Accordance's Unsung Feature: It Just Works
Sep 18, 2009 David Lang

Accordance's Unsung Feature: It Just Works

I never cease to be amazed at the hassles some people are willing to put up with where computers and computer software are concerned. For years Mac users have been telling their Windows-using brethren that "Macs Just Work," that they aren't prone to all the instability and malware that most computer users assume is just par for the course. The same is true of Accordance. Where other Mac Bible software programs have sometimes left their users dealing with major headaches and broken functionality, Accordance users have happily been uninterrupted in their study and research through countless technological changes.

Way back in the day, there were Mac versions of several commercial Bible programs. Granted, they were being left to languish by their developers, but many of them still worked, until Apple transitioned from 68K chips to PowerPC chips. Many of these programs broke and vanished into oblivion. We released a PowerPC version of Accordance which ran faster than ever.

When Apple released OS X, Accordance ran flawlessly under Classic until we released an OS X version of Accordance 5. Accordance was the first Bible program for OS X. The look of Accordance 5 was a somewhat awkward combination of Classic and OS X interface design. It wasn't until version 6 that Accordance had a true Aqua interface. Nevertheless, early adopters of OS X were happily able to run Accordance natively with no major problems.

OS X sparked a new wave of Mac Bible software development, initially from enthusiastic shareware developers and more recently from a couple of Windows software developers. Conventional wisdom would tell you that these new programs which don't have to worry about backward-compatibility should be leaner, meaner, and more stable than Accordance.

So much for conventional wisdom. Some of these programs seem to break with each new Apple advancement: Leopard, Safari 4, Snow Leopard, etc. Users of one program had to buy a paid upgrade even to open an electronic book in Leopard. Users of another have had to put up with stability issues and garbled Greek and Hebrew since the release of Snow Leopard. These users must then wait anxiously for an update to fix whatever got broken.

Meanwhile, Accordance has gone right on working. The average Accordance user is pleasantly surprised by our updates, which feature minor enhancements and fixes to obscure bugs you probably didn't know were there. For those who need Bible software that just works, Accordance is the clear choice.

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Archived Comments

Bryan

September 20, 2009 6:56 PM

First off, I'm really tired of the "just works" mumbo jumbo. I've used a pc my entire life, and every single one of them I've had have "just worked." The caricature is unfounded with my experience. I also know very few people who have had any major problems, while I know about just as many who have had major hardware & software problems on their mac. Macs are becoming more like pc's as time passes. They used to pride themselves on making all of their components so everything "just worked," but now they have intel processors and nvidia video cards. I have an imac desktop and I love it, but a pc laptop and I love it just as much. Perhaps the reason you hear more windows people bringing up problems is because 85% of the market are windows users. If it were reversed, we would see the same for macintosh, I guarantee it. It's easy to keep something secure when such a small percentage of people use it.

Regarding Bible software, I've never had ANY issues with Bibleworks. I don't have enough experience on the macintosh side of things to know what you're talking about, so I can't really give me opinion about that and will take your word for it. I just don't know why I should "complete the switch" because all of my pc's have "just worked," and the same is true of the Bible software I use on those pc's. The old proverb rings true: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." 3 Bible software companies have proven themselves through time, and all are valid and legitimate options that can essentially do the same things. Since we're Christian before we're capitalist, then lets just focus on what we got going and leave the shortcomings of others to themselves.


David Lang

September 21, 2009 12:08 AM

Bryan,

I'm sorry I touched a nerve by repeating the "It Just Works" mantra. I'm a long-time Mac guy who has often been bewildered by the hassles my PC-using friends have had to deal with. If your experience with PCs is different, that's great. Those whose experiences mirror yours will naturally see the notion that "Macs Just Work" as a caricature; while those with different experiences will repeat it with more fervor than I have.

As for Bible software, I was not referring to products like BibleWorks at all, but to a variety of Mac products which have had major stability issues and interface problems. Users of these programs are frustrated and doing their best to work around those frustrations. Meanwhile, Accordance users do not have to deal with such productivity-killing issues. This contrast is a big part of what Accordance has "got going," and it's precisely that strength, rather than the "shortcomings of others," which I tried to focus on in this post.


R. Mansfield

September 21, 2009 8:50 AM

Bryan, you assert that the idea that Macs "just work" as opposed to PCs not working is a caricature of reality based upon your experience. I have no reason to doubt this, but what you have to realize is that for many of us, this is simply not so.

I first began using a Mac because of my frustration with Microsoft Office software repeatedly crashing on a Windows machine. I've been using computers since the early eighties, and generally I know my way around a computer fairly well. The Mac has never been perfect, but in my experience, overall, the Mac did just work. 

Further, my experience working for a computer support company in the late nineties as well as being a sysadmin at a private school in the earlier part of this decade (3 Windows servers, 140 clients) also bears this out. 

And although I use a Mac as my primary personal platform of choice, I've continued to keep a foot in the Windows world. Let me give you a recent example of the contrast between Windows and the Mac.

I have a copy of Windows Vista running on my Mac in Parallels. Certainly, someone could claim that what I'm about to relay could be blamed on Parallels, but that's really not the case. This is strictly a Windows issue that I'm about to describe.

As is often the case, when I have Windows running, various updates are being downloaded and installed in the background. I can't tell you exactly what updates were being installed, but I received a message that Windows needed to be restarted for the updates to take affect. Fine. I let Windows restart.

Upon restart, I suddenly got a message that an incompatible update had been installed (how does that even happen?) and somehow my version of Windows Vista could no longer be validated as genuine. Now, I can promise you that my copy of Vista (Ultimate) is one that I bought myself from a retailer, and it is, in fact, genuine. 

The error message suggested that I use the Add/Remove software feature in the control panel to remove the offending piece of software--as if I'd know what that was. However, after clicking the "OK" button, Windows wouldn't load because my serial number wasn't seen as valid. So, how exactly was I supposed to look for the bad update?

Now, regardless of what caused this to happen, the security feature built into Vista makes no sense. How can I remove software if I can't load the system. Perhaps, I could have started in "safe mode" but I decided not to even go that route.

[continue in next comment]


R. Mansfield

September 21, 2009 9:02 AM

Instead, I pulled a backup of my Windows Vista installation from my Time Machine backup. Having done that, I relaunched Vista, let the updates run again, and this time, nothing bad happened.

So, why did it happen the first time? Was it a virus? Spyware? Who knows? I keep my Vista installation protected, but I suppose anything can possibly get by. Regardless, it was the security settings in Windows that worked against me. It made no sense. 

And this is something that cannot happen on the Mac because the OS does not check any serial number against Apple's servers before it allows a user to access software on his or her own computer. In fact, the Mac OS doesn't even both with serial numbers. I'm sure OS X gets bootlegged a lot because of that, but Apple has so far decided not to burden its users with such.

Now, you can easily say that my experience is anecdotal. But really, it's not. My years working computer support and as a sysadmin prove to me otherwise. I often shook my head in those days at Windows issues I had to troubleshoot that simply could not occur on a Mac. It's simply not the case that people bring up problems with Windows machines "because 85% of the market are Windows users."

You also stated, "They [Apple] used to pride themselves on making all of their components so everything 'just worked,' but now they have intel processors and nvidia video cards." Apple has never made its own processors (the processors before Intel were made by Motorola and IBM) and nVidia cards have been in Macs on and off for many years. The hardware is great, but it comes down to the operating system. It's the OS that makes a difference in the long run.

Of course, regardless, as David pointed out, the post was really about Accordance running just fine as the OS changes as opposed to other Mac Bible programs that have had recent problems. He certainly wasn't talking about BibleWorks which does not have a Mac version (I used to use BibleWorks, by the way, and think it's a great program).

I'm completely sincere when I tell you that I'm glad for you that your Windows experience has been a positive one. And I know that's true for others as well. All I can say is that for me and many, many others, this is not the case. And this is why many of us choose to use a Mac instead. 


Jonathan

September 22, 2009 5:15 PM

Accordance does just work! I love how it starts up so quickly, and it is definitely my first choice when it comes to Bible searches. One suggestion I have, which is surely related to this post, is to make the update process of Accordance "just work" as well. Many of the other Mac programs are able to update themselves without requiring the user to run an installer each time - not all can, of course, but Accordance can make the user experience even better in this way. Thanks!


Ingo

September 22, 2009 9:48 PM

I'm a long-time PC and Bibleworks user. For the most part, that combination has worked well. But Picasa has corrupted some of my pictures, Office forces formatting styles that are simply a nuisance, core features are hidden, well, in the core of the apple (no pun), etc. etc.

Now I need to re-install Bibleworks and it hangs mid-installation. Some upgrades revert my setup back to original configuration. Preferred screen layouts are not possible in the newest version; fonts don't copy/paste without major tweaking, etc. Some of it is just plain computer pain, some is directly related to Microsoft.

I've plenty of friends/students with Mac troubles as well - in some sense a computer is a computer is a computer . . . I'm not switching per se - but I will add Mac and Accordance tomy arsenal in the near future. I want to know myself, first hand. :)

FWIW,

Ingo




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