When Accordance 8 was released, it included support for two new kinds of links within Accordance tools: links to other Accordance modules, and links to internet URLs. The immediate reaction we got was, "This is great! Can we include those links in our own user tools?" The answer at that time was no, but it was always our intention to add that capability in user tools. In 8.1, we have.
To create a link to another Accordance module, enclose your link in brackets and use the following format:[Module name, Field to be Searched, Search Argument]
For example, let's say I'm doing a study of the Greek word agapao and I want to create a kind of running record of my study. In my user tool, I would include the following link:[GNT-T, w, agapaw]
This link will open a window containing GNT-T, set it to search by words, and enter the word "agapaw" into the argument entry box. Note that in text modules, "w" is enough to specify a word search and "v" is enough to specify a verse search.
Next I look this word up in BDAG, so I include the following link in my user tool:[BDAG, Greek Entry, agapaw]
Clicking this link will open BDAG and search the Greek Entry field for agapao.
By the way, in links such as the one above, Greek and Hebrew words have to be displayed in Roman characters. That's because user tools use the font to determine which search field to place text in. If you place the word inside a link in the Greek or Hebrew font, it will index that word as belonging to the Greek or Hebrew field, and no longer recognize it as a valid link.
The search field and search argument are optional. If I want to create a link that will just open a module without searching it, I only need to include the module name in brackets, like this: [NIDNTT]
For internet URLs, simply enter the full URL into your user tool and make it a link. For example, let's say I want to reference the online Liddell & Scott lexicon entry for agapao. I would just enter the link below:http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%23347
You can also create links to documents on your hard drive using the file:// protocol. Let's say I wrote a paper in college on agapao, and I want to link to it. I would just include a link like this:file:///Users/davidlng/Documents/Agape%20Paper.pdf/
You can use this protocol to create links to anything: image files, movies, Pages documents, even resources which are only available in other Bible programs.
By the way, Joe Weaks has created a handy little droplet application that will give you the URL for any file you drag onto it. When you click the link above, the application will be downloaded to your hard drive, and you can then place it in your dock or any other convenient location. When you drag a file onto it, the URL file path for that file is copied to your clipboard, and you can just paste it into your user tool and make it a link. Pretty cool, huh?
Now, including these long links to files and web pages is admittedly ugly, and I wish there were a way to hide the URLs and allow you just to display a brief description of the link. That was actually our original intention, but we found that the underlying structure of user tools prevented this. We actually debated whether we should just kill this feature, or go ahead and make it available with the understanding that you have to display the link itself. We decided on the latter, in the hope that the increased functionality will far outweigh the lack of aesthetic appeal.
With this new ability to link to Accordance modules, web pages, and files on your hard drive, your user tools can now become a launching pad to a wide array of resources. We hope you'll make good use of these links, and personally, I'm hoping to see some innovative new user tools submitted to the Accordance Exchange.