Choosing a SWORD program

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Introduction

This page needs to be maintained to give fair coverage of the SWORD front end 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 front end 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.

As this page is oriented to program features, it does not distinguish whether the underlying engine is SWORD or JSword.

Some applications have a different CrossWire development code name than the public name.

Features Common to All SWORD Frontend Applications

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

  • Uses 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 customized scopes.
  • Strong's, morphological info, cross references and footnotes
  • All frontends listed below are undergoing more or less active development.
  • Verse and block layout
  • Image support in all types of modules
  • Localisation - all frontends are designed to be readily translatable. Many are translated in various languages.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Notable SWORD Frontend Applications

This is a work in progress.

Legends

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

A blank entry means that it is unknown whether a feature is present. Footnotes are automatically numbered.

Operating Systems and Portability

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Runs on Windows 95/98/NT/ME yes no[1] no no yes no
Runs on Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 yes yes partial[2] yes yes no no yes yes yes
Runs on Mac OS X 10.3+ yes no yes yes[3] no no no no
Runs on Mac OS X 10.4+ yes yes partial[2] no yes yes[4] no no no no
Runs on Mac OS X 10.5+ yes partial[2] no yes yes[4] yes no no no
Runs on Linux yes yes yes yes yes no no no no yes
Runs on other Unix yes yes yes yes yes no no no yes yes[5]
Can be installed to run from USB drive no yes[6] no yes[7] yes[8] yes[9] yes[9] yes[10] no no
  1. Not Win9x
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Pre-alpha
  3. Version 1.3.x
  4. 4.0 4.1 Version 1.4.x
  5. BSD. Solaris cannot be supported at this time because its library support is crippled with respect to the required build tools.
  6. 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.
  7. PortableApps.com edition for Windows only. Leaves no trace on host computer.
  8. Using Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition from PortableApps.com, for Windows only, but depends on a local installation of Java. Leaves no trace on host computer. Other platforms are possible.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Leaves traces on host computer.
  10. Temporarily install to a computer and then copy the "C:\Program Files\CrossWire\The SWORD Project" folder to the USB drive. Finally, uninstall it and delete install directory. Leaves no traces on host computer.

Module Support

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Daily Devotions Start with Today yes yes yes yes yes no yes yes
Daily Devotions Show Friendly Dates[1] yes yes yes yes no no no no
Shows Testament Introductions no no no no no yes no
Shows Book Introductions no no yes no no yes no yes no yes
Shows Chapter Introductions no no yes no yes no yes no yes
Personal Commentary no no yes no no yes yes yes no yes[2]
Journal no no no no no no no no no yes[2]
Right to Left Texts[3] yes yes yes no yes yes yes yes yes yes
Complex Scripts[4] partial[5] partial[5] yes[6]
Footnote expansion yes yes yes yes partial[7] yes
  1. Dates use locale appropriate date representation. Month names if used are localized, too.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Exportable as a SWORD module
  3. Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and other modules Right-to-Left scripts are displayed from right-to-left and correctly shaped.
  4. The application can display correctly Brahmic, Indic, and related scripts (or other scripts of similar layout) - subject to availability of adequate fonts and standardized Unicode
  5. 5.0 5.1 To the extent that Uniscribe supports a given script
  6. With pango-graphite installed
  7. Notes appear in popup. Extremely long notes may appear truncated in the popup.

Module Management

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Integrated module manager yes[1] yes yes partial[2] no yes yes yes yes yes
Module unlocking support[3] yes[1] yes yes yes no no yes yes yes
Multiple download repositories[4] yes[1] yes yes no n/a yes yes yes yes yes[5]
Local Repositories (e.g. CrossWire CD) no no yes no n/a yes yes yes yes yes
Use of Proxy configurable yes no n/a n/a no no no no n/a
Downloaded modules are available immediately without restart no yes yes yes n/a yes yes no no yes
User is warned of internet access yes[1] yes yes n/a n/a no yes yes yes yes
User is advised about download size yes[1] yes no n/a n/a no no no no yes[6]
User can continue working while download is in progress yes yes n/a n/a yes yes yes yes yes
Download can be canceled yes[1] yes yes n/a n/a yes yes yes yes partial
User is warned if module already exists. yes[1] yes no n/a yes [7] yes [7] yes [7]
User is notified of module updates no yes no n/a no no yes yes
User is notified of new modules no no n/a no no no no yes
Hiding/Showing installed modules no no yes no yes[8] yes[8] no yes no yes
Modules sorted by type yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Modules are further sorted by language yes yes yes no no no no no yes
Modules can be archived/exported[9] no no no no no no no no no yes
Companion Module support no no no no no no no no yes
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 via plugins
  2. Zip installer for locally available modules only
  3. The application allows the user to supply the unlock key. The user does not have to manually edit the module's conf file.
  4. Integrated installer allows download from more than one SWORD module repository.
  5. Xiphos supports automatic repository discovery, using the standard set maintained at CrossWire
  6. Xiphos will extract info from repository if provided
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Installed modules are highlighted
  8. 8.0 8.1 Modules can be sorted for installed/uninstalled
  9. Packages a module into SWORD's shareable "Raw Zip" format.

Image Module Support

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Image Resizing no no no no no no no no no yes
JPEG format[1] yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
PNG format yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no[2] yes
SVG format no no no yes yes yes no yes
  1. All full-featured SWORD applications should already have support for this types.
  2. PNG support will be available in 1.5.12 upwards

Windowing and Text Display

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Window Layout flexible yes yes yes yes no yes yes yes
Un/Linkable[1] yes yes yes n/a no yes[2] yes
Parallel Display[3] yes yes yes no no yes yes yes yes
Multiple texts yes yes yes no yes yes yes yes
Poetry Layout yes yes yes yes [4] yes no no yes[5] yes [6]
Module default font[7] yes yes no no no yes yes
Font settable per module yes yes yes yes yes no yes yes
Font settable per language yes yes yes no no no no
Transliteration no no no[8] no yes no yes
  1. Open text panes can by user choice be linked or unlinked and will then move together to the next reference or stay at different references
  2. Only linked at the moment
  3. Several bible +/-commentary texts can be displayed in a set of parallel columns
  4. 2 level indentation
  5. Not indented
  6. 1 level indentation
  7. Used if the font is installed
  8. This is available if compiled with ICU.

Search and Dictionary

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Able to create a search index yes yes yes yes yes[1] yes yes [2] yes no yes
Able to delete a search index yes[3] yes yes yes no no yes n/a yes yes
User can continue to use application while index is being created yes no yes yes yes yes
Indexed Search yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no yes
Cross Verse Proximity Search yes yes yes[4] yes no no yes no yes
Indexed Strong, Morphology and Body search yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no yes
Indexed CrossRef search yes yes yes yes no no no no no
Indexed Note and Heading search yes yes no yes no no no no no
Fuzzy search[5] yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no yes
GenBook and Commentary search partial[6] yes yes partial[6] yes yes yes yes yes
Combined module search no yes no no no yes no no yes[7]
Search scopes[8] yes yes yes yes no yes yes yes yes
Result highlighting[9] yes yes yes
Automatic/On-Mouse Strongs/Morphology lookup yes yes yes yes no yes yes yes yes yes
Automatic/On-Mouse Glossary lookup no no yes [10] yes yes yes
  1. Automatically created searching a module first time
  2. Index can also be created automatically for all installed modules if enabled.
  3. Through plugins
  4. Allowing phrases across verse boundaries
  5. Finds words based upon approximation.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Commentaries when treated as Bibles
  7. Creation of lists of modules to be searched together
  8. Limit search to one or more passages or books
  9. Search term(s) highlighted in results
  10. Via context menu

Bookmarking, Tagging, Listing and Notes

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Bookmarks, Verselists or Tags yes yes yes yes[1] yes yes yes yes yes
Manual adding yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Bulk adding of Search result yes yes no yes yes
Permanent yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Hierarchical no yes yes yes yes yes yes no yes
Drag and drop management n/a yes yes yes yes yes yes n/a yes
Exportable yes yes yes no no no
User comments no yes yes no no yes yes
Study Notes no yes no no yes yes yes yes yes
  1. Utilizes FF bookmarking system

Session and State Management

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Layout stored yes partial[1] yes yes yes yes yes yes
Interface language yes yes n/a yes [2] yes [2] n/a[3]
Open Modules yes no yes yes partial [4] yes yes yes yes
Search Results partial[5] yes [6] no partial [7] yes
Storing of multiple Sessions no yes no yes yes yes
  1. Size and location of windows only
  2. 2.0 2.1 Selected from locale setting
  3. Selected from locale setting, but changing environment variables LANG and LC_ALL will select another, e.g., shell command to select Hebrew interface: LANG=he LC_ALL=he_IL xiphos
  4. Open tabs can be saved as a bookmark group and/or Firefox can automatically save session on exit. Limited to content viewed in primary browser area, not in the sidebar.
  5. User can store the results of a search as a verse list
  6. Resulting URL can be bookmarked
  7. Not result but search query is stored

Help System

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Manual, English yes yes yes no yes no yes yes
Manual, Other yes no no no yes[1]
Active links to online help yes yes no yes[2]
Tooltips yes yes yes yes partial partial yes
  1. French
  2. IRC, Mailing lists, bug tracker

Localization

Only languages with at least 70% of the user interface translated are listed.

The following languages are present in more than one SWORD application.

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
GUI RtoL Support[1] yes yes yes no no yes yes no yes
Localized verse/chapter numbers[2] yes yes no no yes
English yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
中文 (Chinese, Traditional and Simplified) no yes no yes no no no no no no
Deutsch (German) no yes yes yes no yes no yes no yes
Português (Portuguese) no no yes no no yes no yes no yes
Suomi (Finnish) no no yes no no yes no yes no yes
فارسی (Persian) no yes no no no no no no no yes
Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese) no yes no yes no no no no no no
Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian) yes no no no no no no yes no no
Français (French) no no yes no no yes no no no yes
Česky (Czech) no no yes no no no no yes no yes
Magyar (Hungarian) no no no yes no no no yes no no
Español (Spanish) no no yes no no yes no no no no
Polski (Polish) no no no no no yes no yes no no
Svenska (Swedish) no no no no no yes no no no yes
  1. Layout flips from Left-to-Right layout to Right-to-Left based on user's locale.
  2. Numbering will use localized script for numbers

The following languages are present in only one SWORD application.

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Dansk (Danish) no no yes no no no no no no no
Afrikaans no no no no no no no yes no no
日本語 (Japanese) no no no no no no no yes no no
Slovenščina (Slovenian) no no no no no no no yes no no
עברית (Hebrew) no no no no no no no no no yes
Norsk (Norwegian) no no no no no no no no no yes
Nederlands (Dutch) no no no no no no no no no yes
Cymraeg (Welsh) no no no no no no no no no yes
Русский (Russian) no no no no no no no no no yes
Slovenčina (Slovak) no no no no no no no no no yes

Module information

Some front ends can display the complete information from the module's conf file. Others can display hardly anything at all of this information. Please use this section to record what each program can display for module information, and how this is accessed.

Print menu

Use this section to document whether the front end has any menu options for printing a selection from a module. If so, what restrictions exist as to how much text can be printed in one operation.

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Menu has a print option no no no n/a[1] yes yes[2]
  1. Use Firefox to print displayed passage
  2. Current chapter

Other

Feature ABS BD BT BPB FB MS MS2 SPW SB Xi
Extramodular Bible Reading Plan yes yes no no no no no yes no
Other extramodular content no no yes[1] yes [2] no no no no yes [3] no
Read aloud no partial[4] no no yes yes no no yes
Other features not listed otherwise yes[5] yes[6] yes[7]
  1. Bible Study HOWTO
  2. Gospel Harmonies, Guess the Verse game
  3. Topical verse lists
  4. On MacOS 10.3+ only
  5. Display Strong's headwords, configurable export passage to clipboard
  6. Full screen view; floating, transparent preview window; tabbed panes detachable to seperate window; automatic software download and update
  7. Pseudo-interlinear display of Strong's/morphology; tabbed interface for multiple Bible/commentary/dictionary study; detached windows for any module; commentary by chapter; lexdict mouse-hover content-to-previewer; tab-able or detached full-chapter parallel window; passage exporter; selectable previewer position; image content display selectivity; double-space text; per-tab subwindow visibility; high-contrast highlight of current verse; external image viewer on click; geography interface through BibleMap.org; yellow-highlighter (metaphor) per-verse personal annotations.