Sep 26, 2011 David Lang

Pushing the Limits

Some things never change. When I first purchased Accordance in 1994, I had already been waiting two years for it to be released. I had seen a demo of an early prototype in 1992, and even then it was the most advanced Bible software I had ever seen. By the time I actually received the half-dozen installation disks (on floppies!), I was really eager to get started.

Compared to what Accordance can do now, of course, version 1.0 was much more limited. One of the most obvious ways you could customize it back then was by creating your own search ranges in the Search range pop-up menu at the top of the Search window (the one that usually reads [All text]). So one of the first things I did was to create ranges for the Old and New Testaments, then groups of books like the Torah/Pentateuch, the Gospels, and Epistles. Once I had a dozen or so such ranges, I decided to create a range for each individual book of the Bible. That way, if I were studying any particular book, I could limit my searches to that book only. I got through the Old Testament books and had just begun entering New Testament books when Accordance crashed. After that, each time I created a new range Accordance would crash.

If you've been using Accordance for a while, you know getting it to crash takes some doing. I soon learned that Accordance 1.0 had a limit to the number of ranges you could define, and I had exceeded that limit. When I began working for the company not long afterward, I lobbied for the ability to define more ranges. Eventually, I got that ability, and I now happily have more ranges than I know what to do with.

Fast forward sixteen years. Last week I flew to Dallas to do a series of free Accordance training seminars, and since it had been a while since I had organized my Accordance modules, I decided to create a few more folders in the Library to group the newest modules I've added. Little did I know that I had once again exceeded a limit.

The first seminar I taught at Redeemer Seminary went very well, but I kept noticing odd behavior with various submenus I was trying to access. Sometimes I would choose a menu and get the wrong submenu. More often, I would go to a menu and get no submenu at all. It was maddening, and because it was projected for everyone to see, it was more than a little embarrassing. I kept asking the attendees if they were having the same problem, and thankfully, they weren't. The next day I shared my screen with one of our programmers and he quickly diagnosed the problem: I had exceeded the number of folders you could add to the Library window (by a wide margin). Since those folders correspond to submenus in the various module menus, Accordance was getting confused about which submenu to display. Hence the submenu madness I was experiencing.

Since I have nearly every Accordance module on my computer and have tried to organize them extensively, I exceeded a limit few of you are ever likely to reach. Now that we've discovered it, we ought to have it fixed before any of you even get close. So why am I telling you about a bug you're not likely to experience? Partly because I find it amusing that after all these years I'm still pushing Accordance beyond its limits. But mainly because I want to make the point that Accordance has become as powerful as it is largely in response to the requests of our users. As you have pushed Accordance to do things we may not have anticipated, you've come to us with your own requests to go beyond the current limits. It's one of the main reasons Accordance is as powerful, as robust, and as flexible as it is today.

Accordance users rarely settle for "reasonable" limits. Instead, you push us beyond them to become "insanely great." We wouldn't have it any other way.

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Archived Comments

Mike Ross

September 27, 2011 10:46 PM

So I guess it wasn't the 4-year old MacBook Prop after all.  LOL.  Vicki and I enjoyed the seminar.  It was really amazing.  You and Darin did a phenomenal job!  Thank you for coming out!  I hope you got to watch at least a few mintues of the game.