Bible Software Review: By way of an introduction, please give us any personal information you'd like to share with our readers.
Drew Haninger: I became a Christian when I was in second grade. My interest in computers actually started in my high school science club and Ham radio clubs. From there, I went to college at the University of California Irvine starting in Physics, and graduated from California State College at Fullerton with a degree in Biology. I then acquired a teaching certificate from Seattle Pacific University. Because of the job market at that time, I moved into engineering. Since then I've taken courses in computer science, Hermeneutics (how to interpret the Bible), and Biblical Greek and Hebrew. I've been doing computer programming since 1972 and Bible software since 1984.
I was married in 1970. After 32 years of marriage my wife, Tami, passed away suddenly after a short illness. We have one grown son who lives in California.
BSR:When did your company start, and why did you feel the need to set this project off?
DH: It began in 1984 with a student project that consisted of a searchable Greek New Testament that ran on a monochrome PC�an antique by today's standards�centuries ago by the speed of technology.
From there I went on to develop a multilingual word processor that supported Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, and Roman fonts. In the early 1990's, I developed several DOS programs for studying and analyzing the Gospels. This led to a web site that supported searching the Bible.
Back then handheld computers were the latest technology, and we saw real potential for having the Bible available on these devices. In 1998 we developed our first Palm Pilot BibleReader. A few months later the Windows CE (Pocket PC) BibleReader was released.
In 2000, the company assumed the name "Olive Tree Bible Software". The name is taken from Romans 11:17. I liked the idea of a tree because of the Tree of Life in Genesis, and when I read this verse about the Olive Tree I knew I'd found just the right name.
Since then it's been amazing to watch how much we have grown and progressed as a company. Today, over 10,000 free KJV Bibles are downloaded from our website every month.
BSR: What is your current role in the company?
DH: I am the President of Olive Tree. Basically that means I do a little bit of everything. I am primarily responsible for setting the direction for the company, including prioritizing the list of things to tackle. I still do some programming as well. Also, there is the marketing aspect of the business which involves attending yearly trade shows and conferences.
BSR: When you look back, what would you identify as being the single greatest feat in the history of Bible software?
DH: � ability to search the text, much faster and more efficient/versatile than a hard copy concordance
� ability to quickly view multiple Bibles at one time
� ability to pack multiple books/Bibles in a pocket device.
BSR: What segment of Bible software users do you consider to be your main target?
DH: We focus on the handheld arena which includes Palm OS, Pocket PC, BlackBerry, SmartPhones, Symbian cell phones, and likely others in time. The Bible versions and study resources we have available are designed for anyone with interests ranging from simply reading the Word to doing an intensive study utilizing the Greek and Hebrew texts and theological dictionaries.
BSR: In your opinion, what are the three most salient features of your application?
DH: From a technical standpoint, I would say:
� Multiple Bibles displayed simultaneously for text comparison
� Hyperlinking between Bibles and eBook reference material�this makes it a very good tool for Bible study.
� The ability to do quick word searches of Bible text and to add personal notes combine to make this a kind of all-in-one tool for Bible reference and study.
BSR: If you had to recommend the use of Bible software to someone who has never been exposed to it before, how would you go about it?
DH: Nothing can replace sitting in your favorite chair reading your Bible whose pages are worn from use. Verses are underlined and highlighted, sometimes repeatedly. You may have notes scribbled in the margins. If you have never used Bible software before, you may not realize that these same features are also available on your electronic Bible. You can underline, highlight, bookmark, make notes, and so much more. At the same time, Bible software is exceptionally useful for studying the Word. You can compare multiple translations on one screen. In seconds you can search for a word or phrase in the entire Bible with hyperlinks that takes you directly to the verses. Handheld Bible software is very handy (No pun intended. Well, ok, kind of intended). You can literally carry a Biblical library around in your pocket!
BSR: Why do you think people should consider using your software?
DH: We offer the BibleReader and many versions of the Bible at no charge. The best advice I can give you is to download it and try it out for yourself. Once you find out what a powerful tool it is, I think you'll be happy.
BSR: What is the primary use you make of your own software?
DH: I primarily use it for studying the Bible and assisting others in Bible Studies.I also enjoy reading devotionals on it.
BSR: Is there any feature lacking in Bible software in general that you would love to see implemented soon?
DH: I would like to see the ability to search multiple translations at one time.
BSR: Are there any specific plans to port the software to other platforms? (Windows, Mac, Linux...)
DH: Anything handheld is a potential target. Pocket watch, iPod, cell phones, and who knows what is next to come!
BSR: Besides English, is or will your software be available in other languages in the foreseeable future?
DH: We currently have over 30 Bibles in other languages available. This includes French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Arabic, Dutch, Albanian, Portuguese, and other languages. More are already in the works.
BSR: From your perspective, what should Bible software be heading for in the years to come?
DH: Historically, God�s Word was presented orally, then in writing, next in a printed format, and now electronically. Only He knows what is next. One thing is certain, "Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven." - Psalm 119:89.
BSR: Would you like to add or share anything not covered in the previous questions?
DH: I couldn�t leave without referring you to our website, www.OliveTree.com, so you can check out all that is available for handheld devices.
BSR: Thank you so much for your time!