If you haven’t discovered Accordance Services, you’re going to love this little gem of a utility.
Note that this is a Mac-only utility; but don’t worry, Windows users. You will be able to access similar functionality in the upcoming Accordance 11 release.
Accordance Services run through OS X’s Services, which you may or may not even know you have. The first thing to do is download Accordance Services. If you don’t already have them, download them from http://www.accordancebible.com/Accordance-Installers/#Services
After you download them, you should find a folder in your Downloads folder with five Accordance Services (if you don’t have a folder, double-click on the file Accordance Services Set.zip to create it). Once you’ve found the folder with the five Accordance Services, you will have to double-click on each one to install them. After installing, you will find them in the application menu of most OS X applications.
Here’s a quick run-down of the five Accordance Services:
1. Acc - Insert Verses
This Accordance Service allows you to quickly insert a scripture reference from Accordance from within whatever application you’re using. So for instance, if I write Gen 1:1 in iWork Pages, I can then highlight it and choose Acc - Insert Verses from Services in the Pages application menu.
The result will place Genesis 1:1 in my Pages document:
Why is my verse in Hebrew? It’s in Hebrew because that was the top Bible that I have listed under Texts in my Accordance Library. Your results will probably be different.
So, what if I want a different translation? Well, that’s where the next Accordance Service comes into play.
2. Acc - Insert Verses from any Text
This service will allow me to choose which translation I want. When I highlight Gen 1:1 and choose this Service, I get this dialogue box:
Note that I can also choose whether or not I want citation format—that is, having the reference and version name in parentheses after my verse. If I were to choose New Living Translation, Second Edition, and leave the box checked, I would end up with this result:
3. Acc - Search for Words
This Service will allow me to highlight a text in any application outside Accordance and then search for that word or phrase in Accordance. For instance, if I were to highlight the word heavens in the verse above, Accordance would automatically search for this word in my default Bible creating a new search tab in Accordance.
Note that this Accordance Service will work in a variety of different applications. Maybe you’re reading an article on a website, and you come across a term or phrase you’d like to research. Simply employ this Service, and you can look it up in Accordance.
What if you want to search beyond your default Bible? You’ll want to use the next Accordance Service described below.
4. Acc - Search with Options
The Search with Options Accordance Service allows you to determine exactly where you want to search for the term or phrase in which you’re interested. Choose which text or module you want to search; and if it’s an Accordance Tool, you can even specify which field.
Maybe you are reading about Dietrich Bonhoeffer online, and you come across a name or concept you’d like to know more about. Remembering that you have the complete Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works in Accordance, there’s no need to open this module, type in the phrase and search for it. You can simply search from the internet article you are reading.
5. Acc - View Verses
Finally, perhaps you are reading an article that includes a verse reference. You could go to Accordance to look up the reference, but you can also simply run the Acc - View Verses Service to launch a new workspace in Accordance with your selected text.
So, in the example below, running the View Verses Service will open John 15:5 in my default Bible text in Accordance.
Bonus tip: Accessing Services from the Contextual Menu
You may have noticed in the last graphic above that I did not go to the application menu of the web browser to access the Services menu. Instead, after highlighting the verse reference to John 15:5, I right-clicked on my Apple Magic Mouse to pull up the contextual menu (which can also be access through a control-click or a two-finger click on Apple trackpads).
Most programs that employ Services will allow access from a contextual menu, but some applications—such as Microsoft Word for the Mac—require access only from the application menu.
Try it yourself!
If you haven’t already done so, play around with Accordance Services yourself and let us know what you think. There is a lot more information about Accordance Services, including customization options, in your Accordance Help files (accessible from the Help Menu in Accordance) at Digging Deeper > Automating Accordance > Work with Accordance Services.
See Accordance Services in Action
We recommend playing the video below at full screen and with the highest resolution your device allows.
Okay, so Accordance 9 was released two full weeks ago and I have yet to describe the new features in detail. Frankly, I've been too busy attending the users' conference and teaching training seminars to talk up Accordance 9 properly. What's more, our sales staff have been so overwhelmed just trying to keep up with all the orders that I've been a little hesitant to promote Accordance 9 any more than we already have. I'm afraid things haven't really let up for them, but if I don't talk up the features of 9.0 soon, I'm afraid I might lose my license to blog!
Dr. J has already released a podcast describing the major features of Accordance 9, and is now releasing new podcasts describing each of those features in detail (starting with Zones), so let me start my discussion of Accordance 9 by focusing not on features, but on what you see and what you don't.
Let's begin with what you see. Accordance 9.0 is really just the first step in a major interface overhaul. Our goal, especially with this first release, was to make changes that would improve your workflow and make certain features more discoverable for new users. The Zones features is a major interface change which makes it easy for you to arrange your Accordance workspace however you like, and because it encourages you to view multiple resources at the same time, we worked to reduce the amount of screen space devoted to interface controls. Lastly, we had a slew of cosmetic changes we planned to make. Some of those, like redesigned tabs, smaller Add Pane icons, and many streamlined controls, made it in. Others that I can't talk about yet will have to wait for a future update. Our release schedule was set many months ago, and we simply had to delay some of the cosmetic changes we had planned in order to make our internal deadline. So Accordance 9.0 offers a cleaner, more streamlined look, but it's just the beginning of what we've got planned.
One reason some of the what-you-see improvements got put off was because of the what-you-don't-see changes that were made. As you know, Accordance has been in continual development since the early 1990's, and a lot has changed in computing over the last two decades. We have successfully managed the transitions from 68K to PowerPC, from the classic Mac OS to OS X, from PowerPC to Intel, from QuickDraw to Quartz . . . the list goes on and on.
We've actually seen many programs (Bible software and otherwise) get dashed on the rocks of each of those transitions. Some simply refused to make the transition. That was the case with many classic Mac Bible programs which eventually became unusable on PowerPC or which never made the jump to OS X. Others successfully managed to make the transitions, but at the cost of all other development. In other words, they would go years without making any improvements other than remaining compatible with the latest technology shift. Finally, a few got too ambitious, choosing to start over and rewrite their software for that next big thing. I suppose some companies have done that successfully, but most ended up frustrating their existing users while taking too long to attract new ones.
The Accordance development team has navigated so many technological shifts successfully because we have:
1. Immediately done what we needed to do to keep Accordance running successfully under the new technology.
2. Focused the bulk of our development efforts on improving Accordance itself, offering groundbreaking new features and capabilities found nowhere else.
3. Gone back and updated portions of our code to make Accordance more compatible with the new technology.
Note that because full compatibility with major technology changes is our last priority, we have avoided the traps listed above. This approach has, of course, meant that we're sometimes perceived as slow to achieve compliance with the latest technological "buzzword" or interface fashion, but we have found that those who continually try to keep "current" rarely ever do anything else. So Accordance is quick to work with new technologies, quick to offer substantial improvements to the program interface and feature set, and continually updating portions of our existing codebase as we have need and opportunity.
All that is to say that one of the hidden aspects of Accordance 9 is the extent to which we rewrote and modernized large portions of the codebase. Some of these changes were prompted by our efforts to port Accordance to iOS. Other changes were to enable us to stay current with OS X technologies. And finally, some changes were necessary to lay the foundation for the more visible changes we still have planned.
So if you wish we'd gone further in making visible changes to the Accordance interface, rest assured that we're not finished improving what you see in Accordance 9. It's all the improvements you can't see which are laying the groundwork for those you soon will see. Accordance 9 is a substantial upgrade that puts us in a good position to keep moving forward with new technology . . . and of course, I haven't even started talking about its major new features yet.