SBL Snapshots: The 1.0 Demo
This week I've been giving you glimpses into the upcoming annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). We exhibit at these shows every year, and we generally time major product releases to coincide with them. So far, I've described how we provide sit-down demos so customers can really get a feel for how Accordance can meet their research and study needs. Today I want to talk about another interesting ETS/SBL phenomenon: the 1.0 Demo.
At most shows, Accordance's unmatched original language capabilities are the icing on the cake. Most people want to search the English Bible, access the Greek and Hebrew through Strong's numbers, consult commentaries, and do basic Bible study stuff. For these users, it's nice to know that Accordance has all the original language power they would ever need, but since they'll rarely use those features, we rarely do more than mention them.
Things are quite different at ETS/SBL. At those shows, we start with the Greek and Hebrew language capabilities, and basically skip over most of the features cherished by "the rest of us."
One thing that always amazes me about these demos is how quickly the customer's jaw will drop. I'll show how you can enter a lexical form to find every inflected form of that word, how you can specify a particular inflected form, and how you can use grammatical tags to constrain your searches. It's all so fluid and simple that they're generally impressed after I show the basics. Then I'll show them an Analysis and Graph for a search and they're blown away. And when I show them how they can use the Construct window to build sophisticated searches with a simple drag-and-drop interface, they usually just start laughing and shaking their heads in disbelief. It doesn't seem to matter if they're new to Bible software or have used other programs for years. They see how simple it is to construct a search and how instantaneous the results are and they realize Accordance will save them an enormous amount of time.
The striking thing about all this is that all of the features I just mentioned have been around since Accordance 1.0 was released in 1994! No less than seventeen years after we freed biblical scholars from the burden of having to think like programmers to use Bible software, students and scholars who cut their teeth on computers are still blown away by the features we released way back when. In many cases, they'll be ready to purchase Accordance right then, and I have to explain that we've only scratched the surface of what Accordance can do. If I'm lucky, I'll have enough time to give them a whirlwind tour of some of the cool stuff we've added in the subsequent eight versions of Accordance: such as tools, parallels, diagramming, Atlas, Timeline, search all, text comparisons, and more advanced features than I can name.
The fact that people are still blown away by the features we introduced in Accordance 1.0 is a testament to how revolutionary a program it was. Seventeen years later, we haven't stopped innovating. We haven't even slowed down. More cool stuff is right around the corner…