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Coptic, Unicode, User Note Editing

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#1 mcroasmun



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Posted 07 April 2006 - 10:39 AM

I love Accordance and use it daily as a Bible student and ministry intern. I am so grateful for all the great work that has made this program amazing. That said, I see a couple areas where it could be better. Here are several new features that I would love to see:

1) Especially in light of the recent publication of the Coptic Gospel of Judas, I would love to see Coptic added to the list of original languages Accordance can support. This would enable many new modules (full text of Gospel of Thomas, other Nag 'Hammadi and Gnostic texts, writings of Shenute, etc.). This might seem like a lot of effort for a few texts, but it probably wouldn't seem so difficult if my second request were already on the way:

2) Unicode. I know we can do Unicode export and copy and paste and I use this feature all the time in order to allow Accordance to exist in my multilingual, Unicode world. However, internally, Accordance is still functioning in an ASCII world. This has many undesirable consequences: Input methods vary between Accordance and other apps in which I type in Greek and Hebrew, because I can't use my OS X keyboard layouts in Accordance... I could make custom unicode keyboard layouts that match, but, frankly, I prefer my OS-level keyboard layouts as they are and would prefer to use them in Accordance. Copying unicode text into an Accordance search window? nope. Inputing (or even pasting!!!) Unicode text in a user note, not possible. I could go on... The simple fact is that, as a multilingual piece of software, Accordance should be unicode-aware.

Other benefits within Accordance would be: Reference tools (e.g. lexicons) with material not in Greek or Hebrew alphabets (e.g. Arabic) could be displayed properly. The history pop-up menu in the search window could display non-Roman characters properly. Searches in multilingual tools could be language-agnostic (rather than having to be limited to certain fields so that Accordance knows which font to use to fake the right language).

Plus: Imagine what an added value Accordance would have for the user if it shipped with Unicode input methods and fonts that users could employ in Mellel, Text Edit, Mail, or wherever they'd like. (You'd have to create these things anyway to make Accordance unicode-aware.) You'd be the toast of the town!

3) Entering user notes. Editing user notes should feel more like using Text Edit or, say, the WYSIWYG editor on the forum. It'd be really helpful to have simple formatting options available in the editor window and via familiar keyboard commands (that might involve making keyboard shortcuts more context-sensitive within Accordance). Implementing Unicode support would also help facilitate this as a simple change of keyboard input (via an OS-level keyboard shortcut) would allow the user to type in a different language (using a sufficiently large unicode font). I am constantly finding myself switching to Mellel to compose a note and then pasting it into Accordance (only to find, of course, that my notes have lost all their non-ASCII characters!). There should be a keyboard shortcut for creating a hyperlinked Scripture reference. So many of us spend so much time creating and documenting ideas via user notes; it'd be great to have the composition environment feel more complete.

I know these are not small changes (though maybe some of the user notes editing features could be facilitated without a switch to Unicode...), but they would greatly increase the usefulness of the product.

#2 Helen Brown

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 01:41 PM

You are absolutely correct... in your last point anyway:

Unicode implementation in Accordance is a very long way away, if ever. We do hope to have display of non-Latin/Greek/Hebrew texts for Cyrillic, Asian, Arabic Bibles etc., but to attempt full Unicode support would be to sideline all other development for years.

We have already implemented some aids to editing User Notes and Tools in version 6.8.
  • The standard Apple command keys for text styling (command-T, B, I, U) are supported in all editable text, when one of the following windows (with selected text) is in the front:

    Edit windows for User Notes and User Tools
    Description boxes only in the Construct and Reference windows
    Selected text only in the Diagram, Syntax, and User Layer text in the Map window.

  • Command-L makes (or removes) a Scripture link text selection in the Edit windows.
  • Command-F (equivalent to the Find/Replace… item in the Search menu) opens the Find/Replace dialog when an Edit window is the front window. Otherwise command-F opens the Search All window as before.
This is from the Version History file. I hope it helps.

The Sylvanus font includes Coptic characters, so maybe some of these texts will not be too long in coming.
Helen Brown
OakTree Software

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