Difference between revisions of "Choosing a SWORD program"

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| '''Runs on Other Unix'''
| '''Runs on Other Unix'''

Revision as of 22:18, 2 March 2009


This page is under development. As such it may not be helpful until it is near completion. For that reason, please don't link it on another page until then. To become complete it needs fair and balanced™ coverage of the SWORD programs.

Do feel free to edit this page to make it more complete and better organized.

The purpose of this page is to help an end user decide which SWORD program is the best for them. The first consideration is which programs are available for the user. This can be found at CrossWire's home page. Once the user has narrowed down which programs are available, the following can be used to focus on the best program.

It is recommended that each user try all the available programs. It is likely that one will resonate with the user and work best for that user.

Features Common to All SWORD Applications

For the most part all the SWORD programs have the same features.

  • Use Unicode
  • Released under an open source license
  • powerful search syntax - wildcard, regex and often also clucene indexed searches (fuzzy and proximity searches + searches for Strong's, stemming etc) within preset and customised scopes.
  • Strong's, morphological info, cross references and footnotes
  • All frontends listed beleow are undergoing more or less active development.
  • verse and block layout
  • image support in GenBook type modules
  • localisation - all frontends are designed to be readily translatable. Many are translated in various languages.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Leading SWORD Applications


To keep the lists below compact, the SWORD programs are identified by abbreviations. Here is an explanation of each of them:

Additionally, symbols are used to indicate whether a feature is implemented, paritally implemented, or missing.

  • - Implemented.
  • ½ - Partially implemented. Usually followed by a footnote explaining the short coming.
  • × - Missing, expected functionality. Probably planned.

A blank entry means that the feature is not present or it is unknown whether it is present.

This is a work in progress. The footnotes will be changed to be automatically numbered.

Operating Systems

A possible new way:

Feature Al Kitab BibleDesktop BibleTime BPBible FireBible MacSword BibleCS SwordBible Xiphos
Runs on Windows 95/98/NT/ME yes yes
Runs on Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Runs on Mac OS X 10.3+ yes yes [1]
Runs on Mac OS X 10.4+ yes yes yes yes [2]
Runs on Linux yes yes yes yes yes yes
Runs on Other Unix yes yes yes yes yes yes[3]

Module Support

Feature Al Kitab BibleDesktop BibleTime BPBible FireBible MacSword BibleCS SwordBible Xiphos
Daily Devotions Start with Today
Daily Devotions Show Friendly Dates
Shows Testament Introductions × × × ×
Shows Book Introductions × × × × ×
Shows Chapter Introductions × × × ×
Personal Commentary × × × × ×
Right to Left Texts ×
  1. version 1.3.x
  2. version 1.4.x
  3. BSD

Application Operating Systems RtoL Modules Daily Devotions Book/Chapter Introductions User Editable Module Content
Alkitab Bible Study Any system with Java (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) yes yes no no
BibleDesktop (JSword) Any system with Java 1.4.2+

Windows 98SE or later
Mac 10.3 or later
Linux, BSD, etc.

yes yes (automatic)
Displays date in user's language.
no no
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) Linux yes yes Personal Commentary
BPBible (wxPython) Windows, Linux no yes (automatic) partial, not books no
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) Firefox web browser in Windows, Mac, Linux yes yes no no
MacSword version 1.3.x Mac OSX 10.3+, version 1.4.x Mac OSX 10.4+ yes yes yes Personal Commentary
The SWORD Project for Windows Windows (95/98/NT4/2000/XP/Vista/7) yes yes yes Personal Commentary
SwordBible Windows yes yes (automatic) no no
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) Windows (2000/XP/Vista/7), Linux, BSDs yes yes (automatic) yes Personal Commentary, Journal, all exportable

RtoL Modules - Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and other modules Right-to-Left scripts are displayed from right-to-left.
Daily Devotions - While all SWORD applications support Daily Devotions modules, some open a Daily Devotion to the current day.
Book/Chapter Introductions - Some modules contain Book and Chapter introductions. Some SWORD applications do not handle them.
User Editable Module Content - The application supports the Personal Commentary and may allow other types of module creation.

Module Manager Support

Application Locked Modules (via GUI) Multiple Download Repositories Archiving/ Hiding Indexing New Modules are Immediately Available? Continue work while installing? Other Features
Alkitab Bible Study yes (plugins) yes (plugins) no yes no
BibleDesktop (JSword) yes yes no yes yes yes
  • Modules are displayed as a tree, first by type and then by language names.
  • User is warned of the size of the download.
  • User is warned if module already exists.
  • User can download more than one module at a time.
  • User can cancel a download.
  • User can specify multiple, local module locations.
  • Application discovers other SWORD applications' install locations.
  • Search index can be deleted.
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) yes
BPBible (wxPython) yes no no yes yes zip installer, download from CrossWire only
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) no no no yes no
MacSword no yes no yes after repo refresh
The SWORD Project for Windows yes yes yes yes no yes
SwordBible yes no no
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) yes yes yes yes yes Show available updates, Show uninstalled modules.

Locked Modules (via GUI) - The application allows the user to supply the unlock key. The user does not have to manually edit the module's conf file.
Multiple Repositories - The application has an integrated module installer that allows installation from more than one SWORD module repository.
Archiving/Hiding - The application can remove and safely store currently non required modules or otherwise remove them from sight, keeping them available for future use.
Indexing - The application is able to index the module for fast search. This may be automatic and not require any user interaction (e.g. clicking a "Create Search Index" button).
New Content Available Immediately - Modules that are downloaded with the application's module installer are immediately available for use.

Image Module Support

Application non GenBook Image Module Support Image Formats Image Resizing
Alkitab Bible Study no no
BibleDesktop (JSword) yes All image formats allowed to be in a SWORD module. With support for all images supported by Java. no
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword)
BPBible (wxPython) yes no
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) yes all supported by Firefox (png, apng, jpeg, bmp, svg, xbm) no
MacSword yes all supported by WebKit (png, jpeg, tiff, bmp, ...)
The SWORD Project for Windows yes png (in version 1.5.12+), jpg, bmp
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) yes png, jpg, tiff, gif, bmp yes
  • Non Genbook Image support - The application can use images in commentaries, dictionaries or Bible texts
  • image formats - which graphic formats can be displayed. Some non CrossWire modules will use graphic formats which are not supported by all programmes.
  • image resizing -

Windowing and Display

Application Window Layout Several texts open at same time? Poetry Layout RtoL & Complex Scripts Ruby layout Font per module Other
Alkitab Bible Study Two-pane with tabs and library navigation on right yes yes RtoL - yes
BibleDesktop (JSword) Two-pane, one for Bible and one for other modules. The Bible pane allows direct lookup, quick book/chapter pick, search, parallel texts and passage side bar. The other pane allows the picking of a module, a selection of an entry and it's display. yes (unlimited, including commentaries) yes
  • RtoL - yes
  • Arabic/Farsi number shaping
  • Arabic/Farsi show verse references incorrectly.
  • Myanmar - fails to render properly.

Rendering is best with the most recent versions of Java.

no yes (and per language)
  • User can show Bible text in tabs or in windows.
  • Show user specified verses or search result. (User is not limited to chapter at a time viewing.)
  • Passage side bar allows pruning/growing of all or selected viewed passages.
  • Passage side bar allows focus on a selected passages.
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) Multiple windows with flexible arrangement and library navigation on left RtoL - yes
BPBible (wxPython) 1-7 tiled subwindows, repositioning/hiding of panes. no yes (two-level poetry, indented, verse numbers at side) RtoL - no yes
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) 1 or 2 panes (library navigation in Firefox sidebar) yes, through multiple Firefox windows or tabs yes RtoL - yes
MacSword Multi-window, each module gets it's window yes no RtoL - yes
The SWORD Project for Windows Three-pane with tabbed library navigation only using Parallel display for Bibles yes, but not indented RtoL - yes
complex scripts depends on Uniscribe, and rendering will be best in Windows 2K/XP+; Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic - yes, Myanmar - partial fail
SwordBible RtoL - yes
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) Four-pane with library navigation, verse lists, etc. on left, multiple tabs, separate dialogs, saved sessions yes yes
  • RtoL - yes
  • Arabic - yes
  • Myanmar - yes (with pango-graphite)
  • RtoL & Complex Scripts - Indicates problems in an application's rendering of complex scripts, provided an adequate font is installed. Complex scripts may include Indic and other Brahmic scripts such as Myanmar, Tamil, & Devanagri, as well as scripts that require contextual shaping such as Arabic, and scripts that require rendering in non-left-to-right order such as Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac, & Mongolian.
  • Ruby Layout - A not-yet-released SWORD 1.5.12 feature. Used for Japanese texts.
  • Other - Distinctives regarding how the application presents the modules.

Search and Dictionary

Application Indexed Search Features Cross Verse Proximity Search GenBook and Commentary search several module search Dictionary Look-up
Alkitab Bible Study
  • Lucene search syntax
  • Indexed, searchable fields: text, Strong's Numbers, Cross References, Notes and Headings.
yes Strong's + parsing (automatic) and Manual look-up
BibleDesktop (JSword)
  • Lucene search syntax
  • Indexed, searchable fields: text, Strong's Numbers, Cross References, Notes and Headings.
yes Strong's + parsing (automatic) and Manual look-up
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) CLucene Strong's + parsing (automatic)
BPBible (wxPython) Custom yes (allowing phrases across verse boundaries) yes no Strong's + parsing (automatic) full list of topics with topic entry box
FireBible (JSword/FireFox)
  • Lucene search syntax
  • Indexed, searchable fields: text, Strong's Numbers, Cross References, Notes and Headings.
yes no no Manual look-up
MacSword Apple SearchKit no yes no Strong's, Morph (automatic)
The SWORD Project for Windows CLucene no yes no Strong's + parsing (automatic) and glossary (on click)
SwordBible no no yes no Strong's, Morph and glossary on click
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) CLucene no yes yes (create lists of modules to search) Strong's + parsing automatic, glossary (on click)

Bookmarking, Tagging, Listing and Notes

Application Permanent Bookmarks, Tags or Verse Lists Nestable With Comments Exportable Study Notes
Alkitab Bible Study manual and search result yes
BibleDesktop (JSword) manual and search result yes
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) yes
BPBible (wxPython) manual and search result yes yes yes no
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) manual and search result yes no yes no
MacSword manual and search result yes yes no yes
The SWORD Project for Windows manual and search result yes no yes
SwordBible no yes
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) manual and search result yes no no yes


Application Localization Support GUI RtoL Support GUI Languages
Alkitab Bible Study yes yes English, Indonesian
BibleDesktop (JSword) yes yes English, German, Farsi, Chinese, Vietnamese
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) yes
BPBible (wxPython) yes no English, Vietnamese
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) yes no English
MacSword yes ? English, German, Frensh, Finnish, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, Portuguese
The SWORD Project for Windows yes no Afrikaans, Česky, Deutsch, English, Suomi, Magyar, Bahasa Indonesia, 日本語, Polski, Português, Slovenščina
SwordBible English
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) yes yes English, German, French, Finnish, Farsi, Czech, Hebrew, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish


Application Portable Extramodular Content Other
Alkitab Bible Study Bible Reading Plan word-by-word comparison of Bible versions
BibleDesktop (JSword) Portable both in the sense that it can be carried in ones pocket and in the sense that it runs on Windows, Mac or Linux, requiring nothing from the host computer and leaving no trace on it. Bible Reading Plan word-by-word comparison of Bible versions
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) Bible Study HOWTO
BPBible (wxPython) PortableApps.com edition gospel harmonies; Guess the Verse game; display Strong's headwords;
FireBible (JSword/FireFox)
MacSword portable, but leaves data on host computer read aloud
The SWORD Project for Windows Portable, and with some effort, will leave no trace on host computer. parallel verse display, transliteration
SwordBible portable Verse lists with prefilled topics, One year daily reading plans
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) Read Aloud, pseudo-interlinear display of Strong's/morphology, transliteration into Latin characters