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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Monday, February 12, 2007  

One User Tool or Many?

In the comments on my last blog post, a couple of people asked if I plan on putting all my college papers into a single user tool or if I'm going to create a separate user tool for each paper. The same question applies if you're wanting to archive the text or notes of your sermons, create a journal, import multiple books by a single author, etc. My answer to that question is clear and definitive: it depends.

In my case, the college papers I'm archiving are relatively short and address a variety of topics. I don't want twenty or so separate user tools cluttering up my menus, so I'm including them all in a single user tool. However, among my papers is a daily Bible study I wrote during college which I think makes more sense standing on its own. For that I intend to create a separate user tool.

The decision of whether to include multiple works in a single user tool or to create multiple user tools is similar to the decision process we go through when developing full-blown Accordance modules. In general, we tend to favor creating large modules which contain multiple works, rather than a bunch of little modules. After all, more modules mean more items in your menus. They also require more effort to search related resources.

For example, you know that there is an article in Biblical Archaeology Review which discusses the water-tunnel at Megiddo, but you have no idea which issue it's in. If we had created separate modules for every issue or every year of issues, you would have to group all those modules into a single BAR Archive tool set in order to be able to search the whole archive in a single pass. Since we created a single module for the entire Archive, you have one menu item to deal with and one module to search.

So when deciding whether to create one user tool or many, consider how you are going to use it. Are you going to want this resource to stand alone, or to be grouped together with related resources? Do you want to be able to zero in on a single resource or do you want to be able to search them all together?

In the case of archiving the notes or text of one's sermons, I would probably group them all together into a single user tool. If you want to narrow your searches to a particular sermon or a particular year's worth of preaching, you can always option-click that section of the browser to set a range (for more on how that works, see the section of this blog post entitled Using the Browser to set a "Range").

In short, my tendency would always be to create the fewest possible user tools by grouping like resources together. For the most part, it's easier and more convenient to manage.


I understand that Option-Click on a triangle will expand everything below. I get the same behavior if I Click or Option-Click on the triangle; it only expands one level below, not all levels. (If this makes any sense!)


Option-clicking on a triangle will expand the entire browser hierarchy to the point of the current article (that is, the one at the top of the tool window's display pane). It does not expand all sub-levels of the article you're clicking.

For example, let's say I'm looking at letter B under Roman numeral II of a dictionary article. If I option-click the brower triangle, all the levels that enclose the current article will be expanded so I can see it in contect. However, if letter C is further subdivided into numbered subarticles, that level will not be expanded, since it is below the article I am currently viewing.

I guess an easy way to understand this distinction is to think of it as expanding all the levels above the current article rather than the levels below it.

Hope this helps.

Thanks David, but I just don't get it.

It seems that Click and Option-Click do the same.

Maybe sometime you can write more about this. Thanks for trying … call me lame-brain I guess.


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