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#1 John Allard

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 12:42 AM

Is there any chance of Accordance integrating into OSX Tiger so there could be a dashboard widget to run a search through tools (i.e. English, Greek, Hebrew, General, etc...) or would it be possible to tie in Accordance modules so that they could be searched by Spotlight? I don't know, maybe I'm just dreaming.

#2 Helen Brown

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 07:15 AM

Dream on... John!

We are now working on a widget which will allow you to look up and paste verse references from texts, but searching tools or using Spotlight to search our modules... you'll be dreaming for a very long time.

Our modules have a very complex structure which allows you to do all the seemingly simple things like find anywhere KB (HALOT) cites Isaiah 26:3. This structure makes the modules inaccessible to any programs except Accordance.
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#3 David Lang

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 07:43 AM

Is there any chance of Accordance integrating into OSX Tiger so there could be a dashboard widget to run a search through tools (i.e. English, Greek, Hebrew, General, etc...) or would it be possible to tie in Accordance modules so that they could be searched by Spotlight?  I don't know, maybe I'm just dreaming.


John,

We're currently looking into how supporting these OS X technologies could enhance Accordance, but if you're wanting to search multiple tools or texts in a single pass, you can already do that using the Search All window.

To open a new Search All window, simply choose Search All from the New submenu of the File menu, or use the keyboard shortcut command-F. In the Search All window, specify the language you want to search, and the group of modules you want to search ([All], [All Bibles], [All Tools], or a custom group you create), then click OK.

Or an even easier way is simply to select a word or verse reference in a text pane, and then choose a Search All group from the Search pop-up button at the bottom left corner of the Resource palette.

Hope this helps.
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David Lang
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#4 John Allard

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Posted 25 May 2005 - 11:12 AM

Oh ya, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that I didn't was unsure of how to search Accordance or that the searching tools were in any way unsatisfactory; I just thought it would be a dreamy feature request in light of the new OS functions. I love Accordance and think you guys are doing a great job with it. Thank you for your efforts.

#5 markcdachille

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 06:54 PM

HI,

I have just recently begun to use Tiger, with the popular "Dashboard" application. Already there are thousands of widgets to be downloaded. On of m favorite widgets is the dictionary search bar--a widget that is packaged with Tiger. May I suggest the creation of an Accordance widget, similar to the dictionary widget, that provides access to Bible texts. With an Accordance widget, running Accordance while using memory intense software can be avoided.

Thanks,
Mark Dachille

#6 Ruben Gomez

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 01:37 AM

An Accordance widget is already being worked on, as you can read in this topic.

(Topic merged)

Edited by Helen Brown, 11 August 2005 - 03:20 PM.


#7 caorongjin

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 03:48 PM

Would it be possible that, in the progress of writing a Dashboard Widget, a public API can be made available for access to the Accordance engine? :rolleyes: This would facilitate the ability for other people (outside Accordance) to write tools that can access the riches of Accordance without the overhead of executing the whole application -- GUI and all.

#8 Helen Brown

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 08:28 PM

This is beyond the scope of our plans for Accordance. We believe that the interface contributes as much as the search engine to the user experience. We do not see any advantage in allowing searches without running Accordance. In order for these to be of any value, you would need to duplicate the features of the interface in order to provide the variables and other options.

The Widget for verse references is definitely on the way, but its functionality will be somewhat limited.

Our goal is to make Accordance better and better, and we do not think that a public API will enhance its value for most users.
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#9 caorongjin

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 10:03 PM

Our goal is to make Accordance better and better, and we do not think that a public API will enhance its value for most users.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Being a software user and being a software engineer, I always have itches to build tools to make my life easier. But I understand and respect your decisions. Thanks. :D

#10 Joe Weaks

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 12:07 AM

We do not see any advantage in allowing searches without running Accordance. In order for these to be of any value, you would need to duplicate the features of the interface in order to provide the variables and other options...
Our goal is to make Accordance better and better, and we do not think that a public API will enhance its value for most users.

Being a software user and being a software engineer, I always have itches to build tools to make my life easier. But I understand and respect your decisions.

I'm glad to see you asking for this, cause I've been asking for years myself. In addition to Applescript, now with Automator, Widgets, and not to mention Perl in the box, the potential tools are really stunning.
And while I too must respect the decision to keep everything closed, I disagree with it. It simply sounds like the old school software model of proprietary control. The point about opening up an API is that uses/tools/advancements rise to the top that were never imagined by the company itself. How can one say there is "no advantage" to opening up an API when
1. I could name a dozen off the cuff (Native plugins for any word processor, Presentation software, or desktop publisher for quick text entry; iCal calendar that pulls daily scripture dynamically; and
2. the point is you can't forsee the benefits. How about a Service or Contextual menu that allows me to hilight text in any services-aware text field and then do an automatic bringing of Accordance to the front and then searching for that text in the first General/Greek/Reference/whatever tool using whatever field you want, all using whatever default parameters you choose. I use a curmudgeon hack on my computer to accomplish this with GUI scripting, but I'm tired of the clunkiness.
I want my system clock chime to grab the first complete word on the clipboard and search for it in the last tool/text used in Accordance and display the full sentence of the first hit in a 5 second overlay on my screen. Why on earth would I want to do that? Because it's cool, that's why. And any tool that has opened up an API to help me do that is cool by association.

Even just opening up a simple verse lookup API would be a start. Those parameters are easy to manage. At the very least, this seems the minimal one should expect by today's software standards. Geeks will continue to enhance tools that make use of other API's and we'll find the API's where we can get them. This will increasingly be from online resources, I suspect, if apps like Accordance don't jump in with some access.

With the coming of new entries into the Mac bible software business, the first one that opens up access, even if they are the smallest kid on the block, can quickly balloon into the most sophisticated inter-application congruence imaginable. That's how it happens.
Look at Firefox... it was nothing, and now what a huge example of the attraction of user expandability.
Look at Google Maps. Just a few months ago, they were unheard of. Now, by opening up the API, the number of Google Map mashups are simply staggering.

#11 J_Hancock

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 05:58 AM

I hope the Accordance team doesn't mind me answering on their behalf a bit, but the team is fairly limited in size and resources. Doing the work of opening up the API(s) would take away from many already requested features that are considered very important by other users.
I'm a geek at heart, I still remember my first experience with Unix on a Sun Sparc. :) However, I'm also a student in the Biblical literature world, and I can think of many more things I would like to see in Accordance to make my work, and those of my fellow students and teachers a lot easier. There are plenty of people already writing verse lookup and word search widgets for Dashboard. I would consider contacting them. The focus of Accordance is different than that. Not knowing the code structure, I don't think any of us (outside the Accordance team) know just how much work it would take to implement all of the "cool" features we'd like to see.
I know my first reaction on seeing Dashboard was: I would LOVE to have an Accordance search widget. However, if doing so will take away from other things, such as grammatically tagged Dead Sea Scrolls, and other important features, then I'll live without the the Accordance widget. I don't want the toys to take away from the tools.
I would suggest trying to contact some of the other Bible widget authors and see about working on a more feature-rich widget. If you do so, please drop a note in the Accordance forums to let us know. I think it's a great idea, but I don't want to see Accordance suffer for focusing on things that might not be great for some of it's core users. And many Accordance users are in the academic/pastoral field.
Maybe you understand where I'm coming from. I would love to see Accordance become a first-class OS X citizen, but OS X was not even a dream when Accordance was started, and the work that would be necessary, code-wise, to do some of these things, could be too time intensive for the team.
I do think that a small group of coders could put together a great search, daily verse, etc. widget. But I think Oaksoft has done a great job of trying to balance requests and needs for a very broad spectrum of users. I would like to see that continue, even if it means not having some "cool" features.

J. Hancock

#12 Helen Brown

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 12:18 PM

Thank you, these are exactly our thoughts. I could not have said it better.
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#13 Joe Weaks

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 01:00 PM

...Not knowing the code structure, I don't think any of us (outside the Accordance team) know just how much work it would take to implement all of the "cool" features we'd like to see.
I know my first reaction on seeing Dashboard was: I would LOVE to have an Accordance search widget. However, if doing so will take away from other things, such as grammatically tagged Dead Sea Scrolls, and other important features, then I'll live without the the Accordance widget. I don't want the toys to take away from the tools.
I would suggest trying to contact some of the other Bible widget authors and see about working on a more feature-rich widget. If you do so, please drop a note in the Accordance forums to let us know. I think it's a great idea, but I don't want to see Accordance suffer for focusing on things that might not be great for some of it's core users. And many Accordance users are in the academic/pastoral field.
Maybe you understand where I'm coming from. I would love to see Accordance become a first-class OS X citizen, but OS X was not even a dream when Accordance was started, and the work that would be necessary, code-wise, to do some of these things, could be too time intensive for the team.

I, too, want to see a tagged Qumran to be a priority (along with the elusive good commentary). But the argument here is misleading. Widgets and other tools wouldn't take any time from the Oak Tree staff. Doing the smaller work of opening up an API allows others to do so. This seems as much about control as it is about resources, a position that Helen stated, and understandably so.
But my worry is that this model will propetuate what you bring up, namely, the wrap that Accordance has as a second-class OS X citizen.

Edited by Joe Weaks, 19 July 2005 - 01:02 PM.

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#14 David Lang

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 08:33 PM

Widgets and other tools wouldn't take any time from the Oak Tree staff. Doing the smaller work of opening up an API allows others to do so. This seems as much about control as it is about resources, a position that Helen stated, and understandably so.

But my worry is that this model will propetuate what you bring up, namely, the wrap that Accordance has as a second-class OS X citizen.


Joe, I think you mean "rap." And if we really do have one as a "second-class OS X citizen," I'm pretty sure it's a rap we can beat. ;) As you know, we're working on a verse insertion widget, and from everything I've seen so far, it will be pretty cool.

Although we're not planning to make Accordance fully scriptable any time soon, the widget is based on an Applescript which calls an Apple event within Accordance. This is something we would be perfectly willing to enable other scripters like yourself to call. We might even be persuaded to open up a few other functions, depending on how much effort would be involved and how beneficial it would be. Ultimately, it's not about "control" as much as it is about return on investment.

Also, I would remind you that we are, and have been, looking into how and how much to support the forms of automation that you're requesting. Not too long ago, I asked about Automator support on this forum, and what kinds of things it might be used to do. I got a grand total of one response, and when I asked a followup question, I got no answer. That's hardly the kind of ringing endorsement which encourages us to make these kinds of things a top priority. From our perspective, the conversation is not closed. In my opinion, it's more open than ever. But we have yet to be convinced that this should be our top priority.
Sincerely,
David Lang
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#15 caorongjin

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 12:32 AM

Although we're not planning to make Accordance fully scriptable any time soon, the widget is based on an Applescript which calls an Apple event within Accordance. This is something we would be perfectly willing to enable other scripters like yourself to call. We might even be persuaded to open up a few other functions, depending on how much effort would be involved and how beneficial it would be. Ultimately, it's not about "control" as much as it is about return on investment.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Maybe it would be beneficial to describe some things that I would personally be interested in writing tools for. Like a memory-verse widget that I can throw a bunch of verses and it will query Accordance for the text based on the citation. Or a Greek parsing flashcard system that pulls a specific word in the GNT-T and drill me for the proper parsing; this may query the frequency in the NT and quiz based on that. These two could be done as widgets, or stand-alone applications. Of course, I could also write a screen saver that picks a random Psalm to display. Or maybe generate random desktop pictures with a different Proverb. Or possibly, like suggested elsewhere, provide a service that can insert passages into any program -- MS Word, Mellel, etc. :P

I am biased in regards to "openness" of code because I have worked in both highly closed sw firms and am currently contracting to an open source one. And open source does have its merits (by no means am I suggestion Accordance go open source, but just allow a small part to be more open). :rolleyes: I think, as Pastor Weaks suggests, an API would be beneficial in allowing anybody with the willingness to build enhancements for whatever purposes they see fit. That flexibility allows for more people to find advantages that would not have been thought of or allowed to have time by the Accordance dev team. And definitely, I think the Accordance team probably has a lot on their plate. I guess, as my original question was placed, if in the process of developing the widget its API (and possible a little more) could be made public with some docs, that would enable creativity for a lot of people to add more to the already so valuable Accordance. :D

#16 BrianBowman

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 09:44 AM

This is beyond the scope of our plans for Accordance. We believe that the interface contributes as much as the search engine to the user experience. We do not see any advantage in allowing searches without running Accordance. In order for these to be of any value, you would need to duplicate the features of the interface in order to provide the variables and other options.

The Widget for verse references is definitely on the way, but its functionality will be somewhat limited.

Our goal is to make Accordance better and better, and we do not think that a public API will enhance its value for most users.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Helen,

As both an vetran software engineer and a serious student of the Scriptures, I give a hearty "Amen" to everything you say here. Documenting and supporting a generalized API to the Accordance "content/search engine" would require an effort that has little-to-no economic benefit for your organization and would take valuable time away from the ongoing development of features and content so desired by Accordance Users.

However, I do believe that the ability for committted Accordance Users to contribute to your ongoing content developement effort is a desirable thing.

#17 J_Hancock

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 04:58 AM

Maybe it would be beneficial to describe some things that I would personally be interested in writing tools for.  Like a memory-verse widget that I can throw a bunch of verses and it will query Accordance for the text based on the citation.  Or a Greek parsing flashcard system that pulls a specific word in the GNT-T and drill me for the proper parsing; this may query the frequency in the NT and quiz based on that.  These two could be done as widgets, or stand-alone applications.  Of course, I could also write a screen saver that picks a random Psalm to display.  Or maybe generate random desktop pictures with a different Proverb.  Or possibly, like suggested elsewhere, provide a service that can insert passages into any program -- MS Word, Mellel, etc.  :P


Maybe I'm being obtuse :unsure: , but I don't see anything here that is either 1) not already done by another software vendor, or 2) would require "opening" Accordance APIs.
Bill Mounce has a flashcard program that Zondervan includes with his "Basics of Biblical Greek" textbook. Perhaps you could ask him about the possibility of coming up with a widget. (Having spoken with Bill, I know that he's a Mac user, and an Accordance user.) That might be a better route.
The memory verse widget could be done with already existing online resources (there are already about 4 or 5 Bible widgets for Dashboard) or via downloadable Bible texts. Granted, your favorite text might not be a free download, but the point is that these things could be accomplished already, without requiring the attention of the Accordance team.
The Proverb/Picture desktop/screensaver (if I might be able to add a recommendation) could also be done via already existing resources. Heck, a programmer could probably put something together pretty easily in Xcode that calls on pictures from you iPhoto library, music from iTunes, and grabs Psalms or Proverbs from either an online Bible database or a downloaded Bible text. None of these are things related to the core market or strategy of Accordance.
I'm not saying they're not great ideas. I would love to see them. But I think they could easily be done by other people/groups besides the Accordance team.
If we have several programmers/coders here on this forum (which seems to be the case) perhaps you guys could put something together using the Dashboard Programming Guide, and the available Xcode documentation. If this is the case, please share with the Accordance community. But I don't see the need to take time away from already ongoing (and much requested) work in the core areas of Accordance development.

J. Hancock

Edited by J_Hancock, 25 July 2005 - 04:58 AM.


#18 John Allard

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 05:54 PM

Just a quick note of thanks for the accordance widget. While I agree with all the above comments about the importance of furthering the scholarly works offered by accordance, I am also thankful for smaller upgrades like the widget that draw younger accordance users who aren't entirely familiar with more scholarly modules.




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