Choosing a SWORD program
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Features Common to All SWORD Applications
- 3 Side-by-Side Comparison of Leading SWORD Applications
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:
- ABS - AlKitab Bible Study based on JSword, uses Java 5+
- BD - BibleDesktop based on JSword, uses Java 1.4.2+
- BT - BibleTime (see also Kio-Sword)
- BPB - BPBible uses wxPython
- FB - FireBible based on JSword, runs in FireFox as an extension
- MS - MacSword
- SPW - The SWORD Project for Windows
- SB - SwordBible
- Xiph - Xiphos (formerly GnomeSword)
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 and Portability
|Runs on Windows 95/98/NT/ME||yes||no||yes|
|Runs on Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Runs on Mac OS X 10.3+||yes||no||yes||yes||no||no||no|
|Runs on Mac OS X 10.4+||yes||yes||no||yes||yes||no||no||no|
|Runs on Linux||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Runs on other Unix||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Can be installed run from USB drive||no||yes||no||yes||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
- Not Win9x
- version 1.3.x
- version 1.4.x
- BSD, Solaris
- 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.
- PortableApps.com edition for Windows only. Leaves no trace on host computer.
- 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.
- Leaves traces on host computer.
- Temporarily install to a computer and then copy the "C:\Program Files\CrossWire\The SWORD Project" folder to the USB drive. Finally, uninstall it. Leaves no traces on host computer.
|Daily Devotions Start with Today||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Daily Devotions Show Friendly Dates||yes||yes||yes||no||no|
|Shows Testament Introductions||no||no||no||no|
|Shows Book Introductions||no||no||no||no||yes||yes||no||yes|
|Shows Chapter Introductions||no||no||yes||no||yes||yes||no||yes|
|Right to Left Texts||yes||yes||yes||no||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
- exportable as a SWORD module
Right to Left texts - 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.
Introductions - Some modules contain Testament, 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
|Integrated Module Installer||yes||yes||yes||no||no||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Module Unlocking Support||yes||yes||yes||no||yes||yes|
|Multiple Download Repositories||yes||yes||no||yes||yes|
|Local Repositories (e.g. CrossWire CD)||no||no||no||no||yes||yes|
|Downloaded Modules Are Available Immediately||no||yes||yes||no||yes||no||yes|
|User is Warned of Internet Access||yes||no||yes||yes|
|User is Warned of Download Size||yes||n/a|
|User can continue working while download is in progress||yes||n/a||yes|
|Download can be canceled||yes||n/a|
|User is warned if module already exists.||yes||no|
|User is notified of module updates||no||no||yes|
|User is notified of new modules||no||no|
|Hiding/Showing Installed Modules||no||no||yes||no||no||no||yes||no||yes|
- via plugins
- The application allows the user to supply the unlock key. The user does not have to manually edit the module's conf file.
- After repository refresh
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
|non GenBook Image Module Support||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Application||non GenBook Image Module Support||Image Formats||Image Resizing|
|Alkitab Bible Study||yes||All image formats allowed to be in a SWORD module. With support for all images supported by Java.||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)|
|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||
Rendering is best with the most recent versions of Java.
|no||yes (and per language)||
|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 & 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||
||yes||Strong's + parsing (automatic) and Manual look-up|
||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|
|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|
|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|
|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 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;|
|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|