What to Expect for the App: Powerful Searching
How do you take a full-featured, mature Mac program that has been in active development for nearly two decades and bring it to handheld devices like the iPhone and iPad? That's the question we've been wrestling with as we developed Accordance for iOS.
First, we realized there was no way we could do everything at once, so we had to decide which Accordance features were must-haves for the initial release. Second, we were determined to port and use as much of our existing Accordance code as possible. Third, we knew whatever features made it into the iOS app would have to be reimagined to accommodate a touch interface and a smaller screen. Nevertheless, we wanted the interface to feel like Accordance. In other words, we wanted it to be as consistent as possible with the interface philosophy behind Accordance for Mac.
Our original plan for the first release of our iOS app was relatively modest: it had to let you read your existing Accordance modules and support some basic searching and note-taking. During the course of development, however, we found that we were able to utilize far more of our existing code than we had originally hoped. Incorporating that code took time, but it meant that we were able to bring over Accordance features we never dreamed would make it into the initial release.
You'll see this most clearly in the search capabilities of Accordance for iOS. You can search using all of the wildcard symbols and any search commands which don't involve linking two separate windows. In other words, the LINK, CONTENTS, HITS, INFER, MERGE, and STYLE commands are not in the initial release of Accordance for iOS, but all of the other commands, including the powerful FUZZY and COUNT commands, are there. You can search key numbered Bibles by key number, and grammatically tagged texts by lexical form, inflected form, root, and grammatical tag. The following screenshot shows a search for all geminate verbs in Hebrew. The results are instantaneous on my iPhone.
Here is a search for all the hapax legomena (words appearing only once) in the Greek New Testament. This search actually takes about twenty seconds to complete on my iPhone, but then again, it's an iPhone!
Imagine sitting in a seminary class where the professor begins talking about hapax legomena. With a few taps you surreptitiously perform this search with your iPhone. By the time he's finished defining the term, you raise your hand and announce that there are 1942 such words in the Greek New Testament. From that moment on, you'll be a legend on your campus! ;-)
The ability to create complex searches via a simple interface is a hallmark of Accordance for the Mac, and you can expect the same thing from Accordance for iOS. In future posts, I'll tell you more of what you can expect from the Accordance app.