Bible study on the cloud (“cloud-sword”?)

I’ve for a long time enjoyed using e-Sword. It’s a superbly well built package which runs on Microsoft Windows (and partially under Wine on Linux) … which is where I see the downfall.

The advantages to sticking with one platform are obvious – speed, usability, feature range, you name it. But that’s just it. You’re sticking with one platform.

I didn’t realise until very recently, “e-Sword live” has been launched. I couldn’t actually login, so I was stuck with the basic version … and that (as I expected) only contained a fraction of the features the full e-Sword does. (That is not a gripe, that’s an observation.)

On my Android phone I use “YouBible”, which does the job. But it requires internet connectivity …

So what am I getting at. Well, for the last 3 months I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an e-Sword like application, on the cloud. Yes. That’s a massive undertaking. No, it’s not because I believe there’s anything wrong with e-Sword, neither do I believe there’s anything wrong with or e-Sword live!

This is to give myself a better understanding of XML, PHP and webapps, to play around with using direct filesystem-based storage over MySQL, and to possibly provide something really usable for those who cannot run e-Sword (i.e. Mac users).

Long term possibilities include Facebook integration. Twitter output. Etc.

I can’t link to the work I’ve done so far, there’s no copyright messages displayed or anything. And it’s not yet that impressive.

Currently I’ve written a parser for the OSIS document format, which splits and outputs the Bible in smaller chunks (chapter level), adding XML tags where I deem necessary. SimpleXML powers the viewer; which can load, process and output a chapter in currently 0.004s. (That’s on low powered hardware too.)

References, “explanations”, passage chapters, verse numbers, footnotes etc are already mostly handled. (3 evening’s programming so far.) A lot to of gratitude to the OSIS and SWORD guys. Awesome stuff. I wouldn’t be 40% of the way there if it wasn’t for you.

I’ve not yet got a domain, or anywhere to properly host it. Dreamhost may do to begin with, you never know, if things really take off – RapidSwitch’s dedicated servers may have me back once more!

I’ll post here as things progress.

One comment

  1. John · February 5, 2011


    I had exact thoughts a few months ago and came up with a similar solution that you’re thinking (still under process though).

    There are some Cloud Bible apps but I felt very uncomfortable using them as there were very confusing and browsing around needed lots of clicks. I tried to overcome this problem in my app.

    Please have a look.