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


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  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.