are very simple yet powerful. There are some good examples of this feature on the Accordance Blog.
  3. Atlas and Timelines. These modules are very interactive, fun to use, yet appropriate for Biblical studies. Windows users will miss out on some of the more advanced features of the maps. Even so, the module is very well done.
  4. Design and efficiency. Every review I read discussed the superior design and efficiency in how Accordance integrates the Biblical texts with the tools. I found the program elegant and a joy to use.
  5. Customer service and product development. A review of the forums and user websites will show that the company has a passionate and loyal customer base. This is well deserved. I also noted that many of the suggestions being made by users on the forums were implemented in the latest upgrade. Clearly the company has customer satisfaction in mind.

Here is a Screenshot of Accordance working along side Logos. Accordance does not sell any interlinear Bibles, nor did the Scholar's Core include the LXX. I find these tools very helpful when studying the OT. Here is the solution I came up with that does not require using the Alt-Tab, so the texts are side-by-side:

As you can see, I have the tagged LXX and the ESV OT Reverse Interlinear with an information window available to assist me in comparing the BHS/LXX. This same arrangement can be used to access commentaries and other resources available in one program to use with the other.

Here is a screenshot of a similar arrangement setup with BibleWorks :

Please feel free to comment on this article if you need more details on how to set this up. Users that have investments in other software will find they can integrate those resources to work well along side Accordance in the Windows environment.

Concerns and Comments:

I do have a few concerns that I feel need to be presented that are only applicable to customers that want to run Accordance on a Windows PC. They are not with the program itself, however, since the company promotes use of their software on a Windows PC, they need to be presented for consideration.

  1. This setup is not for those that want to plop in a CD, install the software and begin using it. The Mac Emulator needs to be setup properly the first time. Here is the manual, look it over and if you are not willing to follow it step-by-step, be prepared for some frustrations.
  2. The emulator requires the set-up of a virtual hard drive on your computer. The maximum size is 2 gigs. I filled this drive up quickly with the maps and photos. Any additional modules will need to be on a second virtual drive. I can see having multiple virtual drives as a possible problem for those that want to acquire larger libraries. This issue is discussed in more detail in here in the forums.
  3. There is a risk that the Emulator will not work with Windows down the road. If so, Accordance will no longer be available on your PC. My communications with the company indicate that they intend to do all they can to make sure the investment we make in the software will be usable in the future. I envision that they will have a solution if this becomes and issue.
  4. I did experience some lock ups with the emulator on searches that were on multiple resources as well as some CPU issues on my laptop. There are some limitations that should be considered. They are disclosed on the Accordance website and in the manual.

Conclusion:

This is software that is elegantly designed, simple, yet powerful. It functions on Windows based PC with a relatively high level of satisfaction. If you are considering purchasing a premier Bible software package for use on a Windows PC, you should look at Accordance. Here are my recommendations:

  1. If you are intending to buy a Mac-Intel computer in the near future, I give a hearty "buy" recommendation. All of the concerns discussed here will simply be not applicable.
  2. If you are intending to stay in the Windows world and are willing to spend the time to set the program up correctly; I recommend a "buy" for a basic or core package. If you enjoy the program and are comfortable using the emulator, then expand accordingly.
  3. If reading instructions and a manual are not in your nature, you might want to wait and see if the process becomes more streamlined for Windows users in the near future.

As for me, I am going to expand my library starting with some of the Zondervan resources that I cannot get with my other Windows programs.


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