Choosing a SWORD program
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
|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
Displays date in user's language.
|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|
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|
|BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword)|
|BPBible (wxPython)||yes||no||no||yes||zip installer, download from CrossWire only|
|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|
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.
Windowing and Display
|Application||Image Support||Window Layout||Several texts open at same time?||Poetry Layout||Complex Scripts|
|Alkitab Bible Study||yes||Two-pane with tabs and library navigation on right||yes||yes|
|BibleDesktop (JSword)||yes||Two-pane with tabs and library navigation on right||yes||yes|
|BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword)||yes||Multiple windows with flexible arrangement and library navigation on left|
|BPBible (wxPython)||yes||1-7 tiled subwindows, repositioning/hiding of panes.||no||yes (two-level poetry, indented, verse numbers at side)||yes|
|FireBible (JSword/FireFox)||yes||1 or 2 panes (library navigation in Firefox sidebar)||yes|
|MacSword||yes||Multi-window, each module gets it's window||yes||no|
|The SWORD Project for Windows||yes||Three-pane with tabbed library navigation||only using Parallel display for Bibles||yes, but not indented||depends on Uniscribe|
|Xiphos (GNOME) (formerly GnomeSword)||yes, plus resizing||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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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)||PortableApps.com edition||gospel harmonies; Guess the Verse game;||display Strong's headwords;|
|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|