Choosing a SWORD program

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Revision as of 20:42, 1 March 2009 by Osk (talk | contribs) (Module Manager Support: trying to clarify this a little)

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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

Side-by-Side Comparison of Leading SWORD Applications

Module Support

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
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) Windows (2000/XP/Vista/7), Linux, BSDs yes yes (automatic) yes Personal Commentary, Journal, all exportable
SwordBible Windows yes yes (automatic) no no

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 integrate Daily Devotions more fully.
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 Repositories Archiving Indexing New Content Immediately Available? Other Features
Alkitab Bible Study yes (plugins) yes (plugins) no yes no
BibleDesktop (JSword) yes yes no yes yes
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword)
BPBible (wxPython) yes no no yes zip installer, download from CrossWire only
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) no no no no
MacSword no yes no yes after repo refresh
The SWORD Project for Windows yes yes yes no
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) yes yes yes yes Separate updatable & uninstalled modules lists
SwordBible yes no no

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 - ????
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 Image GenBook Support Other Image Module Support Image Formats Image Resizing
Alkitab Bible Study yes no no
BibleDesktop (JSword) yes Images supported in all modules 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)
MacSword yes yes all supported by WebKit (png, jpeg, tiff, bmp, ...)
The SWORD Project for Windows yes Images can be incorporated into all module types png (in version 1.5.12+), jpg, bmp
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) yes All modules png, jpg, tiff, gif, bmp yes

Windowing and Display

Application Window Layout Several texts open at same time? Poetry Layout Complex Scripts
Alkitab Bible Study Two-pane with tabs and library navigation on right yes yes
BibleDesktop (JSword) Two-pane with tabs and library navigation on right yes yes
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) Multiple windows with flexible arrangement and library navigation on left
BPBible (wxPython) 1-7 tiled subwindows, repositioning/hiding of panes. no yes (two-level poetry, indented, verse numbers at side) yes
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) 1 or 2 panes (library navigation in Firefox sidebar) yes
MacSword Multi-window, each module gets it's window yes no
The SWORD Project for Windows Three-pane with tabbed library navigation only using Parallel display for Bibles yes, but not indented depends on Uniscribe
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) Four-pane with library navigation, verse lists, etc. on left, multiple tabs, separate dialogs, saved sessions yes yes yes

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 yes Strong's + parsing (automatic) and Manual look-up
BibleDesktop (JSword) Lucene 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 yes 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)
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) CLucene no yes yes (create lists of modules to search) Strong's + parsing automatic, glossary (on click)
SwordBible no no yes no Strong's, Morph and 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) no
MacSword manual and search result yes yes no yes
The SWORD Project for Windows manual and search result yes no yes
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) manual and search result yes no no yes
SwordBible 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)
BPBible (wxPython) yes no English, Vietnamese
FireBible (JSword/FireFox) 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
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) yes yes English, German, French, Finnish, Farsi, Czech, Hebrew, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish
SwordBible English


Application Portable Extramodular Content Other
Alkitab Bible Study Bible Reading Plan word-by-word comparison of Bible versions
BibleDesktop (JSword) Portable version Bible Reading Plan word-by-word comparison of Bible versions
BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword) Bible Study HOWTO
BPBible (wxPython) 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, but leaves data on host computer parallel verse display, transliteration
Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword) Read Aloud, pseudo-interlinear display of Strong's/morphology, transliteration into Latin characters
SwordBible portable Verse lists with prefilled topics, One year daily reading plans