Mac Bible Software Update November 2006
Where have we come in the last year?
by David Lang
Lots of Catching Up To Do
A year ago, I posted an article detailing the most recent developments in Bible Software for the Mac. I've been so busy since then I'm afraid I've been letting the CMUG web-site languish, but I don't want any more time to slip by without updating you on this past year's developments in Mac Bible software.
Before I do, however, I need to make the requisite caveat: I work for the developers of Accordance Bible Software, so I am hardly an impartial observer of the developments I am about to report. I'll do my best to stick to facts rather than opinions, but you need to be aware of my obvious biases.
Accordance Bible Software: Continuing Momentum
One of the reasons I've been neglecting CMUG for the past year is that I've been working so much on the development of Accordance. I'm not alone in that. Nearly everyone at OakTree Software has been working extremely hard all year. Consequently, there are numerous developments to report.
The Accordance application received a major upgrade to version 7.0 in May of this year, and has recently been updated to 7.1. New features include:
- The ability to highlight the differences between parallel Bible translations and original language texts by checking Compare Texts.
- Searching by Greek and Hebrew root.
- Character searching for punctuation marks, Greek and Hebrew accents, cantillation marks, etc.
- The ability to arrange your Accordance modules into subgroups, group them together into Text Sets, and designate some as Favorites.
- Slideshow view lets you create simple presentations directly from within Accordance
- Auto-scroll scrolls the text of a Bible or other book like a teleprompter.
- Additional Graphs and Charts provide new ways to analyze the results of a search.
- New Highlight capabilities let you highlight the results of a search and create multiple sets of highlight styles.
- Implementation of Contextual menus throughout the program.
- Support for OS X Services.
- Spell-checker for User Note and User Tool Edit windows.
- Significant enhancements to User Notes.
- Character palette lets you insert unusual characters from all the Accordance fonts (Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, transliteration, manuscripts, etc.)
- Citation preference lets you format the text that you Copy as Citation from Accordance.
You can find out about the new features of Accordance 7 here, and can get a list of the additional features in 7.1 here.
In addition to the application itself, the past year has seen a slew of new Accordance modules and CD-ROMs. These include:
- A new Library CD-ROM with as many as 37 new modules.
- A new Scholar's Collection CD-ROM with more affordable bundles, new Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac texts, etc.
- The new Thompson Chain Reference Bible
- The Ancient Christian Commmentary on Scripture (ACCS) from InterVarsity Press
- The 58-volume Word Biblical Commentary from Nelson
- The 13-volume New International Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) from Eerdmann's
- Three new collections from Zondervan: The Zondervan Essential Bible Study Suite, The Zondervan Personal Growth Bible Study Suite, and The Zondervan Scholarly Bible Study Suite.
The list of new materials released this year goes on and on, but these are just a few of the highlights. You can follow the latest Accordance developments by visiting the Accordance blog, also started this year.
Online Bible for OS X: Still in Beta
Last July a public beta of Online Bible for OS X was made available for download. Incredibly, Online Bible is still in beta a year-and-a-half later. The good news is that it has been pretty stable and fully functional since it was first made available, but apparently there are still known bugs which have yet to be resolved. According to the most recent report:
I'm afraid we are still struggling with bugs and do not have a release date for the finished product. Once we have a solid program we will be pressing new CDs and have a lot of new material that will be included.
The current beta can be downloaded here.
MacSword, iBible, and Bible Reader Free: Little to Report
Last year, MacSword received a significant upgrade and seemed to be gaining momentum, but this year has been extremely quiet. With the exception of an announcement in March that MacSword modules are now easier to download, and that a modern German translation is now available, there have been no visible developments in the last year.
Similarly, iBible and Bible Reader Free both announced plans to rewrite their software as Cocoa applications last year, but there appears to have been no progress since then. The developer of Bible Reader Free recently announced that he still has a desire to update the software, but work and family commitments have kept him from doing so. The developer of iBible has made no announcements in a year, so it's unclear whether work is progressing. At this point, iBible has not been updated in about three years.
QuickVerse for Mac: New Package Available
Last June, QuickVerse released a version of its software for Macintosh. At the time, they offered only two packages: a "White Box" for $49 and a "Black Box" for $99. In the past year, they have quietly raised the price of these packages to $59.95 and $129.95 respectively, and have released a new "Gold Box" collection for $349.95.
The QuickVerse Mac application does not appear to have been updated in the last year. The Windows version appears to have been upgraded twice since the Mac version was released.
Logos for Mac: Continued Delays
Last March, Logos announced that they would be porting their software to the Mac and that it would be available in December of 2005. In mid-November, however, Logos announced a new release date of "Spring 2006." That date later slipped to "late summer," "late fall," and now "first quarter 2007."
The following bits and pieces of information about Logos' plans have come out in the past year and a half:
- Logos has outsourced development of its Mac product to another company.
- Logos for Mac will be equivalent to version 2.1 of their Windows product, not the current version (3.0) which was released in May 2006.
- According to a Logos employee, if you already own Logos for Windows, Logos for Mac will be an additional charge (reportedly $100). For new buyers, the Mac version will reportedly cost more than the Windows version. [Note: official disclaimers that the price is not yet set followed this news, so it may or may not be accurate.]
Bob Pritchett, the president of Logos, has offered the following reports of Logos' progress on the Logos for Mac newsgroup:
In September, he wrote:
At the moment we have an application that runs, has a functioning "My Library" dialog, and reads and displays our existing ebooks correctly (and without modification). This is the hard part, and it's done. What's left is completing the port of the back-end object library. It's not particularly hard, it's just a lot of work. It is very far along, but it needs to be 100% complete before we can show search results or run a Passage Guide. (And we won't beta test without those things.)
In November, he added:
I'm afraid there is no more news yet.
Small progress continues -- the licensing components are in, and some new dialogs -- but we still aren't beta ready.
Last year was perhaps the most "newsworthy" year ever for Macintosh Bible software. This year, things have been decidedly mixed. On the one hand, Accordance has released a major program upgrade and quite a few new products, while QuickVerse has released a third package in its Mac product line. On the other hand, the various Mac shareware programs seem to be in a holding pattern, and Logos for Mac continues to be delayed. It will be interesting to see what new developments there will be to report in 2007.
Originally posted on the CMUG website by David Lang on November 29, 2006