[sword-devel] WEB update request

Kahunapule Michael P. Johnson Kahunapule at mpj.cx
Tue Aug 10 23:38:42 MST 2004

Chris, I am in no way saying that GBF is better than OSIS. GBF was invented long ago for a specific purpose, which it did well, and was even extended to do things that it wasn't designed to do originally. I'm actually surprised that GBF still gets as much use as it does. I don't care if you use it or not, but I would recommend using something better. I'm planning to pretty much abandon GBF, myself, once I migrate the publication process for the World English Bible and friends away from dependence on GBF. GBF was designed absent knowledge of SFM and absent knowledge of XML. It is due for replacement with an XML standard. Unfortunately, OSIS currently can't do a few simple things that even the ancient, underpowered, non-XML GBF does well. It would only take some minor adjustments to make OSIS better. My frustration lies in the fact that nobody seems to see that there are problems that need to be corrected with OSIS but me-- at least not anybody who can authoritatively change things.

I look at things differently. I have an international and cross-organizational viewpoint few people have. I live and work with Bible translators in Papua New Guinea. I develop Bible translation software for SIL, Evangel Bible Translators, and Rainbow Missions, Inc. I do Bible translation work. I manage an archive of Bible translations, both in progress and completed. I know things about a variety of languages, and daily interact with people who speak many languages. If OSIS were better, I'd be programming assuming that it would be the Bible interchange standard of choice. OSIS is simply not ready for that status, yet, but it could be.

To me, GBF is like a multifunction pocket knife; and OSIS is like a fully stocked workshop, complete with almost any tool you might need, except for any size of flat blade screwdriver, but all the tools are coated with skunk oil. (USFM is like a fully stocked workshop with tools available 100 years ago, but without the skunk oil and including the flat blade screwdrivers.)

The missing flat blade screwdriver is acceptable quotation punctuation and markup handling.
The skunk oil is the non-responsiveness of the keepers of the OSIS standard mixed with a number of small irritants that would be easy to fix.

Right now, given a choice of Bible formats to use, I would choose USFM for any new project, unless OSIS were tweaked just a little.

Why not add at least one medium-sized flat-blade screwdriver to the set and wash off the skunk oil? How hard could that be? Indeed, how hard would it be to simply accept WEB & HNV OSIS files as they currently are generated, even if that is a slight break from the way the OSIS committee saw things?

In the mean time, perhaps you can defend OSIS' quote handling in a world with over 6,000 languages, and explain to me how OSIS can be used to properly encode red letter edition-capable electronic texts of the following translations: KJV, NASB, NIV in a way that fully conforms to OSIS 2.0, and in a way that all OSIS-conforming readers will always properly render them like the printed editions. Please offer me a serious answer to this request.

Please don't bother telling me about all of the things you can do with <q> markup that you can't do with punctuation as Unicode characters, such as searching for quotes by Bildad the Shuhite containing the word "is". I'm not interested in new capabilities that nobody currently uses until you supply markup that guarantees that the text, including the punctuation, of a Bible translation is not altered when comparing the original and the displayed versions. After you do that, then I'll be glad to entertain the idea that funky extensions to the way people can search Scriptures might be useful.

If OSIS can't do that (and currently, it can't, if I'm not mistaken), then it is inadequate for an essential thing that USFM and even GBF can do properly. Even the rather neglected XSEM can be used in a way that properly preserves quotation punctuation, and nobody has ever complained about the way I generate it. (Of course, that may be because nobody is using XSEM.)

OSIS may well be the best XML Scripture interchange format definition that is open and published, right now. What will it take to make it good enough to actually be used? "Passion of the Christ XSLTs"? Or maybe some responsiveness to concerns of those who might use and promote it?

At 15:13 11-08-04, Chris Little wrote:
>Michael's complaints about OSIS are essentially one of those mote vs. 
>log in the eye issues.  We won't be publishing any additional GBF 
>modules, ever.  GBF is poorly defined and grossly inadequate for our 
>needs.  Sword support of OSIS has easily surpassed support for any other 
>markup format.  Speed issues are largely a result of data quantity, not 
>the markup itself.  OSIS offers the ability to encode much more content 
>in modules like the KJV2003 project, so they take longer to search.  The 
>KJV2003 would not even have been possible in GBF without (more than the 
>usual number of) ad hoc extensions to GBF.
>Adrian Korten wrote:
>> Good day,
>> My personal opinions only. OSIS sounds like a good thing but still seems 
>> aimed at the future. The Windows software has some support for it but is 
>> not complete and involves a performance decrease. At the moment, 
>> progress on new development has stalled. Keeping up support for 'gbf' 
>> formatting seems wise until the OSIS format is proven.
>> ak
>> Kahunapule Michael P. Johnson wrote:
>>> At 17:43 09-08-04, chrislit at crosswire.org wrote:
>>>> I'm working on it.  I started working on it last week, but it takes 
>>>> time to add those <q> elements and fix other OSIS non-conformance 
>>>> issues.
>>> The best way to fix those issues is to change the OSIS standard and 
>>> change your reader, in my opinion. Second best might be to write an 
>>> automated converter to change the OSIS files I produce to "conforming" 
>>> OSIS. If you can't do that, then you prove my point about the OSIS 
>>> standard being defective.
>>> Apparently, I was wasting my time to try to support OSIS.
>>>> In the future, I'll probably maintain the same OSIS document and do 
>>>> updates by producing diffs from the GBF version on which it is based.
>>> That sounds like a lot of unnecessary work to me. Why not just read 
>>> the GBF directly?
>>>> On Sun, 8 Aug 2004, Kahunapule Michael P. Johnson wrote:
>>>>> I'm getting a couple of comments on the WEB translation about 
>>>>> grammar problems & such that have already been corrected from people 
>>>>> who got the World English Bible from the Crosswire Bible society. It 
>>>>> would help me if you would update from the WEB web site 
>>>>> (http://eBible.org/web/) from time to time while editing is still in 
>>>>> progress. The biggest changes are in the Old Testament, but 
>>>>> sometimes we find a better way to say something or correct a typo in 
>>>>> the New Testament, as well. Take your pick of GBF or OSIS formats. :-)
>>>>> Michael
>>>>> http://kahunapule.org
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